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Workshop on Identification of Poor Households

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Identification of Poor Households for better targeting of social benefits and development assistance makes progress in Cambodia.On 8 January 2009 a National Workshop organized by the Ministry of Planning and GTZ on "The Identification of Poor Households Programme – a key tool for equitable development" took place in Cambodiana Hotel. The workshop was presided over by H.E. Keat Chon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance. The aim of the workshop was to present the Royal Government’s national criteria and procedures for Identification of Poor Households and to promote the use of data on poor households for targeting of services and assistance to rural Cambodians.


Based on standardized criteria and procedures lists of poor households were already developed for 3431 villages by MoP and partner organizations and a further extension of the coverage by 2109 new villages is planned for 2009. A data base which is accessible to potential users was developed and Equity Cards were provided to all poor HH identified.

Health equity funds use already successfully the list of poor households in 33 of the MoH Operational Districts and it seems that the ID-Poor HH pre-identification system helped to increase the efficiency of the equity funds and led to a significant lower percentage of households with debt for health care. In areas where the ADB financed "Emergency Food Assistance Project" has used the lists for its free food distribution last year there were less complains from villagers. The active participation of villagers in the selection process, transparency and endorsement of the lists by commune councils have proven to be the key to the credibility and reliability of this approach.

The Ministry of Planning is currently drafting a sub-decree to promote the wide use of the ID-Poor-HH System and research on the accuracy of the results and the transparency of the implementation will be carried out in 2009. In future the ID-Poor-HH System should become a routine element of the decentralized planning process.
The wide use of the existing ID-Poor-HH data by all Government Institutions and Development Partner in Cambodia as well as resource mobilisation for expansion of the operation of the IDPoor Programme is a key for its further success.

Food price crisis and the upcoming world economic crisis demand for expansion of social safety net intervention to mitigate negative impact on the purchasing power of poor and vulnerable people. As stated in the presentation of the Worldbank during the workshop, a standardized identification mechanism of poor households helps to ensure cost-effectiveness and equity in delivering benefits of social safety nets to the poor. Efficient targeting of development assistance has its costs and it is likely that the planned cost-benefit analysis of the ID-Poor-HH System will show that it is worthwhile to invest in the efforts of the Cambodian Government to set up and maintain a standardized pre-identification system of poor households.

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