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UNDP provides 1,700 tablet computers to Cambodia for social protection improvement

06:10 | 16/07/2020

With support from the Government of Australia, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has provided 1,700 tablet computers to Cambodia's Ministry of Planning, along with a bundle of software, all aimed at improving Cambodia’s social protection system.

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undp provides 1700 tablet computers to cambodia for social protection improvement
UNDP has provided 1,700 tablet computers to Cambodia, all aimed at improving Cambodia’s social protection system. Photo: UNDP Cambodia

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has provided 1,700 tablet computers to Cambodia's Ministry of Planning, along with a bundle of software, aiming at improving the country's social protection system, said a joint press statement on Wednesday (July 15).

The computers will enable the provincial departments of planning and communes to register new IDPoor recipients faster, so they can receive rapid cash transfers sooner.

Social protection is one of the four main areas in the next phase of UNDP's Covid-19 crisis response, the statement said, adding that it is designed to support the most marginalized peoples, so they can access food, pay for shelter, and enable them to seek stable livelihoods.

It is crucial to revitalise Cambodia's economy, position it to build back better from Covid-19, and ensure that no one is left behind, the statement said.

undp provides 1700 tablet computers to cambodia for social protection improvement
Such tablet computers will help to improve the social protection programs in Cambodia. Photo: UNDP Cambodia

"The Government of Australia and UNDP have provided these tablet computers to the Ministry of Planning to help the rapid upscaling of the IDPoor Programme so all those registered as poor can receive a cash transfer," said Nick Beresford, UNDP Cambodia's resident representative.

Planning Minister Chhay Than said that in Cambodia, like other countries around the world, poor families are disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

"To address this challenge, the Royal Government of Cambodia has launched a Cash Transfer Programme to help Equity Card holders. However, some households remain absent from the IDPoor Programme while others are falling back into poverty due to loss of income caused by the pandemic," he said.

Under the Cash Transfer Programme launched last month, the Cambodian government is spending more than US$25 million a month to support those holding the Equity Card, and those who have been affected by Covid-19, he added

“Australia is proud that our support for the past ten years, including these latest tablets, helped build IDPoor into a truly Cambodian system that has become the backbone of the Cambodian Government’s COVID-19 cash transfer to vulnerable households,” said His Excellency Pablo Kang, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia.

“... the cash transfers are now supporting national economic and social stability in a time of crisis while also channeling support to the poorest Cambodians based on transparent criteria – a strong and equitable outcome built on years of Australia-Cambodia development cooperation,” said Ambassador Kang.

undp provides 1700 tablet computers to cambodia for social protection improvement
This program is under the financial support from the Government of Australia. Illustrative photo from internet

As the technical lead on the United Nations socio-economic response to COVID-19, UNDP has a strong commitment to assist the Royal Government of Cambodia to build and roll out its first social assistance cash transfer system for all people in Cambodia living below the national poverty line. Under the Cash Transfer Programme, the Government is spending more than US$25 million a month to support those holding the Equity Card, and those who have been affected by COVID-19. This includes people who have lost their jobs and incomes, plunging them back into poverty.

In addition to the emergency social protection support, UNDP is currently piloting a Graduation-based Social Protection programme. This pilot aims to test the effectiveness and practicality of a social protection model that provides assets opposed to cash alone in the context of Cambodia and test its potential to be scaled up nationwide.

With its triple hit to human health, education, and incomes, the COVID-19 crisis will cause global human development to fall this year for the first time, since the concept was introduced in 1990. The United Nations system is supporting countries in their recovery efforts, with a focus on ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable.

undp provides 1700 tablet computers to cambodia for social protection improvement
The Cash Transfer Programme supported by UNDP aims to help poor people who have lost their jobs and incomes due to COVID-19. Photo: Phnompenh Post
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Tony Nguyen

UNDP Cambodia