OXFAM in Cambodia and the Bophana audiovisual resource centre have collaborated to produce five films on the impact of Covid-19 on workers in the informal economy to highlight the importance of social protection in the Kingdom.

The videos were launched on June 29 at Phnom Penh's Bophana Centre under the theme “Emphasising the importance of social protection for vulnerable groups through new multimedia”, with 50 guests in attendance.

Srey Sokha, who represents Oxfam Cambodia, said the project aimed to raise public awareness on the importance of social protection in the Kingdom for the most vulnerable.

Highlighting, through documentary films and multimedia, stories that are influential in supporting social protection policies and activities can bring change, she added.

Sokha said she supported the government's efforts in providing financial support to help the most vulnerable, particularly through the pandemic, and wanted such activities to continue moving forward.

“I request that the government continue with its financial support of vulnerable groups despite Covid being on the wane. We cannot yet return to full normality, so I want to see social protection activities continue,” she said.

Sokha added that she expected the Oxfam-Bophana project to spread awareness among the relevant ministries and public about those who work in the informal economy – as housemaids or in entertainment clubs, students and young people, and the disabled – allowing the voices of the most vulnerable to be heard.

Van Phalla of Mondulkiri province, who attended the event, said that while the pandemic had greatly affected her and her family, the government had assisted with daily living through her IDPoor card.

“I have two children and my family are farmers. I received assistance from the government during the pandemic. I receive 170,000 riel [$40] a month with the IDPoor card.

"I thank the government for thinking of the people, and I request further assistance because it helps sustain my livelihood. It enables me to have the chance to send my children to school,” said the 22-year-old.

Pou Poy from Svay Rieng province, a street vendor in Phnom Penh, said that before Covid-19, he could sell around 200 of his cakes a day, but he stopped the venture when the pandemic hit and returned to his hometown for a year.

Poy said he had not received social assistance during the hiatus because he had no IDPoor card, not knowing what one even was.

Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) president Ath Thorn said he was collaborating with civil society organisations and government bodies to strengthen the social protection system and promote the rights of workers such as those in the informal economy so they could receive social protection.

The government had grown social security benefits over the past six years, he added.

“The last five to six years have seen the government pay a lot of attention to social security benefits. Compared to the previous 20 years, when we had almost zero, there have been a lot of developments over this period,” Thorn said.

Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth said that a response under the National Social Protection Policy Framework 2016-2025 was initiated during the pandemic.

“We introduced three cash handout programmes to protect the welfare of parents and children in poor families and maintain their livelihoods at such a difficult time,” Soth said.

The programmes consisted of helping pregnant women and children under the age of 2 in poor families; assisting poor and vulnerable families in the fight against Covid-19; and aiding those who had experienced financial difficulties and lost family members to Covid-19, he added.