A new study argues that using a different approach to social protections by offering agricultural equipment and livestock, vocational training and cash payments to the extreme rural poor in Cambodia could not only reduce poverty, but boost the economy as well.
Researchers at the United Nations Development Programme used a formula to simulate the effects of offering the so-called "social protection graduation packages" to around one million extremely impoverished Cambodians. Their findings, which were released this morning, indicate that these services could enable the participants to permanently graduate from poverty.
Researchers say the study shows that the potential of applying the “graduation” approach in in Cambodia is “substantial and promising”.
“The simulation results also reveal that both poverty and economic growth impacts were likely to last beyond the programme implementation period, as the catalytic effects of productive assets and professional skills persist after programmes have ended,” the study reads.
Researchers say that there’s evidence that supports a growing recognition of this kind of approach as an effective tool to eradicate extreme poverty - something that traditional cash transfers programmes alone might not be able to accomplish.
“The results show that graduation packages offer substantial scope for tackling the causes of poverty, while stimulating the local economy of the beneficiaries,” the report reads. “While these models might appear more expensive in the short term, their longlasting benefits surpass those of conventional cash transfers after just two years of implementation.”
According to researcher Dr Stephanie Levy, the findings of the study have been released in the hope that they can be part of the ongoing discussion surrounding the rollout of the country’s National Social Protection Policy, which was approved last year.
Updates to follow.