Identification of poor households

Project description

Title: Support to the identification of poor households programme (IDPoor)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Country: Cambodia
Lead executing agency: Cambodian Ministry of Planning
Overall term: 2006 to 2021

IDPoor household interview in a slum area of Phnom Penh.


Effective poverty alleviation requires the targeted orientation of development activities towards the poor. In response, the Cambodian Ministry of Planning has developed the “Identification of Poor Households” (IDPoor) mechanism, with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It identifies poor and vulnerable households so that they can access benefits such as social transfers, healthcare and other targeted services.

Before the project began its work, there was no standardised, universally recognised and nationally applied procedure for recognising poor households in Cambodia. This meant that poor households were unable to assert their rights to basic social services, such as free medical treatment.


The Cambodian Government implements a standardised procedure for identifying poor households nationwide. Governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as development partners use the generated data for targeted poverty alleviation interventions.

IDPoor household interview in a slum area of Phnom Penh.


To assess poverty via IDPoor, villagers elect representatives amongst themselves to interview households using standardised poverty criteria. The villagers then discuss the results openly before finalising a list of poor households for each village. This procedure is run recurrently throughout the country to provide up-to-date targeting data to the social sectors.

The project strengthens the capacity of IDPoor staff to coordinate and implement the identification process in cooperation with local authorities and implementers. GIZ also supports the Cambodian Ministry of Planning in improving its database system as well as further developing the poverty assessment procedure. After an initial focus on rural areas, coverage of urban areas began in 2016. Since 2018, an on-demand mechanism is being developed to improve coverage in-between regular data collection rounds.

GIZ implements this support to IDPoor on behalf of both the German and Australian governments.

Free treatment for mother and infant thanks to IDPoor.


In 2011, the Cambodian government confirmed IDPoor by law as the country’s official poverty targeting mechanism to be used nationwide by the public and private social sectors. Through its yearly recurrent rounds, millions of poor and vulnerable Cambodians have participated and been given access to social services, such as free health care, social transfers, reduced government fees, school feeding programmes, assistance with shelter, running water, and more. Between 2015 and 2017, IDPoor reached over 550,000 poor households in rural areas.

By 2019, the poor living in Cambodia’s towns and cities were also included for the first time. Meanwhile, important efficiency gains were made by introducing better technology, such as mobile devices for data collection.

The programme’s sustainability is ensured as the Royal Government of Cambodia is progressively taking over responsibility for funding IDPoor’s operational costs.

Additional information