Promoting Poverty Reduction Through the Participatory Approach - Cases of Huodi Village, Hanyuan, Sichuan
- poverty reduction approaches
- endogenous poverty alleviation
- vulnerable groups
- targeted poverty alleviation components
- supporting policies
Promoting Poverty Reduction Through the Participatory Approach - Cases of Huodi Village, Hanyuan, Sichuan
Title : Promoting Poverty Reduction Through the Participatory Approach - Cases of Huodi Village, Hanyuan, Sichuan
Commencement Date : --
Implementing Agencies : Development Organization of Rural Sichuan，Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association
Support Organizations :
Members of The :
CASE PROVIDER :
Sources of Funds :
Catalogue and Index :
Abstract Summary :
In many developing countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in poverty alleviation and disaster relief and often promote the economic development and poverty alleviation and development in the regions covered by fixed-point poverty alleviation through participating in the anti-poverty work. Well-known international NGOs include Red Cross, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief and Save the Children, etc. In addition, NGOs’ participatory poverty alleviation mode in poor areas has been gradually accepted by the masses. The NGOs in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines mainly get involved in the implementation of microcredit and women’s development projects and have played an important role in boosting rural economic development and sustainable poverty alleviation.
According to the participation development theory put forward by Professor Norman Uphoff of Cornell University, development objects not only need to implement development, but also have to participate in the monitoring and evaluation as the beneficiaries. This idea is used in the practice of poverty alleviation, creating the globally common participatory rural poverty alleviation and development mode. With a solid theoretical foundation, systematic and standardized practice procedures and obvious poverty reduction effect, this model has aroused attention of the world. With the construction of China’s rural autonomy system and the introduction of the concept of empowering the poor, our country is applying and promoting the concept, principle and method of participation development in the anti-poverty work.
At the middle reaches of Dadu River, in the southwest of Ya’an City, Sichuan Province, Huodi Village of Hanyuan County is a pilot village for participatory poverty alleviation and has strong representation. The practice of "participatory" poverty alleviation in some minority autonomous areas of Sichuan is conducive to the institutional innovation and theoretical innovation to the poverty alleviation system, showing a positive effect of poverty alleviation. The poverty alleviation project of Huodi Village, Hanyuan County, Sichuan Province is a successful poverty alleviation case under the leadership of Development Organization of Rural Sichuan with government support. Such participatory poverty alleviation by international NGOs is sustainable and can easily be copied, so it is of high promotion value.
1.1Basic information of Hanyuan County
At the middle reaches of Dadu River, in the southwest of Ya’an City in Sichuan Province, Huodi Village of Hanyuan County is adjacent to Jinhekou District of Leshan City and Hongya County of Meishan City in the east, connects Ganluo County of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region in the south, close to Luding county of Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Region and Shimian County of Ya’an city in the west and neighbors Ya’an City in the north. It is 71.45 kilometers long from east to west and 70.1 kilometers wide from south to north. At the end of 2001, the county had a total of 101731 households and a population of 346593, including an agricultural population of 317835 and a non- agricultural population of 28758, and 93% of the residents are rural people. Hanyuan is one of the poorest counties of Sichuan Province. Belonging to Hanyuan County, Huodi Village has five villager teams respectively located along the way from the township government to the Dashu Town Highroad. Team 1 and 2 are mainly engaged in agricultural production of big white beans and potatoes with per capita arable land of 3.5 mu, without any farmland. Located in high mountain area with harsh natural conditions, the village has a rather weak infrastructure foundation, backward economic and social development situation and production and living conditions, with per capita annual income of 800 yuan.
1.2 Development Organization of Rural Sichuan (DORS)
In China, a number of non- governmental organizations are involved in poverty alleviation and development. Among them, Development Organization of Rural Sichuan is one of the NGOs specialized in rural poverty reduction and rural development and has been conducting participatory poverty alleviation. It is a typical participatory poverty alleviation conducted by non- governmental organizations.
Founded in October 1996 by British person Ross in the United Kingdom as a charity organization (registered No.: 1061133), Development Organization of Rural Sichuan mainly carries out anti-poverty work in Hanyuan County, a poor county in Sichuan Province, and has begun to launch poverty alleviation work in Ganluo County of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region in recent years. Located in the southwest mountain area of Sichuan Province and in the southern part of Ya’an City, Hanyuan County has 17 ethnic groups including Han, Yi, Tibet, Hui, etc., of which 10% are minority people. The county has a population of 342,100, of which 310,000 are rural residents.
Development Organization of Rural Sichuan is mainly composed of the consignor and workers. The former is mainly responsible for contacting foreign organizations and dealing with international affairs, which is voluntary work. The workers participate in the whole process of project implementation, usually 2-4 people. Since its inception, in this 35-square meter office of Development Organization of Rural Sichuan, its full-time staff and 29 volunteers from 9 countries get involved in the anti-poverty work of Development Organization of Rural Sichuan. Now, most of the workers are local residents of Hanyuan.
1.3 Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association
Founded in December 1993, Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association is a provincial social poverty alleviation and development agency under the administration of Sichuan Provincial Poverty Alleviation and Immigration Bureau and another important organization to promote the poverty alleviation and development work of local area.
Permanent office of the Association is the Secretariat, which is equipped with business development department, comprehensive administration department, propaganda and information department, project planning department and legal affairs department. At present, the Association has nearly 600 group, business and individual members, including 230 provincial poverty alleviation industrialization leading enterprises.
The Association’s tenet: Under the guidance of scientific outlook on development, the Association is committed to people-oriented poverty eradication, narrowing wealth gap, promoting common prosperity, building a harmonious society, assisting the government in mobilizing social forces and guiding various economies with different types of ownership to support and participate in industrial poverty alleviation and development to achieve the social and economic benefits of poverty alleviation and development.
The Association’s main functions: Guide domestic and foreign capital and talents to promote advanced technology and management experience, vigorously carry out industrial poverty alleviation, effectively combine social resources with natural resources, promote the income growth of poverty-stricken people through the industry chain of poverty alleviation leading enterprises, increase jobs for the poor and establish the long-term mechanism for poverty reduction.
2 Main practices
Through the scientific methods such as social anthropology, agro-ecosystem analysis, farmers operating system research and participatory action, the participatory poverty alleviation of Huodi Village in Hanyuan County of Sichuan Province is conducted with participatory methods and means. The participatory methods and means adopted by the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan and Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association mainly include: Through inviting local residents to draw the resource map, fill in the questionnaire and establish memorabilia, interviewing with rural households, holding symposiums, organizing panel discussion, carrying out field survey, direct observation and tracking investigations, they directly communicate with the farmers to understand their cash income, grain shortage situation, natural conditions, education level, skills, housing situation, land quality and water shortage, natural conditions such as alpine mountains, environmental degradation, natural disasters and ethnic composition to ensure that they’ll get the real first-hand data. Through picture drawing, graphic modelling, classification, queue and matrix scoring, they enabled the poor to understand what poverty is, what the causes of poverty are and how to shake off poverty. After that, they’ll summarize the collected information and data, report on the research results at all levels, again hold interviews with farmers when needed to ensure the accuracy and completion of the information. Finally, they sum up and demonstrate the data obtained through the analysis of the agricultural ecosystem, the study of farmers’ operating system and participatory actions, thus forming scientific planning to meet the needs of poor farmers. After the planning formulation, they enter the stage of project implementation. During this period, giving full play to the leading role of villagers, they are only responsible for the supervision of the work. After project completion, through field survey and listening to the feedback of villagers, they sum up the information and create files.
3 Implementation process
Through participation method, the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan (DORS) creates opportunities and an atmosphere for the target groups to actively get involved in the project implementation and independently determine, design, implement and manage the project. Its working staffs believe and full respect the villagers because they believe the villagers know best about local environment and their own situations. In various stages of the project, thus, they allow villagers to participate in the project construction to the largest extent, especially pay attention to the vulnerable groups in the community (including women, children, disabled persons and local minority people). The projects should be designed to benefit the whole community for sustainable development. From 1996 to 2008, the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan has been adopting the top-down participation method to implement the poverty alleviation and development work. The specific workflow is as follows:
3.1 Project village selection and baseline survey stage
First, through the introduction of the County Poverty Alleviation Office, visit the town where the villages are located and discuss with local government officials to understand the situation of the villages and the development strategies of local government. Then visit the villages and determine suitable project villages based on the initial survey results. After that, carry out the baseline survey on the villages. Visit each household and use participation method and its survey tools to understand the villages’ situation to the largest extent, which helps build a good relationship between the workers and the villagers and helps obtain more real and comprehensive information. In this process, the workers respect each villager’s opinions and ideas, especially the ideas of the marginalized and vulnerable groups of the village (women, disabled persons and minority people).
3.2 Project planning and design phase
After the baseline survey, the staff will visit the village again to understand the farmers’ needs and make assessment on their needs. Based on the needs of the villagers and the capacity of DORS, the working staff and villagers will rank the farmers’ needs and design the projects to be implemented in the coming years.
3.3 Project implementation phase
In the project implementation stage, the working staff will first analyze the relevant stakeholders, and the project is discussed among farmers in the village. During this process, DORS creates all kinds of opportunities to encourage farmers’ participation in project. For example, the villagers set up their own management team, purchase and prepare engineering materials, and prepare and implement the project. The management system approved through group discussion of the farmers will also be established in this process. The farmers need to understand the whole project, including their rights, obligations and responsibly as well as the project progress, and express their views. The project is implemented by the farmers under the leadership of the village cadres or management teams. The working staff can only assist and supervise the work.
3.4 Project monitoring and evaluation stage
Development Organization of Rural Sichuan has an overall monitoring and appraisal plan for each village. It will arrange irregular rural interview to check project implementation situation based on project progress and write the project progress report to record the interview information and the stakeholders’ comments on the project. After project completion, the staff will prepare the project evaluation report, visit the surveyed households again, conduct qualitative analysis on the changes brought about by the project and listen to people’s comments on these changes. As the follow-up study of the initial baseline survey, the project evaluation report will be kept on file.
4 Implementation Effect
As of July 2008, Development Organization of Rural Sichuan raised more than 8.5 million yuan at home and abroad, and invested more than 7 million yuan in Hanyuan and over one million yuan in Ganluo, encouraging government investment of nearly 620,000 yuan and local residents’ investment of nearly 220,000 yuan. Through the joint efforts of the villagers, Sichuan Provincial Poverty Alleviation Office, Hanyuan County Government and Hanyuan County Poverty Alleviation Office, the project achieved good results. DORS provided support for more than 460 big and small projects in Hanyuan County and Ganluo County of Daliang Mountain Yi Autonomous Prefecture, benefiting about 46,000 people, including more than 20,000 farmers of 40 poor villages, greatly improving the production and living conditions of the project village. These projects include infrastructure projects such as road, household road, power supply and drinking water projects, rural energy projects such as energy-saving stove and solar energy projects in rural areas, microfinance projects, education projects, agroforestry projects, planting and breeding projects, forestry technical training and participatory methods training, etc., falling into nine categories. Over the past 12 years, it has provided support for more than 200 children for nearly 6400 person-times; subsidized the planting of more than 700,000 trees; built more than 200 reservoirs, issued loans of 1.83 million yuan for more than 1000 women for 1842 times; subsidized the drinking water and irrigation projects of over 20 villages; provided some matching funds to subsidize the construction of village roads of seven villages; provided financial support for the construction of energy-saving stoves of 1057 households, cultivated a number of technicians for energy-saving project construction, and completed some other projects such as animal husbandry projects, shed construction projects, grinding machine projects, telephone projects, destitute families’ projects and income-generating projects. Furthermore, in order to help the villagers improve production technology and development capabilities, it held 63 training courses on forest, livestock, computer, capacity building and participatory poverty alleviation. The effects of participatory poverty alleviation also include the following aspects:
4.1 Significant enhancement in the level of rural economic development
The participatory poverty alleviation and development mode has fully mobilized farmers’ enthusiasm and initiative for participating in poverty alleviation project selection, combined poverty alleviation projects effectively with the comparative advantage of Huodi Village’s resources, got rid of the restrictions of natural conditions and economic resources, and promoted the economic development and the optimization of industrial structure. Huodi Village’s per capita net income increased from 650 yuan in 2002 to 1650 yuan in 2005, up 254% in three years. Among them, breeding industry witnessed the most rapid income growth, rising from 183 yuan to 686 yuan, up 375%; the labor transfer income increased from 103 yuan to 335 yuan, up 325%, and the per capita income of the rural non-agricultural industries increased from 229 yuan to 629 yuan, up 275%.
4.2 Significant improvement in the overall level of social development
Taking infrastructure construction as a breakthrough point, through special financial funds and the support of relevant departments, the entire village advancement for participatory poverty alleviation and development in Huodi Village newly built highroads of 14 km and broadened and repaired highroads of 10 km to ensure the smooth connection between the villages and No.316 National Way; and improved watershed of 3 km and arable land area of 45 mu. The County Power Bureau assisted the transformation of rural power grids of 22 km, the telecommunications sector installed telephone sets for the farmers; primary schools’ campus area increased by 400 square meters, and one multi-functional training room was set up. With support of the participatory poverty alleviation and development projects, after three years of development, Huodi Village has increased the number of vehicles from four to 44, and has now 30 motorcycles, 10 agricultural tricycles and four tractors. The number of TV sets increased from 32 to 124, the TV program channels increased from 7 to 20, and the fixed telephone sets increased to five. Seen from the overall level of social development, the water, electricity and road conditions as well as living conditions in rural areas have been significantly improved. The rural education’s hardware such as school building and playground problems, which the masses are most concerned about, have been basically resolved, and rapid progress has been made in social development on the whole.
4.3 Great improvement in villagers’ self-development capacity
The core idea of the participatory poverty alleviation and development mode is the capacity building of the poor. In the process of the participatory poverty alleviation and development, poverty alleviation projects have brought not only capital, technology and information to Huodi Village, but also the idea and method of sustainable development to the rural areas and enhanced the farmers’ self-management level and self-development capacity, mainly manifested by: First, the farmers have a stronger sense of democratic participation. Before the implementation of the participatory poverty alleviation and development projects, two or three villagers’ assemblies were held every year, many villagers did not attend the meeting with many excuses and women accounted for only 10% of the participants. After the project implementation, however, the farmers believe the villagers’ assembly is related to their vital interests and six villagers’ assemblies are held every year. The farmers actively participate in the conferences and make comments through a variety of channels. According to the planning department’s statistics, the people involved in the project voting account for 96% of the total rural residents of the village and those involved in project management account for 10%. Second, through a variety of ways, the participatory poverty alleviation and development increased the communications between the village and outside world, fundamentally changed the poor’s conservative ideology of waiting and dependence and made the poor active in shaking off poverty.
4.4 A more harmonious relationship between cadres and the masses
Traditional poverty alleviation model often ignores the wishes of the beneficiaries but strictly implements the executive order, which is likely to cause strained relations between cadres and the masses and make it difficult to implement the plan. The "participatory" poverty reduction mode, however, allows farmers to make decisions themselves independently with fund investment through the establishment of public funds in the village and loan issuance to the farmers. As a result, each person is responsible for the fund and there is not too much administrative intervention, leading to a more harmonious relationship between cadres and the masses. To conduct participatory poverty alleviation, the government must create an opportunity for the poor to participate in the process of poverty alleviation and development, including listening to the poor’s voice, making pro-poor policies reflect the opinions of social groups including the poor, make the poor have a deeper understanding of their current situation, directly allow the project beneficiaries to get involved in and benefit from their resources-related assessment, design and management to form the anti-poverty actions jointly participated by the government and the poor.
The "participatory" poverty alleviation mode reflects the "people-oriented" philosophy, can better mobilize the masses’ enthusiasm and is more in line with the "scientific outlook on development", providing an updated, more effective operation mode and management philosophy for the improvement of the implementation effect of the development-oriented poverty alleviation.
5 Existing Problems
5.1 International organizations do not well understand China’s policies and relevant departments
With the implementation of returning farmland to forest and for some other reasons, the farmers of Village Team 5 left Huodi Village, affecting the project implementation to some extent. As international organizations do not well understand China’s policies and do not cooperate with the relevant business departments, the phenomena of unnecessary money waste and repeated construction occur in the process of project implementation. For example, if the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan has a profound understanding of the policy on upgrading of rural power grid, the repeated construction of the power supply project in Village Team 5 would have been avoided. Thus, the international poverty alleviation organizations should deepen its communications with the relevant business departments.
5.2 Cadre change brings difficulty in work continuity
The implementation and management of the participatory poverty alleviation and development projects requires some stable personnel for management. However, the county agencies’ management personnel change every five years and the township leadership change every three years, so the project management is sometimes not well linked up, increasing training difficulty, not conducive to the management continuity of project implementation. After Woman Cadre Shen Zhen of Nimei Township Government, who had been keeping contacts with Development Organization of Rural Sichuan and participated in the participatory poverty alleviation training of DORS, was transferred, it had a negative impact on the poverty alleviation project implementation. As the participatory poverty alleviation is a special mode, trainings must be held for relevant workers to better participate in the poverty reduction. DORS should communicate well with the local government to look for more stable working staff to support the anti-poverty work.
6 Basic Experience
6.1Highlight the “participation” of the poor
Participatory development is a microscopic theory of development, with emphasis on respect for differences and equal consultation. With support of "outsiders (experts and scientific and technical personnel)", through the active participation of community members, it strives to achieve efficient sustainable development of the community so that the community members will all be able to share the development outcomes. In the practices, Huodi Village highlighted the participation of the poor:
(1) The process of the partnership building for participatory development project implementation is the process of the cooperation between "outsiders (experts and scientific and technical personnel)" and "local residents" for joint benefits. Both parties are equal "partners" and neither of them leads the other. Government and project staff are the project initiators, organizers and actuators, beneficiary groups are the main body in the development process, and the development project proponents, planners, implementers, managers and beneficiaries.
(2) Attach importance to both results and process. Participatory method should provide proper awareness and knowledge to guide people's behavior, not affecting the ability of local residents for self-development and self-organization and not allowing them to depend on external development projects, and stresses human development. Only after human capacity enhancement, can we achieve sustainable quantitative and qualitative improvement.
(3) Human development should not be dependent on "capable persons" and "leaders". Participatory project promotes development through enhancing the ability of beneficiaries, including vulnerable groups such as poor people, women and children rather than "capable persons" and "leaders". Capacity building of the beneficiaries and project implementation agency should be an important target of the project.
(4) Attach importance to indigenous knowledge, technology and skills training of the masses. For their own survival and the development of future generations, the farmers have been wondering how to take advantage of the opportunities given by the existing natural resources and economic development to the largest extent and accumulated rich experience and lessons, forming the indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge is a summary of mankind’s long-term production practice. In the long-term production practice, people in the community have summarized rich indigenous knowledge and transfer it from generation to generation. The masses know how to make the best use of resources to reduce risks under the restriction of the existing production mode and lifestyle. In one community, the farmers know more about their development restrictions, development potential and development opportunities than any outsider. The community development projects help increase farmers’ basic skills and help them use the indigenous knowledge to solve problems.
(5) Institutionalization. A new concept of development needs to be advocated and promoted by a new agency; a new development project needs a new agency to implement. The institutionalization of participatory project is actually a mechanism innovation process that requires some time, and we need to strengthen the training of human resources. The success of participatory development project largely depends on the construction of a new team.
(6) Systematism. The systematism of participatory development emphasizes the policy environment and incentives. If the incentives of the project and the existing policy environment are only conducive to the rich and men, it is unrealistic to require the poor and women to get involved.
6.2 Put emphasis on capacity building of relevant personnel
According to the theory of participatory development, external support is important, but it is more important to strengthen and improve the ability of local residents for self-development, which is also an important experience of Huodi Village in participatory poverty alleviation. The basic principle for participatory poverty alleviation is that we must attach importance to capacity building in the project implementation process rather than focus on results only. The core of this theory is that people are the main body in the development process. Only after human development is strengthened in the project implementation process can the development be sustainable. The capacity building with project as the carrier is always the key to sustainable development. Each link of planning formulation, implementation and management is the specific method and means for capacity building, and the whole process is the process of villagers’ capacity building.
In addition, the capacity building of Huodi Village also includes women training. Currently, in rural areas, many male labors go out to work. In Huodi Village, each household has one migrant worker on average, so women have become the main forces for rural development and it has become one of the features of characteristics of participatory poverty alleviation to strengthen women training and capacity building.
6.3 Empowerment to communities and farmers
The core of participatory method is empowerment, and the core of empowerment is the redistribution of the right to participate and decision-making right in the whole process of development assistance activities. In short, we should increase the voice and decision-making power of the poor and women in development activities in the community. The process of empowering the poor and women is the process of re-recalling the confidence of the poor and women in their knowledge and ability and rebuilding their self-esteem, which is crucial to building self-development capacity of poor communities and increasing social capital of communities. Meanwhile, it is also the experience of Huodi Village in promoting poverty alleviation and development through participation.
Participatory approach emphasizes the process of "equal consultation" and the empowerment to poor communities and the vulnerable groups in the community. In such a way, these people will establish a "sense of ownership" in the process of community development, which is the prerequisite for sustainable poverty alleviation. Meanwhile, this long-term mutual learning process of "equal negotiations and consultations" greatly promotes the social interaction among community members, laid the foundation for community-based organization establishment and accelerated pace of social capital accumulation and capacity building, thereby ensuring the sustainable development of the community. This bottom-up development method and target groups’ participation in the development of poor communities is in stark contrast to the traditional top-down poverty alleviation mode. As poverty alleviation activity for development interventions, under the framework of a participatory approach, as the anti-poverty work focuses on "human" development, namely the respect for human beings, especially respect for socially vulnerable groups, the protection of basic human rights and the overall human development, it clearly no longer ignores human like the traditional poverty alleviation mode, the external intervention personnel no longer appear as almsgivers or leaders, and poverty alleviation is no longer the purpose, but the means to promote the comprehensive development of the target vulnerable groups. Participatory approach is implemented in the whole process of poverty alleviation, so it can achieve the goal of real poverty reduction and helping the real poor.
6.4 Attach importance to the sustainability of project
In the project planning and design stage, a series of village regulations and non-government agreements were developed to ensure the successful implementation and follow-up management of the project, including the sustainable design of the project, such as encouraging villagers to expand planting scale with the money earned from the project to achieve the project sustainability. In addition, attach importance to participatory training. By electing village honest and selfless village cadres, holding participatory trainings for them and understanding the basic idea of participatory development and the project management methods, it strives to make the project develop towards the correct direction, ensuring the sustainability of the project.
6.5 Effective integration of various poverty alleviation resources
The successful implementation of the project in Huodi Village is inseparable with the government support, the farmers’ unity, active participation and cooperation in the project implementation, as well as the support of the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan and Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association. The party secretary of Huodi Village made the following comments on the poverty reduction results: Development Organization of Rural Sichuan contributed 40% to the successful implementation of the project, and the villagers and the government each contributed 30%; In fact, I believe that farmers are the most important factors affecting the process of participatory poverty alleviation and development.
7 Promotion value
Unlike the government-led top-down poverty alleviation mechanism, the poverty alleviation mechanism implemented by the non-governmental organizations is a bottom-up democratic poverty alleviation mechanism supported by relevant organizations with the poor as the main participants. Under this new poverty alleviation mechanism, the poverty alleviation philosophy, poverty-relief project planning, implementation, management and supervision all reflect the philosophy of participatory poverty alleviation, attaching great importance to the participation and capacity building of the poor. It is worth promoting in the following aspects:
7.1 The philosophy of “learning from the poor” ensures that the poverty alleviation projects can best meet the needs of the poor
Non-governmental organizations believe that poverty is not a simple result of low income, but is a result of the fact that the poor lack the basic right for service and development as the vulnerable groups. Thus, on the basis of "believing the poor", they strive to safeguard the poor’s basic rights through the establishment of a complete set of mechanisms. The staffs of the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan admit that the villagers have their own points of view, are familiar with local situations and are ready to learn new things and listen to their ideas. The working staffs believe that if the poverty alleviation subjects do not understand their opinions, it is not because they have a low cultural level and background thoughts, but because they do not really understand the actual situation. Seen from the 12 years of poverty alleviation practices, the villagers take the projects as their own projects, the project operating cost is low and success rate is high, and the project is sustainable with good economic and social benefits, enhancing the ability of the villagers for self-management and self-development.
7.2 The contract-based villager participation mechanism enhances the sense of ownership of the target groups
Development Organization of Rural Sichuan signed the interest contracts with the local government and farmers almost for each project, and the contracts have provisions on relevant parties’ responsibilities and interests as well as how to deal with defaults. For example, the drinking water project of Wanlin Village requires each household to pay a deposit of 100 yuan. If farmers are found not active in maintaining the drinking water ponds in the project monitoring and assessment, leading to the failure of the drinking water project, the deposits of the drinking water team will be forfeited in full. This agreement with certain punishment makes farmers more active in project implementation and supervision, guaranteeing the efficiency of the poverty-relief funds and the successful implementation of the poverty-relief project. In this way, it mobilized the target farmers’ initiative and enthusiasm for project participation and made them establish a sense of ownership of the project. The full participation of the target groups in the project construction is not only a need of the successful implementation of the project, but more importantly, is a requirement for the self-development capacity building of the poor and for accelerating the process of democratization in rural poor areas.
7.3 The whole process project monitoring and evaluation mechanism improves the success rate of project implementation
Development Organization of Rural Sichuan has a relatively complete monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure the improvement of the efficiency of anti-poverty funds and the smooth implementation of the poverty alleviation project, covering not only the monitoring and evaluation on different objects, such as the monitoring on local government, project implementation agency and the beneficiaries, but also financial supervision and project monitoring and evaluation mainly through field supervision by relevant personnel. At the same time, DORS also implements the transparent supervision mechanism to accept the supervision from outside world, including the supervision of society, government, beneficiaries and donators.
DORS mainly announces the project implementation information through posting bulletins, making propagandas by broadcasting, holding village cadres’ meeting and villagers’ assembly. It encourages villagers to actively attend the meeting. Usually, 70-80% of the villagers take part in the meetings and those who are absent at the meeting will also give the reasons and said that all the decisions made at the meeting must be agreed by them. According to the Party Secretary of Huodi Village- the project village, a lot of time is needed for the village cadres’ meeting or villagers’ assembly in the preparation stage, greatly reducing problems in the project implementation process and the follow-up management and ensuring the success of the project. The open, fair and transparent project implementation reduces conflicts and contributes to unity and progress of the whole village, avoid contradictions in the complex community, thus not affecting the successful implementation of the project.
7.4 The government cooperation mechanism with resource complementing each other creates a good external environment for the successful completion of the project
Since its inception, DORS has maintained a good working relationship with the local government. Ross selected Hanyuan as the project area as recommended by Sichuan Provincial Poverty Alleviation Office, and he got strong support from the county government and the County Poverty Alleviation Office for his working the county. The government departments of all relevant towns, counties, regions and the province all support the work of DORS, and its main partners are poverty alleviation offices. Hanyuan County Agricultural Machinery Bureau, Education Bureau, Water Conservancy Bureau, Animal Husbandry Bureau and other departments will provide technical guidance and coordination services. In the process of poverty alleviation of DORS, the township cadres and village cadres played an important role and were responsible for the daily management of many projects.
DORS made full use of all resources, took advantage of the grassroots cadres’ understanding of local situation and their prestige among the farmers, made good use of the government’s financial and technical advantages in large public projects, combined with its advantages in relevant work, vigorously implemented the poverty alleviation projects, and promoted the local government and villagers to invest in anti-poverty work, significantly improving the self-development capacity of local farmers. Taking Huodi Village as an example, the successful implementation of the project in Huodi Village is inseparable with the government support, the farmers’ unity, active participation and cooperation in the project implementation, as well as the support of the Development Organization of Rural Sichuan and Sichuan Poverty Alleviation and Development Association. The party secretary of Huodi Village made the following comments on the poverty reduction results: Development Organization of Rural Sichuan contributed 40% to the successful implementation of the project, and the villagers and the government each contributed 30%.
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