The European Union partners with Oxfam, ILO and UNICEF to support the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia in strengthening the country’s social protection system

21 February 2022
A family show their ID poor card in front of the Commune Hall.
UNICEF Cambodia/2021/Bunsak But

Phnom Penh, 21 February 2022: The European Union Delegation to Cambodia (EU), along with UNICEF, Oxfam and ILO, is working to support the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the strengthening of its social protection system.

The EU Support to Social Protection Reforms programme aims to simultaneously contribute to Cambodia’s COVID-19 response and support the implementation of Cambodia’s National Social Protection Policy Framework. The National Social Protection Council of Cambodia plays a key role in the programme, alongside stakeholders at national and sub-national levels including the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the National Social Security Fund, civil society, and the private sector.

Mr Bryan Fornari, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Cambodia, said: “The EU has joined hands with the ILO, UNICEF and Oxfam, to support Cambodia in its long term objectives of broadening the inclusivity of its social protection system, including to workers who are not yet protected. Going forward, the EU will be supporting the bridging between social protection, decent jobs and sustainable green growth”.

Dr Narith Chan, Secretary-General, National Social Protection Council, Cambodia said: “The Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia recognizes the significant role that inclusive social protection contributes towards the reduction of poverty and inequality while improving human resource development and stimulating financial stability and economic growth. The development of Social Protection in Cambodia is steered and coordinated by the National Social Protection Council, which also evaluates and monitors the progress and implementation for accountability and transparency. We are grateful for the support and trust afforded by our development partners who continue to contribute to our country’s social protection growth”.

The EU Support to Social Protection Reforms programme includes two complementary projects.

The Fostering an Inclusive and Shock Responsive Social Protection System in Cambodia project (FIRST) is led by Oxfam, working with 11 partners including civil society organisations, trade unions and local associations. The project aims to increase awareness of and access to social protection schemes, promote participation in social dialogue and enhance social accountability mechanisms. The EU’s grant to Oxfam (EUR 1.8 million) will enable the project to run until 2023.

Ms. Sophoan Phean, Cambodia National Director of Oxfam said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the awareness of Cambodians of their vulnerability and fueled the momentum to increase collaboration among different stakeholders supporting the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia in its ambition to build a more inclusive and shock responsive social protection system. Oxfam is excited to work with civil society organizations, government agencies and development partners to bring the voices of vulnerable citizens, especially women’s voices, to the forefront, and contribute to a more inclusive, accountable and transparent social protection system.”

The Advancing Social Protection in Cambodia project is steered by the National Social Protection Council of Cambodia and is implemented by the ILO and UNICEF with three main intended outcomes. Firstly, it aims to improve the delivery and coordination of social security and social assistance through modernised systems. Secondly, it will extend social security coverage to more workers. Thirdly, it will improve the quality and depth of social assistance service for people living in a situation of poverty and vulnerability while also enhancing the capability of social protection programmes to strengthen their livelihoods and labour market participation. The project has received almost EUR 5.6 million of funding and will run until 2024.

Mr. Graeme Buckley, Director of ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, said “Social Protection is about reducing and preventing economic and social vulnerabilities and poverty. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of social protection in promoting resilience and supporting economic recovery. The project will contribute to extending social protection to more women, men and their families and to increase the coverage of the social security schemes to uncovered workers towards a more effective, efficient, accountable and sustainable gender-responsive social protection system that covers the needs of people throughout the life cycle, and that contributes to achieving decent work and effective and inclusive economic growth.”

Ms. Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF Representative in Cambodia, said: “Social Protection is one of the most important tools we have to tackle entrenched poverty, which has been exacerbated by the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on Cambodia’s most vulnerable citizens. The Cambodian Government’s investment in social protection before and during the pandemic has supported the well-being of citizens, contributed to economic stability and helped maintain development outcomes for children, including through access to education and health services. As Cambodia shifts to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, alleviating poverty and building resilience becomes even more important. The European Union’s support is crucial in helping us strengthen the social protection sector so that it doesn’t just support Cambodian families and children to recover from the pandemic, but thrive beyond it.”


For media inquiries, please contact:

Pok Poun, Press and Information Officer, Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia,
Phone number | Email: 012 347 716;

Finn Koh, Social Protection Programme Manager, International Labour Organisation
Phone number | Email: 081 452 611;

Naratevy Kek, Communication Coordinator, Oxfam in Cambodia
Phone number | Email: 012 847 412;

Rudina Vojvoda, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Cambodia
Phone number | Email: 092555294;

Media contacts

Rudina Vojvoda
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204;ext=434
Bunly Meas
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204;ext=435


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook