January 28, 2023

Cambodia: COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment – Phase II Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the global economy and individual livelihoods, while exacerbating disparities among the more marginalised communities and groups.
This study aims to assess the short to long-term impacts on the economy and livelihood of Cambodian households, their access to essential services and goods, along with food security and nutrition, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations as described by several socio-demographic characteristics.
The report is summarizing key findings of a high-frequency longitudinal panel study with 9 rounds of data collection in the period between August 2020 and December 2021. Baseline data was collected from a sample of 2,034 households from 25 provinces in Cambodia, which were followed-up through phone-based interviews. Between 678 and 1,113 households were involved in each round of data collection.
Key findings:
• The impact was most noticeable in household economies as the majority experienced reductions in their income and loss of employment. The IDPoor households were less resilient to negative impacts on household income.
• While taking out new loans was a frequently used coping mechanism for households to meet their daily needs, sales of land were seldom reported.
• Notable deteriorations in household access to nutritious food were registered during the peaks of the pandemic, including in October 2020 when, in addition, large-scale fl ooding occurred, as well as, in July 2021. The nutritional quality of diets consumed by households has yet to recover to its pre-pandemic status.
• Challenges in accessing nutritional food during the pandemic was particularly pronounced for women and children, with only 61% of women consuming diets meeting the requirements for a Minimum Dietary Diversity, and only 31% of children consuming a Minimum Acceptable Diet.
• Adoption of negative coping strategies by households to meet their food needs remains widespread and considerably higher than before COVID19 – this is an indication of persistent pressure on household food security despite the incipient economic recovery. The households were likely to restrict the household food consumption and to engage severe livelihood coping strategies.
• As the closure of schools extended until the end of 2021, children were more reliant on online materials to continue their studies. A concerningly high proportion of children aged 12 to 18 years old were engaged in work, both in family businesses and elsewhere. Meanwhile, caregivers were able to off er only limited support for their children’s learning.
• The strict measures applied from February 2021 as a reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak impacted the access to essential health services for pregnant women and negatively impacted adult and child well-being.

Source: World Food Programme