Covid-19 and flood recovery cash transfer programme in Cambodia

We conducted operational research to generate and document key learnings for the World Food Programme's pilot cash transfer programme.

Project team members

The World Food Programme’s (WFP)  pilot cash transfer programme was implemented in Cambodia to support households that have been impacted by both Covid-19 and floods. The programme aimed to increase beneficiaries’ ability to fulfil essential needs and support their recovery in the face of these shocks.

We were commissioned by WFP to conduct operational research to generate and document key learnings regarding the cash transfer programme. The research seeks to answer the followings:

  • To what extent did the design and implementation of the WFP cash transfer programme align with and support the building blocks for shock responsive social protection (SRSP) in Cambodia?
  • What recommendations do WFP, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), and social protection actors need to take into account when designing and implementing future cash transfer (and other) programmes to further strengthen the shock responsiveness of the social protection system in the country?

The challenge

Cambodia is prone to climate-related shocks and is among the countries that are most exposed to natural disasters worldwide. It is ranked 16th out of 181 countries on the 2020 World Risk Index. The country is exposed to nearly all types of 'natural and climate hazard with floods and droughts being the most frequently occurring. Although poverty and inequality in Cambodia have decreased significantly since 2009, most non-poor households are in danger of returning to poverty if an income shock occurs.

In October 2020, the General Secretariat of the National Social Protection Council, with support from WFP, embarked on the process of developing a draft shock responsive social protection (SRSP) framework, to guide the RGC and its partners to leverage elements of the social protection system, and to provide more systematic, predictable, timely, and effective protection to the poor and vulnerable, during and following shocks.

This framework sets out several programmatic options for shock response, primarily through the cash-based social assistance system. It also highlights entry points for how humanitarian partners can leverage elements of the social protection system and enhance coordination with government-led responses, for a more effective and inclusive response. It sets out priority actions for RGC and its partners, to strengthen elements of the system and prepare for SRSP, across all the building blocks of the SRSP system.

Our approach

To conduct this research, we compared the WFP cash transfer programme where relevant and for the purposes of analysing its alignment with RGC social assistance systems, with the RGC’s Covid-19 cash transfer programme and the RGC’s Pregnant Women and Young Children (PWYC) cash transfer programme. These  are the main cash transfer programmes currently being implemented by MoSVY, the primary line ministry responsible for the delivery of social assistance programmes in Cambodia.

The Covid-19 cash transfer programme is the first cash-based assistance programme implemented as a response to shocks and emergencies with coverage throughout the country. The PWYC cash transfer programme is the first conditional cash transfer programme in Cambodia, which will be part of a comprehensive lifecycle programme to be rolled out by MoSVY under the Family Package programme.

Outcomes and wider impacts

In the spirit of contributing to advancing the direction and implementation of the SRSP framework in Cambodia, this operational research seeks to generate learning to inform the future shock response preparedness planning of the RGC and its partners.

The recommendations proposed in this research are also expected to help finalise the draft SRSP framework which is in the process of being endorsed by the RGC, particularly to make the framework more workable.

Find more in this report published by WFP Cambodia.

Area of expertise