Cambodia: Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs

Sovereign Project | 43174-012 Status: Closed


Income restoration is an essential component of involuntary resettlement activities where affected families lose their productive base, businesses, jobs, or other income sources. The households most affected by involuntary resettlement tend to be among the poorest to begin with, and displacement risks even further impoverishment, marginalization, food insecurity, and social disarticulation. The Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs technical assistance (the TA) will improve the outcome of involuntary resettlement activities associated with infrastructure investments in Cambodia by reducing the poverty and vulnerability associated with resettlement.

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Project Name Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs
Project Number 43174-012
Country Cambodia
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7366-CAM: Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 500,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Public sector management - Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming

Income restoration is an essential component of involuntary resettlement activities where affected families lose their productive base, businesses, jobs, or other income sources. The households most affected by involuntary resettlement tend to be among the poorest to begin with, and displacement risks even further impoverishment, marginalization, food insecurity, and social disarticulation. The Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs technical assistance (the TA) will improve the outcome of involuntary resettlement activities associated with infrastructure investments in Cambodia by reducing the poverty and vulnerability associated with resettlement.

Specifically, the CDTA will (i) build government capacity to design, implement and monitor income restoration programs in the context of involuntary resettlement, and (ii) pilot innovative approaches to reducing poverty and vulnerability through an income restoration and community development program along the ADB-financed section of Cambodia's National Road 1 (NR1). The CDTA will thus build capacity at both government and grassroots levels.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Impact Reduction of the poverty and vulnerability associated with involuntary resettlement along Cambodia's National Road 1
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Enhanced capacity of the Government to design, manage, and supervise income restoration programs for resettlement-affected people, plus improved capacity of affected people to manage their community-based self-help organization.
Progress Toward Outcome

To enhance capacity for designing and managing income restoration programs, the TA financed two professional training programs for government officials, independent professionals, and NGO staff through the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). First, 68 people participated in two rounds of a short course seminar on resettlement and income restoration programs that was offered in February and August 2011, the second in and October and November 2011. Second, 16 people are expected to complete the two-year Masters in Development Studies at the RUPP. The TA further offered refresher training for MA program applicants in preparation for the RUPP entrance examinations.

To build capacity of affected people to manage community-based self-help organizations, two full-time community facilitators based in Neak Loeung (one seconded from PADEK, a local NGO) worked with Stung Slot and Kraing Khok community leaders and members for 18 months to set up and train 3 Savings and Credit Groups. Community-based training included life skills, household finance and credit/debt management, small business skills, and savings & credit group management.

In fulfillment of its counterpart commitments to the TA, the government made physical site improvements to the Prey Veng resettlement site in consultation with the community leaders, who requested support for (i) reinforced embankments, (ii) better drainage, and (iii) an improved access road. These were all completed by July 2010

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Output 1: Improved social research and analysis skills for EA and other line ministry staff.

Output 2: Improved livelihoods for poor resettlement-affected people in the selected pilot communities.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) signed the TA letter on 17 December 2009. ADB selected South Asia Management and Engineering Services (SAMES) to provide 18 months of consulting services (which was later extended to 19 months). The consultant team of one international and one national specialist began work on 19 April 2010 and recruited two full-time community facilitators based in Prey Veng in May 2010. Services were concluded on 18 November 2011 with the submission of a final report and a draft income restoration program (IRP) handbook. The TA closing date was extended from October 2011 to June 2012 and later to December 2012. The community Savings and Credit Groups are implementing a 6-month plan that included directly hiring an NGO community facilitator to provide intermittent follow-up support to them.

Progress under Output 1, capacity development for executing agency and line ministry officials, independent resettlement professionals, and civil society organization staff (as of June 1, 2012):

This output included short and long-term training, national and international study tours, and the drafting of a handbook for income restoration programs. To implement the capacity development plan (DMF activity 1.2 & 1.3), a partnership was established with the Royal University of Phnom Penh's Graduate School of Development Studies. The TA supported a short-term certificate program in the design and management of income restoration programs (IRPs) for 68 participants. Of these, 12% were from the Resettlement Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, 29% were officials of sector line ministries that implement projects with resettlement impacts, 26% were from civil society organizations, and 19% were independent professionals. The remainder were from other ministries (e.g. Interior, Social Affairs) and the United Nations agencies' offices in Cambodia. The program was delivered in two rounds in February and August 2011 and October and November 2011. The second round's revised structure incorporated lessons learned from the first, including group assignments as opposed to individual assignments, more use of NGO experiences as case studies, site visits, and better alignment with the proposed IRP handbook (DMF activity 1.4).

Through scholarships and refresher training, the TA expects 16 students to complete RUPP's long-term graduate degree program in development studies. Seven enrolled in 2010, 3 dropped out to pursue studies overseas, and 12 enrolled in 2011. Two students are NGO staff, 3 are independent resettlement specialists, and the rest are from RGC ministries. Achieving gender balance was not possible, with only 3 women enrolled.

The capacity development plan also included international study tours, with 7 officials from the Inter-ministerial Resettlement Committee visiting resettlement and income restoration programs in the Philippines in November 2010 and Yunnan province of the People's Republic of China in March 2011.

The consultants prepared a draft handbook on IRPs based on a literature review of IRPs (DMF activity 1.1), the short course training materials, site visits, and multi-stakeholder consultation workshops including resettlement professionals and NGO staff on 13 September and 16 November 2011. It was not possible to finalize the handbook (DMF activity 1.5), which requires substantial reorganization. ADB staff will finalize the handbook in Q4 2012, upon which there will be further discussion with the Inter-Ministerial Resettlement Committee.

Progress under output 2, the IRP in Prey Veng (as of September 1, 2012):

The IRP was designed for 63 affected households and comprised (1) restructuring affected people's crippling household debts, (2) setting up community-managed savings and credit groups, (3) offering a mix of community-based, vocational training center-based, and enterprise-based training, and (4) disbursing new supervised credit for productive investments. The first element was very challenging and is not typical of normal IRPs in that it was a remedial action undertaken long after displacement originally took place.

To inform and monitor the IRP, detailed socio-economic baseline data was collected in May-June 2010. A concurrent community resource assessment identified household and local resources, production systems, occupations, markets and development opportunities in the area. Analysis confirmed that much of the poverty among the 63 households could not be attributed solely to displacement and relocation, given external issues such as health crises or the impact of the food, fuel, and financial crises over the period 2008-2010. However, the poverty incidence among community members was well higher than the national average. In May 2010, 59% of households had incomes below the national poverty line (significantly higher than the average poverty incidence in rural Cambodia of 35%). Community leaders designated 12 households as particularly destitute, e.g. those with elderly, widowed, chronically ill, or disabled heads of household, lacking able-bodied labor. In September 2011 a second field study of 50 households found that the poverty incidence had fallen to 18% of households, significantly lower than the national average. Subjectively, 37 households felt they were better off, 5 felt there was no change, and 8 felt worse off. The main reason given feeling worse off was receiving only small amounts of debt relief (see below).

The income restoration program:

1. Debt restructuring. This effort began with an update of the loan ledger originally prepared by the NGO CDCam, detailing each household's debts and multiple creditors (often with incomplete documentation). The debts were analyzed to distinguish between distress debt, e.g. in some way related to relocation, making interest payments, or health shocks (97% of the nearly $50,600 total household debts), and economic debt, e.g. that taken for productive purposes, mostly low-interest loans from micro-finance institutions (just 3% of total debts). On average, households owed $811 each, but the actual debt amounts varied greatly, ranging from $50 to more than $3,000. A complicating factor was that some households had managed to pay back some or most of their debts of their own volition over the preceding years, sometimes through the sale of assets, especially land.

Two full-time community facilitators, one seconded from the NGO PADEK, were based in Prey Veng. Over the period of May to September 2010 all debts were repaid to creditors on behalf of the households, with the intent that the amount would be paid back to the community savings and credit groups, once established, thus keeping the funds within the community. The debt of the 12 destitute households was cancelled. When it became clear that many households were opposed to making payments to the savings and credit groups, and in light of the fact that 97% of the restructured amount was distress debt, the TA team recommended writing off the debts completely, providing each household a debt-free clean slate from which to rebuild their livelihoods. ADB approved this in December 2010.

Unfortunately the TA team's recommendation only had partial community endorsement, and it created strife and dissatisfaction among community members who perceived that some had benefitted more from the debt cancellation than others. The debt restructuring exercise uncovered a lack of cohesion and mutual distrust among community members. Various factions sent different requests to ADB, with each accusing the others of various wrong-doings. The community leaders requested that ADB deal only with them, and not listen to community members. A long process of negotiation, facilitation, and clarification ensued, under a new TA team and with the support of the NGO CDCam. In the end, a solution was facilitated and all community members signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with the final resolution that

a) all households who received less than $400 total would be topped up to $400. A total of $5,000 would be required for this.

b) the community would raise $2,000 from among the households who received in excess of $800.

c) $3,000 of the remaining new credit funds would be converted to grants to make up the total $5,000 required.

d) the remaining credit funds would be retained to support micro-enterprises or second-cycle loans to borrowers who settled their first loans.

2. Savings and Credit Groups. The community leaders initially agreed to create two SCGs, one for each village, to manage community funds. Regular savings were a condition for membership. SCG rules and regulations were established, and community facilitators trained the board members in credit management, book-keeping, and other technical skills over the period January to May 201. Later, the two SCGs merged into one, but with three different sub-groups. Group savings was performing reasonably well in December 2011, with more than $720 in savings. On 15 November 2011 the SCG received its license from the Ministry of Interior, witnessed by the village chief and a commune council representative, who reminded SGC members of their repayment obligations.

3. Training. A mix of voluntary community-based, vocational center-based, and enterprise-based training was offered to community members. Community-based training for household heads, spouses, and other adult members included positive mindset and life skills training, household finances & debt management, small business skills, literacy, and agricultural extension training (e.g. chicken & livestock rearing). A total of 48 households opted to participate in one or more of the programs. All 18 female-headed households participated.

While 30 young people were identified as candidates for vocational training courses and registered for courses in motor repair, tailoring, and hairdressing and beauty at the Prey Veng Basic Skills Center, only 18 trainees ultimately completed the 4-month residential courses. Those who dropped out cited a number of reasons including that the center was too far from home (despite allowances for weekly home visits), they had to give up work opportunities (at about $2.50/day), the subsistence allowance was insufficient (at $1.50 per day), or they did not see the value of the course.

An enterprise-based job placement program was also offered to provide professional work experience and training. Six-month paid apprenticeships were arranged with local enterprises in Neak Loeung town. A total of 18 young people participated (of whom 9 were graduates of the Prey Veng vocational training programs). Trainees were provided with a monthly salary and daily food and travel allowances. In most cases, trainees opted to purchase bicycles with their travel allowance. The reasons given for why more young people did not participate was that they were studying, already had jobs, were married, sick, or planned to migrate to the city for work.

4. New credit. Following the training for SCG board members, $30,000 was made available for new credit, i.e. supervised micro-loans in support of income generation activities. For the 12 destitute households, grants were given instead of loans for the same purpose. As of end December 2011, $22,150 has been disbursed for items such as motorbikes, agricultural inputs, livestock, sewing machines, expansion of petty trading, and so on. Unfortunately, interest payment has been poor. Of the $1,740 due by October 2011, only half was repaid. Some borrowers are juggling other loans and repayment of the community loan is their last priority. Others feel that they were cheated out of debt relief and threaten not to repay SCG loans. Still others have adopted a wait and see attitude before they repay the community loans. Some complained of the heavy-handed approach taken by the SCG officers who came to collect. It became clear that further support and facilitation was required. A contract variation and reallocation of remaining TA funds allowed a direct transfer of the $7,000 in remaining credit funds to the community groups, who prepared a 6 month plan that included direct hire of an NGO community facilitator to provide intermittent follow-up support to the savings and credit groups until the TA closure date. The TA final review mission planned for November 2012 will examine the implementation of the 6 month plan.

Lessons from the implementation of TA 7366 include that:

1. Income restoration planning (including detailed household data collection) needs to take place as early as possible in the resettlement process, and in any event well before people have to move.

2. To maximize benefits and sustainability, IRPs should (i) be based on community resource assessments, (ii) be linked to other poverty reduction and livelihood interventions in the area, and (ii) involve local authorities in the planning stages.

3. IRPs need to offer individually tailored solutions for different categories of affected households such as rural land- or agriculture-based solutions, rural off-farm options, solutions for landless urban poor, and so on.

4. NGOs have a vital role to play in IRPs in community engagement, participatory planning, community organization, facilitation, problem solving, and longer term support.

5. The cost of preventive measures is far lower than remedial action.

Social Issues (from TA Report)

Along Highway 1, a number of families who were resettled when the highway was improved in the early 2000s found themselves in a vicious cycle of poverty and indebtedness, with no stable livelihood sources. Borrowing from informal moneylenders was a primary coping mechanism in the Stung Slot and Kraing Khok communities, particularly in the face of delayed and discounted compensation payments when resettlement originally took place. Many families owed unmanageable debts to loan sharks at usurious rates, often as high as 10% per month (at which rate the loan amount effectively triples in just 12 months). Some risked losing their resettlement site plots as a result, while others had already sold their plots to repay debts. A 2008 post-resettlement audit found that linking the affected households' debt problems only to the mistakes of resettlement was overly simplistic, as people were very poor to begin with, barely earning enough to support their families, and were highly vulnerable to shocks. It is also evident from the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey that a large proportion of Cambodia's poorest (most of whom have not been resettled) are highly indebted. But it is clear that resettlement was a major shock, and some of the affected households have not recovered. The resettlement audit recommended a livelihood stabilization program for 63 households in the Stung Slot and Kraing Khok communities of Prey Veng province. The audit found that affected households lacked (i) the understanding and skills required to take part in cash-oriented productive activities (such as providing goods and services to road users), (ii) the assets and capital necessary to engage in productive activities, and (iii) the support needed to collectively address the root causes of their poverty. The income restoration program was designed to address these 3 issues.

Geographical Location Phnom Penh and Prey Veng province, Cambodia
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design Extensive, involving the EA, community leaders, community members, and NGOs including CDCam, Oxfam Australia, Mekong Watch, and NGO Forum.
During Project Implementation Same as above, with the addition of the NGOs Bridges Across Borders Cambodia (BABC), Partnership for Development in Kampuchea (PADEK), the Housing Rights Task Force, and the Resettlement Action Network.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

A development NGO or consulting firm (partnerships are encouraged) will be recruited to implement the CDTA. The consultant team will have extensive experience in Cambodia in (i) involuntary resettlement and income restoration programs, (ii) designing and implementing community-based development initiatives that include setting up people's organizations and designing livelihood programs. The consultants will mobilize a team of international and national specialists that comprises experts in community development, microfinance, cooperatives, gender and development, and community-based adult education and training program management.

The team leader will be an international social scientist with an advanced degree and extensive practical experience. The consultants will provide at least 10 person months of international and 22 person months of national expertise, plus about 40 person months of community facilitators who work with and support the community groups and members on a regular basis. The deputy team leader will be a Cambodian national with expertise in community development, livelihoods, and, ideally, income restoration programs. Fluency in English and Khmer is a prerequisite.

Responsible ADB Officer Karin Schelzig
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Cambodia Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Mr. Nhean Leng
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Concept Clearance 30 May 2009
Fact Finding 09 Jun 2009 to 22 Jun 2009
Approval 01 Oct 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 18 Jun 2009
Last PDS Update 14 Sep 2012

TA 7366-CAM

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
01 Oct 2009 17 Dec 2009 17 Dec 2009 31 Oct 2011 30 Dec 2012 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
500,000.00 0.00 75,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 575,000.00 01 Oct 2009 498,698.88
Title Document Type Document Date
Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs TA Completion Reports Jul 2013
Capacity Development for Income Restoration Program Consultants' Reports Nov 2011
Capacity Development for Income Restoration Programs Technical Assistance Reports Oct 2009

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