How Covid-19 widened Asia’s wealth gap

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Singapore

Publishing organisation: Kontinentalist, in collaboration with Oxfam Asia

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-05-22

Language: English

Authors: Writer / Zafirah Mohamed Zein
Code / Qijin Tay and Siti Aishah
Design / Joceline Kuswanto
Illustrator / Munirah Mansoor


Zafirah writes data-driven stories with an Asian angle, along with client projects, for Kontinentalist.

QiJin works mostly on front-end development of products and sometimes stories at Kontinentalist.

Aishah handles front-end development of stories for desktop and mobile, as well as auxiliary data viz support at Kontinentalist.

Munirah does mostly editorial illustrations and helps in designing data-visualisations as well as client projects.

Project description:

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asia’s richest have gotten richer, while millions have fallen into poverty.

This story aims to highlight and illustrate the yawning wealth gap exacerbated by the pandemic, and the intersecting inequalities that lie beneath the surface. We worked closely with Oxfam Asia to highlight key findings and recommendations from published studies, particularly their 2022 report “Inequality Kills”. This was published a week before the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting as we wanted to generate conversations around inequality and put pressure on leaders to address the issue.

Impact reached:

This story was published and shared widely in the lead-up to the 2022 WEF. It received a substantial amount of shares on Twitter, where our partner Oxfam Asia also shared our story alongside their own commentary.

Leveraging on the popularity of an established global NGO, we were able to spread important key messages on inequality in Asia. We were able to turn a relatively dry topic into a concise and engaging story that highlighted the most salient issues and humanised them by incorporating quotes and centering intersectionality in this story.

As a result, the story had wide reach across our audience members with 5,081 unique page views with an average reading time of 5 minutes and 13 seconds. On Instagram, it gathered 281 likes, being shared over 230 times and reaching around 7, 713 accounts.

Techniques/technologies used:

The story makes use of Lottie for animated elements and D3 for data visualisations and micro-animations, and also incorporates a unique horizontal scrolling slide format.

Context about the project:

There is an extensive amount of data on issues related to inequality such as income, sustainable development indicators and access to basic goods. Most of these were accessible and published as open data by large organisations. The tricky part was analysing the data that were not accessible through these large datasets and choosing which ones would best bring out our key messages and support the main points of the story.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

This collaboration inspired us to rethink ways in which we present inequality visually and how to make the key messages stick.

Project links: