Healthcare in Cambodia is free

Identification of poor households

Brief description of the project

Description: Targeting - identification of poor households (IDPoor)
Client: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-financed by: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)
Country: Cambodia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning
Total duration: 2006 to 2021

initial situation

Poverty can only be effectively reduced if development measures are aimed specifically at the poor population. This is why the Cambodian Ministry of Planning, with the support of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, developed the program “Identification of Poor Households” (IDPoor). It identifies poor and vulnerable households in order to give them access to social, health and other selected services.

There was no uniform, generally recognized and nationally practiced procedure at the start of the project in Cambodia. For example, poor households could not claim basic social services such as free medical care.


The government of Cambodia uses a standardized procedure to identify poor households across the country. Governmental and non-governmental organizations and development partners use the collected data for targeted measures to reduce poverty.


Villagers appoint representatives from among their number, who survey the households on the basis of uniform poverty criteria. They then discuss the results in an open dialogue and draw up a list of poor households for each village. This process is used regularly across the country to provide the social sector with up-to-date targeting data.

The project strengthens the ability of the program staff to coordinate and implement the identification process together with local authorities and implementers. GIZ is also helping the Cambodian Ministry of Planning to improve its database system and further develop the poverty assessment procedure. Initially the focus was on rural areas; however, urban areas have also been included since 2016. Since 2018, we have been working on a demand-driven process that aims to improve data collection between regular data collection cycles.

GIZ supports IDPoor on behalf of the German and Australian governments.


In 2011, the Cambodian government established IDPoor as the official standard for the targeted collection of poverty data. The data is used across the country by all public and private social sectors. With the annual data collection, millions of poor and vulnerable people in Cambodia have now gained access to social services through the program: free health care, social transfers, reduced government fees, school feeding programs, provision of housing, running water and the like. In the period from 2015 to 2017, IDPoor reached more than 550,000 needy households in rural areas.

In 2019, the poor in Cambodia's cities will be included for the first time. The introduction of better technologies, such as mobile devices for data collection, has meanwhile made it possible to achieve important efficiency gains.

The sustainability of the program is assured as the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia is gradually taking over the financing of the operating costs of IDPoor.


Ole Doetinchem
[email protected]