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Moving Out of Poverty? Trends in Community Well-Being and Household Mobility in Nine Cambodian Villages

Published: 01-Sep-2007



CDRI is pleased to present the report of the Moving Out of Poverty Study (MOPS), a major study conducted in partnership with the World Bank. MOPS is the first longitudinal, contextual, mixed-methods study on poverty dynamics conducted in Cambodia. 

The CDRI-World Bank Cambodia study was designed and commissioned initially as part of the World Bank’s global Moving Out of Poverty Study. The scope and methodology were fine tuned to better reflect Cambodian needs and development circumstances. The study provides an innovative methodology and different perspective to past national poverty research and analysis, significantly showing that rural villages and households are not all the same, and that “over-generalisations” about rural poverty in developing countries can be risky and not necessarily useful for policy. It supports the need for careful poverty alleviation targeting, especially of the poorest rural households. Finally, and very importantly, it demonstrates the value of integrating analysis of governance issues and poverty trends, rather than dealing with them separately, and shows the impact of governance, power relations and socio-political forms of inequality on poverty and economic inequality.

CDRI’s experience and learning from the MOPS study have been rich, underlining not only the value of this type of research for a development research institute aiming to influence government policy, and the capacity building demands and benefits for its researchers, but also the challenges and limitations of undertaking globally designed and brokered studies in a complex environment like Cambodia. It has, however, also provided an opportunity for mutually beneficial learning and the development of close and very beneficial collaborative professional relationships between CDRI and the World Bank’s local poverty team.

In 2006/07 CDRI completed three major poverty studies: MOPS for the World Bank and the Tonle Sap Participatory Poverty Assessment and RETA for the ADB, all challenging and demanding multi-disciplinary studies that have been a significant learning experience for CDRI in research design and methodology and the technical skills and capacity development needs of our researchers. They have taken CDRI’s capacity to conduct quality poverty research, both quantitative and qualitative, a major step forward, while at the same time setting a mid- to long-term poverty research and monitoring agenda for CDRI in support of Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan 2006–10. 

Through our experience of MOPS and the other recent poverty studies, and interrelated policy research in our major programmes—economy, trade and regional cooperation; governance and public sector reform; natural resources and the environment; and agriculture and rural development—CDRI hopes to continue to build strong local capacity in poverty alleviation research, monitoring and analysis that will serve Cambodia’s future development well.

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