Government and civil society officials meet to discuss social protection for the poor and vulnerable, as National Social Assistance Fund (NSAF) chairman Samheng Boros said the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation is studying poverty alleviation projects that will make citizens self-reliant, and not reliant on subsidies.
The discussion took place during the annual Dialogue on Social Protection, Economic Rehabilitation and Digital Rights in Cambodia “Together for a Better Future” on December 20.
The event was attended by more than 200 members of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), and its partners which include civil society organisations, government officials, development partners, representatives of local community organizations and youth, in Phnom Penh.
The forum was held to review, share and discuss best practices for policies. It also sought future cooperation with the government to implement the national social protection strategies for the poor and vulnerable.
“We discussed ways to reduce chronic poverty and food insecurity, assist the poor in adapting to crises and build human capital for the future to alleviate poverty,” the CCC said.
Boros, also secretary of state of the social affairs ministry, said that as of December 18, more than three million of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society have received more than $875.7 million in financial support from the government.
He said more than $21 million in cash support had been paid to 298,545 pregnant women and new mothers; $8.8 million going to 260,514 households who were affected by inflationary pressures. Also, 99,169 households who were impacted by recent floods received over $3.7 in payments.
Boros added that through the National Council for Social Protection, the government has prepared a draft sub-decree on the family package, and is also piloting a new poverty reduction programme. The project is a cash-for-aid programme that would help families through business development, increasing their incomes.
“The family package focuses on the disabled and the poor. At the same time, we are collaborating on a pilot project called the ‘Leaving from Poverty Programme’. This will train impoverished families in ways they can increase their incomes, through raising chickens, ducks or fish, for example,” he said.
He added that the pilot has been implemented in two districts of Kampong Chhnang and Preah Vihear provinces, with about 3,000 people taking part. If the project is successful, the government will introduce it nationwide.
Alisar Chaker, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representative in Cambodia, said the UNDP has many projects – in collaboration with civil society organisations and the government – underway to contribute to poverty reduction.
She added that the UNDP’s goal is to ensure that the poor and vulnerable of Cambodia are supported.
“We have a policy of cooperation regarding the national framework policy in social protection by ensuring that people can avoid or emerge from poverty. We are also focused on making sure they do not return to poverty once the project is over,” she said.