Cambodia adopts “food-for-work”. And it works
The “food-for-work” approach was first adopted in the mid-1980s by China, using public works to support rural employment and poverty alleviation. Instead of wages, workers received in-kind payments of food, clothing, consumer goods and even industrial goods, remunerated by local governments. The programme is referred to as yigong-daizhen which means “to offer job opportunities instead of sheer relief”.
In Cambodia, a food-for-work programme – introduced by the World Food Programme since 1999 and then developed with the Asian Development Bank and UNDP – has served 252,300 of the most vulnerable poor, while at the same time, building 333 km of rural roads, 267 km of irrigation canals, 52 km of dikes, 15 community ponds and seven rice banks.
Other responses to the crisis included also a stimulus package to boost spending in infrastructure, social programmes, safety nets, and agriculture, the creation of a tourism policy taskforce, tax facilitation in textiles and additional loans and grants for agricultural sectors. The government has also subsidized portions of workers’ social insurance and funded short-term training to unemployed workers.
For more information on the job crisis and recovery in Cambodia, please visit the ILO Job Crisis Observatory