Communications strategies will always remain key to the success of government initiatives such as the building of a social protection system, according to Pen Sophea, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Sophea was speaking at a workshop on Communication Strategy for Social Protection organised by the National Social Protection Council (NSPC) on August 31. Also in attendance were representatives from ministries and development partners as well as civil society organizations (CSOs).

Sophea stressed that this workshop and training course emphasised the will and commitment of the NSPC in its role to continue developing a robust and sustainable social protection system that will benefit the people of any group targeted for assistance.

"In order to achieve success for this communication and dissemination campaign, the NSPC focuses on pro-active outreach by broadcasting on television and radio and placing large banners in public places and working with the local and international press, as well as through social media channels," she said.

She said that because of the campaign, people are now more aware of the benefits of the social protection system and other programmes that the government has been sponsoring, including financial assistance to poor and vulnerable households during the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing salaries for civil servants and members of the armed forces, adjusting the pensions of civil servants and veterans to keep up with inflation or other economic pressures, and implementing the social security system for retirement pensions in the private sector.

Chan Narith – ministry under-secretary of state and secretary-general of the NSPC – said the one-day workshop and training course was an important part in the process of developing and building a modern and responsive Cambodian social protection system.

There are two main aims, he noted, the first of which is to increase the efficiency of communication and dissemination of social protection messaging and information. The second is to promote cooperation on communication and dissemination between relevant ministries and institutions, development partners and CSOs.

"Cambodia’s social protection system has been moving in a progressive direction as indicated by the NSPP framework 2016-2025 and under the guidance and direction of the NSPC with finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth as its chairman," he said.

He said this is the third time such a training course has been held, but this was different from the previous ones due to the participation of all stakeholders, including development partners and civil society.

This workshop, he said, not only focused on knowledge, training, communications and dissemination of information to those who most need it, but also addressed the goal of increased cooperation in communications and dissemination between ministries, state institutions and CSOs. These include those who work on social protection generally and the location-specific development partners and CSOs who operate in the remote and difficult-to-reach areas, such as those helping out indigenous communities and that are found throughout Cambodia.

Corinna Heinake, head of the Social Health Protection Programme at the German Agency for International Development (GIZ), praised Sophea for her active and well-coordinated work to build an inclusive social protection system, and especially for their close cooperation with NGOs, CSOs and outside partners.

She said GIZ will continue cooperating on public relations and dissemination with the NSPC General Secretariat and relevant ministries and institutions, and participate in building a social protection system that can reach out to all citizens.

Recently, the NSPC officially launched the "Communication Strategy for Social Protection" which, it said in a press release, is an important strategy to promote communication and dissemination about the social protection system to enable it to grow, move forward and reach out to all target groups across the Kingdom.