This paper seeks to further the dialogue between humanitarian actors, development partners and ministries within the government so that there may be a deeper understanding of what constitutes best practices for Social Protection Policies and what steps can be taken to enhance current practices. Social Protection Policies fall under a very wide umbrella that encompasses several different types of schemes and efforts. This paper focuses on the programs that most closely relate to risk reduction and disaster management by the implementation of cash transfer programs. Most particularly, this paper seeks to understand how to improve Social Protection schemes that benefit women and children.
The methodology includes preliminary background literature research, accompanied by open interviews with local stakeholders who oversee planning and execution of Social Protection schemes. At the time of writing, Cambodia is undergoing varying degrees of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak which is causing a great deal of disruption in the workplace, making interviews challenging.
It is important to note that this paper does not include all Social Protection schemes. Rather, the paper focuses on risk reduction and disaster management with the utilization of cash transfer mechanisms with a particular focus on schemes that benefit women and children.
At the time of writing, the Royal Government of Cambodia had recently undertaken the biggest cash transfer programs in the country’s history to combat the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government published the National Social Protection Policy Framework in late 2017 and is actively working on furthering the dialogue between governmental ministries to gauge the programs’ long-term impact. Some INGOs & local NGOs are also undertaking efforts to counteract the economic repercussions of the pandemic. In conjunction with the floods that occurred during the last quarter of 2020, it is a reminder that contingency and prevention planning should never be underestimated.
Overall, the following are recommended best practices
- Bridging the gap between Government and Humanitarian actors/ development partners
- Strengthening existing programs that are child-focused
- Improving communication protocols between actors
- Creating a more responsive selection criteria/guideline for the IDPoor selection process
- Increasing community resilience by striving to move towards prevention-based models
- Building solid information frameworks to create evidence-based programs
The paper concludes with a series of recommendations that are specific to the Cambodian context and the programs that are implemented on a national level. While striving towards best practices, taking small specific steps that allow for better transparency, data reporting, evidence-based planning and lateral/horizontal expansion on existing programs can further improve what is already working well.