Cambodia is finally on a floor of Social Protection. Social Protection has been recognised as a powerful tool for achieving pro-poor development in many poor countries. Here, I briefly report the Cambodia’s steps towards efficient Social Protection interventions.
After experiencing negative impacts of the food price and financial crisis in 2008, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has been putting great efforts on the development of National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) as a fundamental framework of social protection interventions in Cambodia. As many social protection interventions do, social policies under the NSPS are also expected to aim to protect those poor and vulnerable people from staying in poverty, and prevent them from falling into poverty due to unpredictable shocks such as commodity price inflation, natural disasters, diseases, injuries and any other unpleasant incidences to be coped.
On 3 and 4 February 2010, the technical consultation on the Role of National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) in Augmenting Human Capital through promoting Education and reducing Child Labour was organised by the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) in support with ILO and UNICEF. By this consultation inviting more than 10 deputy prime ministers, all discussion on the NSPS has become complete.
CARD is a governmental body to be mandated to coordinate and develop the social protection framework. They have been putting much effort on the development of the NSPS for the past year, and are now expected to finalise it by March 2010. Soon after the finalisation, a Conditional Cash Transfers scheme will plan to be implemented under the NSPS.
2. Targeting: ID Poor Programme
As a means of determining beneficiaries of social protection interventions, the proposed NSPS seems to utilise the database being constructed under the National Identification of Poor Households programme (ID Poor), led by the Ministry of Planning in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.
From its start in 2007 to the year of 2009, the programme fully or partially covered 18 provinces including 7,347 villages, and the database will be biennially updated. Technically, based on economic indicators, households are given scores and divided into 3 differential groups (Poverty Level 1: Very Poor; Poverty Level 2: Poor; and Non-Poor). In addition, non-economic indicators are also available. These additional indicators might be taken into consideration once the Village Representative Group (VRG) discusses and considers that these indexes have great impact on a household.
3. Proposed Social Protection Schemes
Initially, the World Bank has proposed this development of NSPS to the government by funding to kick off a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme for promoting maternal health and reducing child malnutrition. So this CCT programme will be implemented first under the NSPS soon. From my point of view, this CCT scheme seems to be very much based on nationwide programmes of Health Equity Funds (HEFs) and scholarship for the poor. In fact, the targeting means of CCT, ID Poor, is based on resources of HEFs, and the World Bank commit both schemes. So the bank may try to scale up their existing support programme and make all together more efficient. If look at the bank’s paper, “Safety Nets in Cambodia”, you may notice that HEFs and scholarship programmes are considered as important components of their Social Protection strategy in Cambodia.
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