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How to Integrate Gender and Sanitation into the Community Poverty Reduction? - Implications of the Project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”

How to Integrate Gender and Sanitation into the Community Poverty Reduction? - Implications of the Project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”

Cover and Title Page Catalogue and Summary Main Body

Title : How to Integrate Gender and Sanitation into the Community Poverty Reduction? - Implications of the Project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”

Commencement Date : Sat Jan 01 2000--

Implementing Agencies : China Women's Development Foundation

Support Organizations :

Actuator :

Members of The :

Contact :

CASE PROVIDER :

Name :

Contact :

Sources of Funds : All-China Women’s Federation, Beijing Municipal Government and CCTV, China Women's Development Foundation, local government

Catalogue and Index :

Abstract Summary :

1 Introduction 238 1.1 About “Water Cellar for Mothers” 238 1.2 Water shortage in West China 238 2 IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS & MAIN PRACTICES 239 2.1 Implementation process 239 2.2 Main practices 3 3 Implementation Effect 5 3.1 Improved the water conditions and living environment of the masses of project areas 5 3.2 Enhanced local people’s awareness of health and hygiene and health conditions 5 3.3 Improved women’s family and social status 5 3.4 Promoted the local rural industrial structure adjustment and increase farmers’ income 6 4 Existing Problems 6 4.1 Lack of necessary purification facilities, no guarantee for water quality of the cellars 6 4.2 Fund shortage, short supply 6 4.3 Inadequate advocacy 7 5 Basic Experience 7 5.1 Strengthen leadership and standardize management 5.2 Keep pace with the times and highlight key points 5.3 Government leadership, social participation 5.4 Highlight public welfare and create public welfare brands 5.5 Increase transparency and improve credibility 246 6 Promotion value 6.1 To serve women, create a new model of poverty alleviation with the improvement of environment as the carrier 6.2 Promote development by improving survival conditions and promote poverty reduction through capacity building 247 6.3 Make innovations to the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of “1 + 5” 247 7 Implementation conditions 7.1 It has become the world’s consensus to improve women’s status and living conditions 7.2 Attention and support of the government and relevant departments 7.3 Active response of social caring people 248 8 References 9 Pictures To address the drinking water problems of poor women in western arid areas, in 2000, sponsored by the All-China Women’s Federation, Beijing Municipal Government and CCTV, China Women's Development Foundation organized the large public event of "Love for Western Regions • Enjoy Motherhood" and raised social donations of 116 million yuan to set up the special fund of "Love of Land •Water Cellar for Mothers". Based on social donations, with matching fund of the government (1:1), the program of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is designed to address drinking water problems through the construction of hardened cement water cellars. China Women's Development Foundation set up a project management office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" to be responsible for public funds raising nationwide and the approval and supervision of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" across the country. As for the project application and approval, the county women’s federation should first apply for the project, which is then reported to the project management office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" under China Women's Development Foundation after being approved by the provincial, city and district women’s federations. After careful research and verification, the project management office will issue the "Project Investment Plan", the township implementation unit will then prepare the "project implementation plan" and "feasibility study report" and submit them to the project management office for approval. Project funds will be issued after approval and then implemented. In addition, based on one decade of implementation of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", China Women's Development Foundation developed the five-year development plan of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" to expand the project content, and created the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of "1 + 5": one water cellar for mothers, the construction of one solar cooker or digester, one sanitary latrine, one greenhouse of vegetables and fruits, one group of poultry and livestock and one beautiful courtyard. "Water Cellar for Mothers" has greatly improved the living conditions, sanitary conditions and health status of the masses and boosted the economic development of local area. From the perspective of women, with environment improvement as a carrier, this program created a new model of poverty alleviation and is worth learning and promotion.
1 Introduction 238 1.1 About “Water Cellar for Mothers” 238 1.2 Water shortage in West China 238 2 IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS & MAIN PRACTICES 239 2.1 Implementation process 239 2.2 Main practices 3 3 Implementation Effect 5 3.1 Improved the water conditions and living environment of the masses of project areas 5 3.2 Enhanced local people’s awareness of health and hygiene and health conditions 5 3.3 Improved women’s family and social status 5 3.4 Promoted the local rural industrial structure adjustment and increase farmers’ income 6 4 Existing Problems 6 4.1 Lack of necessary purification facilities, no guarantee for water quality of the cellars 6 4.2 Fund shortage, short supply 6 4.3 Inadequate advocacy 7 5 Basic Experience 7 5.1 Strengthen leadership and standardize management 5.2 Keep pace with the times and highlight key points 5.3 Government leadership, social participation 5.4 Highlight public welfare and create public welfare brands 5.5 Increase transparency and improve credibility 246 6 Promotion value 6.1 To serve women, create a new model of poverty alleviation with the improvement of environment as the carrier 6.2 Promote development by improving survival conditions and promote poverty reduction through capacity building 247 6.3 Make innovations to the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of “1 + 5” 247 7 Implementation conditions 7.1 It has become the world’s consensus to improve women’s status and living conditions 7.2 Attention and support of the government and relevant departments 7.3 Active response of social caring people 248 8 References 9 Pictures To address the drinking water problems of poor women in western arid areas, in 2000, sponsored by the All-China Women’s Federation, Beijing Municipal Government and CCTV, China Women's Development Foundation organized the large public event of "Love for Western Regions • Enjoy Motherhood" and raised social donations of 116 million yuan to set up the special fund of "Love of Land •Water Cellar for Mothers". Based on social donations, with matching fund of the government (1:1), the program of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is designed to address drinking water problems through the construction of hardened cement water cellars. China Women's Development Foundation set up a project management office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" to be responsible for public funds raising nationwide and the approval and supervision of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" across the country. As for the project application and approval, the county women’s federation should first apply for the project, which is then reported to the project management office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" under China Women's Development Foundation after being approved by the provincial, city and district women’s federations. After careful research and verification, the project management office will issue the "Project Investment Plan", the township implementation unit will then prepare the "project implementation plan" and "feasibility study report" and submit them to the project management office for approval. Project funds will be issued after approval and then implemented. In addition, based on one decade of implementation of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", China Women's Development Foundation developed the five-year development plan of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" to expand the project content, and created the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of "1 + 5": one water cellar for mothers, the construction of one solar cooker or digester, one sanitary latrine, one greenhouse of vegetables and fruits, one group of poultry and livestock and one beautiful courtyard. "Water Cellar for Mothers" has greatly improved the living conditions, sanitary conditions and health status of the masses and boosted the economic development of local area. From the perspective of women, with environment improvement as a carrier, this program created a new model of poverty alleviation and is worth learning and promotion.

Introduction :

Drought and water shortage is a worldwide problem, especially in Gansu, Ningxia and northern Shaanxi of West China, water shortage has been a serious problem. Many poor families cannot afford the construction of a water cellar, but the crypt easily leaks and cannot meet the water demand of local area. With the labor mobility at the transition period of China, the agricultural production in the western rural areas begins to rely heavily on women and women have become the main labors of the western rural poor arid areas and have to walk back and forth for several kilometers a day to fetch water. With the formulation of the United Nations MDGs, to respond to the Western Development Strategy and the call of All-China Womens Federation for "building a beautiful home in West China with joint efforts of women nationwide" and solve the drinking water problems of the women and masses of western poor arid regions, in 2000, sponsored by the All-China Womens Federation, Beijing Municipal Government and CCTV, China Women's Development Foundation organized the large public event of "Love for Western Regions • Enjoy Motherhood" and raised social donations of 116 million yuan to set up the special fund of "Love of Land •Water Cellar for Mothers" and put it into implementation in 2001. With support of ACWF, the program of "Water Cellar for Mothers" was launched to address the crypt leakage problem through the construction of hardened cement water cellars. Based on the public fund, the government provides the matching funds according to the ratio of 1:1, and the poor provided labor services to promote the project construction in a large area in many regions, benefiting a large number of people. Single project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" requires little investment but can achieve quick effect and can directly improve the masses living conditions, so it is worth learning and promoting.

1.1 About “Water Cellar for Mothers”

Under the leadership of ACWF, with support of China Women’s Development Foundation, the “Water Cellar for Mothers” is a public welfare project to address the drinking water problems of the poor (especially women) in West China. In addition,  based on one decade of implementation of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", China Women's Development Foundation developed the five-year development plan of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" to expand the project content and improve the project quality, and implemented the relevant upgrading project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", creating the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of "1 + 5". In early 2001, ten pilot projects were launched in ten western provinces (autonomous regions). As of the end of 2011, the projects had been implemented in 24 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) nationwide with an investment of more than 300 million yuan of social donations, 125,000 water cellars had been built for mothers and 1400 small centralized water supply projects had been implemented, benefiting nearly 1.8 million people, widely praised by the masses and all circles of society. "Water Cellar for Mothers" was written into the State Councils "White Paper on Rural China's Poverty Reduction" in October 2001, among the Top Ten news on Chinese women at the end of 2001, titled as "China's Top Ten Public Brand" in November 2003 and won "China Charity Award" in November 2005.

1.2 Water shortage in West China

For natural and historical reasons, the western regions of China lack water resources seriously with an annual rainfall of less than 400 mm, only 60% of the national average. "Frequent droughts and crop failure" is a true portrayal of the agricultural production in West China. As a folk song sings: "we go out at midnight to fetch water after crossing many mountains and come back at dusk", indicating the drinking problem of the masses in mountain areas. There is a saying in Yongjing County of Gansu Province: we wash our faces three times a life, respectively at birth, at wedding and for death. According to statistics, the per capita water resource of West China is 15.3% of the national average and 3.7% of the world’s average. In accordance with the information provided by the Gansu Provincial Department of Water Resources, the per capita water resources of Gansu Province is 1077 cubic meters, only a third of the national average, and nearly 1/8 of the world’s average, close to the international boundary of severe water shortage. Drought and water shortage led to harsh environment, bare loess barren and dry rivers, seriously affecting people's survival and development.


Content :

2 IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS & MAIN PRACTICES

As shown in above figure, the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is mainly declared by the grass-roots units and cannot be launched until being approved by the "Water Cellar for Mothers" project management office of China Women's Development Foundation, with financial support from China Women's Development Foundation. Specifically, the county women’s federation should first apply for the project, which is then reported to the project management office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" under China Women's Development Foundation after being approved by the provincial, city and district women’s federations. After careful research and verification, the project management office will issue the "Project Investment Plan", the township implementation unit will then prepare the "project implementation plan" and "feasibility study report" and submit them to the project management office for approval. Project funds will be issued after approval and then implemented. In general, from fund raising to fund use to benefit the masses, six links are covered, namely the China Women’s Development Foundation, the Provincial (autonomous region, municipal) women’s federation, Prefectural (city) Women’s Federation, County Women's Federation and Township Government.

2.2 Main practices

2.2.1 Raise social capital to build water cellars

Many poor families in the western poor regions cannot afford the construction of a water cellar, but the crypt easily leaks and cannot meet the water demand of local area. In view of this, China Women’s Development Foundation called social caring people to donate money for the construction of hardened cement water cellars for impoverished families to enhance the water storage function of water cellars and address the drinking water problems of the poor. China Women’s Development Foundation has done a lot in mobilizing social forces to participate in the implementation of the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”. First, call on movie stars to guide their fans to donate for the project; second, build a platform to facilitate the donation of all circles of society. On the one hand, "Water Cellar for Mothers" created its own website to facilitate its propaganda and timely feed back on the use of funds to ensure the donor's right to know and win social trust. On the other hand, "Water Cellar for Mothers" actively established a partnership with China Everbright Bank and set up a special fund-raising account to facilitate the donations of social organizations and individuals; third, set up models. The official website of "Water Cellar for Mothers" often makes propagandas on the "extraordinary" actions of some ordinary people, such as the donation of poor college students and the elderly’s donation of 1000 yuan in Tianjin, aiming to arouse public sympathy. Fourth, create public service selling point. China has a large poor population in need of help and there are many kinds of social welfare products in reality. It is a problem that must be solved how to stand out from the public welfare projects and win public recognition. The project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is a great success with many selling points such as "mother", "west", "women", "drinking water", "poverty", "children" and "disease", etc.

2.2.2 Promote economic development and environmental protection and carry out the "1 + 5" comprehensive poverty alleviation

At the very beginning, the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" was implemented to solve the drinking problem of the poor and alleviate the pressure on their living. After the project implementation, however, it achieved ripple effects - the improved water supply system provides a basis for the implementation of the biogas, toilet transformation, vegetable greenhouse and livestock breeding of the project village. Thus, on the basis of summarizing the project experience, the program is no longer focusing on water cellar building and has developed the “1+5” overall planning, taking poverty, environment and social gender as the starting points, to address the safe drinking water problem, it takes the poverty, environment and industry development into consideration. Specifically, the “1+5” mode refers to: one water cellar for mothers, the construction of one solar cooker or digester, one sanitary latrine, one greenhouse of vegetables and fruits, one group of poultry and livestock and one beautiful courtyard. Despite the changes in development direction of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", it is clear that environment occupies a very important position in the “1+5” mode, “beautiful courtyard” and “sanitary latrine” are directly related to environment, and “solar cooker or digester” is also environmental friendly. The reason why environment is given such an important position is that only good environment can guarantee a good health status, and only after we have a good health status can we talk about development. Therefore, while implementing the water supply projects, ACWF also actively coordinated agricultural, health and poverty alleviation departments to promote the “5+1” mode through "pilot project construction, stereoscopic poverty alleviation, benefit expansion and overall advancement" to lay a foundation for the sustainable development of the project and the income growth of women.

2.2.3 Simultaneous implementation of health training and "water cellar" project

    

While constructing water cellar projects, the program also expanded the knowledge training with “water, health and development” as the main content. China Women’s Development Foundation made a lot of publicity wall charts, calendars and training manuals, organized experts to carry out participatory training of health education for the grassroots women’s federation cadres and villages’ backbone women in the project area, helped the farmers and women find out the health problems, developed the measures to change bad health habits and help farmers’ self-improvement and mutual supervision for overall development. Through participatory interaction, it improved the masses’ consciousness of the "protection of water resources and environmental health and scientific use of water". Making full use of rural women schools, villagers’ meetings and mass fairs, the local governments issued the project publicity data to expand the coverage of project publicity. According to the evaluation results, more than 90% of the cadres and women representatives of women’s federations at all levels have participated in the training, of which 25% were backbones and activists. The water and environment health-related knowledge training covered more than 85% of the target people in the project area, and over 50 of the local residents formed good health habits. In summary, through participatory hygiene knowledge training, it made up for the defect of single water supply by water conservancy department.

2.2.4 Combination of public funds, local matching funds and villagers' labor services

China has many drinking water projects, which are mainly small projects scattered here and there, requiring huge capital investment. Farmers have limited financial capacity but government investment is far from enough. Through public welfare platform building by the government, the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” raised social donations and, on this basis, applied for matching funds of the local government (1:1) to promote the project implementation. On the other hand, as the beneficiaries, poor farmers also need to make a contribution – they provide free labor services in the project construction. Under the government leadership, participated by the women’s federation and social forces, with labor service inputs of farmers, this new mode for rural drinking water problem addressing has not only solved the financial difficulty, but mobilized huge social resources to get involved in the drinking water problem resolving, and achieved good results.

2.2.5 Whole process supervision on many aspects

The quality of the management of project funds determines the success of the project implementation. To this end, China Women's Development Foundation specially formulated the project funds management approach and issued it to the project provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities). In accordance with the requirements of the project management approach, the provinces, prefectures and counties set up special accounts with earmarked purposes under the management of special personnel. Usually 40% of the project funds are set aside and not issued until the project is proven qualified in the examination and acceptance. The construction materials are purchased by the Material Procurement Team composed of relevant persons of the women’s federations, financial departments and township governments as well as representatives of the beneficiaries. On the other hand, to regulate the construction management, the project adopted "four unified standards": unified technical standard, unified planning and design, unified procurement of raw materials and unified construction. The technical standards are mainly guaranteed by Tsinghua University’s experts and the project quality is under the responsibility of the technical backbones appointed by the county water conservancy bureaus. On this basis, the project management office also developed a rigorous examination and acceptance system and carried out the quality inspection through a variety of ways such as sampling method, household survey, meeting, field inspection and interviews with individuals. To ensure the rational use of funds, China Women's Development Foundation established the National Oversight Committee composed of representatives of the donors and representatives of auditing, notarization and media departments, with Zheng Li, former Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office and Independent Inspector of the State Council as the head. The Oversight Committee is responsible for periodic supervision and inspection of project implementation, and regularly or irregularly announces the project progress publicly through a variety of channels. Accounting firm is responsible for the audit supervision of China Women’s Development Foundation. Subordinate units must accept the supervision of higher authorities, and the project must accept the supervision of the donors, news media and the public, thus forming a complete supervision and management system.

3 Implementation Effect

3.1 Improved the water conditions and living environment of the masses of project areas

Before the project was implemented, it took the farmers, especially women of impoverished arid areas a lot of time to fetch water. After the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” was constructed, they can also drink clean water at home like urban residents. In the past, the sanitary conditions of the kitchens, toilets and courtyards in these areas were very poor, with mosquitoes and flies here and there. After the project implementation, people have a stronger consciousness of environmental protection. The households’ courtyards are clean and full of flowers and grass and the farm tools and firewood are piled orderly. Now, pigs, sheep and other livestock are all in hog pens, the streets and yards are clean and orderly, and great changes have taken place to the village appearance.

3.2 Enhanced local people’s awareness of health and hygiene and health conditions

Due to water shortage, the farmers of some villages mainly drank alkaline water, bitter water and unclean water with too many bacteria and suffered from intestinal infectious diseases and a variety of complications, causing serious injury to the local women and children. The poor environment, coupled with the lack of health knowledge and services, western rural women's physical health status is generally poor, leading to the high incidence of some gynecological diseases. Survey shows that 70% of the rural women suffered from gynecological diseases. The project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" not only solved the drinking water problem of local villagers, but also greatly improved their health status and created conditions for women’s health care. In the past, people shared one basin of water for facing washing and used the water to clothes and feet washing, chickens feeding and farmland irrigation. Some women in their twenties even never took a bath. Now, they can often wash their faces and bathe. The project helped them develop the good habit, reduced the incidence of waterborne diseases, and gradually improved their health status and quality of life.

3.3 Improved women’s family and social status

Heavy water-fetching work and housework was once the main task of the women living in arid areas. As they could not directly create material wealth, women were regarded as “idlers” and their husbands were usually the family heads. After the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" was implemented, the women no longer need to fetch water and spend more time on children’s education and agricultural production technology learning. Also, they begin to sign the project and engage in planting and breeding to increase the income of their families, and have a higher position in the family. In the production activities, their talent was fully displayed, and some women were even elected as the village heads or party secretaries and played an important role in lifting the masses out of poverty. They even begin to participate in social activities. In short, with the implementation of the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", women have got time to study and engage in production, have stronger ability to participate in development and have a higher social status.

3.4 Promoted the local rural industrial structure adjustment and increase farmers’ income

With “Water Cellars for Mothers”, the villagers no longer need to get up early to fetch water and many labors have been liberated. Many rural women begin to engage in “yard economy”, planting and breeding industry, and the villagers have higher income. For example, after the project was implemented in Dingtang Town of Tongxin County, the villagers set up one hundred greenhouses and began to develop animal husbandry, earning more income. In a few project villages of Cuomei County in Tibet, most labors become migrant workers in low season and the number of migrant workers is now three or four times that of the previous year. In accordance with the standard of one additional labor per household, two months of additional migrant work time and 50 yuan a working day, the project increased the farmers’ income by 3000 yuan per household per year.

4 Existing Problems

4.1 Lack of necessary purification facilities, no guarantee for water quality of the cellars

The water cellars built in recent years are all equipped with water purification facilities, but the old water cellars are not equipped with water purification facilities. Many farmers blocked the junction of the settling basins and cellars with straw to filter rainwater debris. But this approach is too primitive and cannot meet the requirements for water quality obviously. Although the villagers regularly clean the water cellars and clean the yard before rainwater collection, it is unclear whether the rainwater after simple filtration is up to the national "drinking water health standard". Moreover, due to the lack of follow-up management and services, the purification equipment is not timely renewed and the newly built water cellars equipped with water purification facilities are not timely repaired in the event of failure. When they cannot be used for some problems, the villagers will not do anything to deal with it and the water purification process is interrupted. Therefore, in general, although the water cellars have resolved the water collection problem of the poor, it cannot guarantee the quality of water. In addition, there are many varieties in rainwater collection by water cellars. When there is little rainwater, the water cellars can hardly play a role. The western regions lack water seriously, so the water cellars’ role depends on weather to a large extent.

4.2 Fund shortage, short supply

For the project “Water Cellar for Mothers”, the biggest difficulty is now fund shortage. By building public welfare platform, China Women’s Development Foundation got media’s support and social donations. Plus the government’s matching funds and the funds raised by the masses, the project was then successfully implemented. As of the end of 2009, the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” had invested nearly 400 million yuan in 23 western provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and constructed nearly 120,000 water cellars and more than 1300 small water supply projects, benefiting 1.6 million people. According to the statistics of water conservancy departments, however, there are still 100 million people in China with drinking water difficulty. To address the drinking water problem of these 100 million, we need more financial support. China Women’s Development Foundation has opened up various donation channels, but they channels are still not enough as a huge amount of funds is needed. Liu Jingda, head of Huangba Village in Pan County of Guizhou Province said: “At least 300 more water cellars need to be built in our village as 150 rural households still do not have water cellars now.” 

4.3 Inadequate advocacy

In order to get a steady stream of donation funds from society, ACWF attaches great importance to propaganda work, and even uses all the funds raised by China Women’s Development Foundation in propaganda, education and training. In fact, ACWF’s large-scale propaganda achieved good results and people can see its publicity materials and initial written proposals of water cellars for mothers at street, commercial plazas and subway stations. This propaganda mode has brought about a large sum of donation funds for the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”. While attaching importance to the propagandas on donation objects, however, ACWF ignores the publicity among the poor. Many people do not understand the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” so well, and some beneficiaries of the project even know less about the project than ordinary people. On the other hand, the poor provides labor services for the project, and some even invested funds in the project. Thus, if relevant information is not announced clearly and publicly, the villagers will probably doubt the effectiveness of the project.

5 Basic Experience

5.1 Strengthen leadership and standardize management

The project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” was implemented in many areas with a large geography span, increasing difficulty in project management. In order to make good use of the project funds, ACWF set up the leading group for the management of the project of “Love of Land·Water Cellar for Mothers”. Vice Chairman of NPC and ACWF Chairman Gu Xiulian acts as the director. The Leading Group is responsible for the project’s organization and leadership, programmatic document approval, listens to the reports on project implementation, inspection, supervision, assessment and acceptance and gives guidance on the work. China Women’s Development Foundation set up the project management office and designated full-time personnel to implement the decisions made by the leading group, formulated the “project management approach” and other public management systems, reviewed the “project declaration” and “project implementation plan”, submitted the “project investment proposal”, guided the relevant work of the provincial women’s federations, established an electronic database and archives on the project management, developed planning for promotional activities, formulated the financing plan, strengthened the coordination with donors, strived social fund support, and is responsible for the daily affairs of other project management.

5.2 Keep pace with the times and highlight key points

Based on the social development situation, the project was first designed to address the drinking water safety problem, then focused on drinking water problem addressing, taking poverty alleviation, environmental improvement and health education into overall consideration, and its contents have been constantly enriched in the process of development. At the very beginning, it was a simple decentralized water supply project. Then, it became water cellar project for rural households and small centralized water supply project with village as the unit, with measure adjustment based on actual situation. The water cellar projects were later equipped with water purification equipment. In the process of project design and construction, slow filtration and disinfection were implemented for the centralized water supply. In cooperation with PepsiCo Foundation, it introduced international projects’ experience and methods to make innovations to the project implementation mode. On the basis of summarizing the previous experience, it has developed the new mode of “1+5” for poverty alleviation – focusing on resolving drinking water safety problem, taking poverty alleviation, environmental improvement and health education into consideration.

5.3 Government leadership, social participation 

Relying on women's organizations at all levels, under the leadership of the local party committees and governments, China Women’s Development Foundation mobilized all circles of society to work closely with one another and jointly promote the advancement of work, effectively guaranteeing the successful implementation of the project. After a long-term trial cooperation, in 2009, the Ministry of Water Resources officially cooperated with China Women’s Development Foundation. With “Water Cellar for Mothers” as the platform, the Ministry of Water Resources invested funds and technologies to build water cellars or plants in the western regions, and the funds raised by China Women’s Development Foundation were mainly used for propaganda, education and training. Through the propaganda of ACWF, many social forces joined the rescue action. According to Qin Guoying, the donation office of "Water Cellar for Mothers" receives 1000-10000 yuan of donations every year. Since 2001, public funds account for 15%-20% of the total raised funds, showing an uptrend.

5.4 Highlight public welfare and create public welfare brands

  The success of “Water Cellar for Mothers” is, to some extent, a result of the good project design. Starting from the addressing the drinking water problem of poor women (mothers) in impoverished regions, it announced publicly the situation of water shortage in the western poor areas through the mass media to arouse the sense of social responsibility of the public and responsible organizations. The project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is a great success with many selling points such as "mother", "west", "women", "drinking water", "poverty", "children" and "disease", arousing public attention. Meanwhile, the investment for each water cellar is only 1000 yuan, but the result (water cellar) is visible and the effect is obvious. So it is easy for the donors to make comments, easy to get people’s support and donation, and easy to be trusted by the donors. This project is characterized by good selling points, a small amount of investment, visible results and quick effect. Currently, it is almost as famous as the Project Hope.

5.5 Increase transparency and improve credibility

At the inception, Chairman Chen Muhua of China Women’s Development Foundation put forward clear requirements on the project funds: transparent fund-raising, transparent funding, transparent use and transparent appreciation. Comrade Mo Wenxiu, Vice Chairman of ACWF and the project designer and organizer, Comrade Qin Guoying, Director of the “Water Cellar for Mothers” Project Office and some other leaders visited almost all the project provinces to give guidance on the project implementation. On the other hand, the official website of “Water Cellar for Mothers” will timely issue information on the project fund, including fund raising and fund use, and made explanation on some special circumstances to guarantee the donor’s right to know. For inquiries, people can check the fund use situation from the column of “inquiry of donors” at the website. In such a way, it strives to make the project transparent to the public to avoid doubts of donors.

6 Promotion value

6.1 To serve women, create a new model of poverty alleviation with the improvement of environment as the carrier

Due to droughts, many male labors went out to work in other regions and women were left behind to bear the heavy burden of living – looking after the elderly and children, farming, etc. Highlighting poor women, through household publicity, experts’ guidance and technical training, the program of "Water Cellar for Mothers" guided women to participate in the whole process of the project implementation for improvement and creation. Due to water shortage, the health conditions in the western rural areas are generally poor and some gynecological disease incidence is fairly high. To this end, with the improvement of environment as the carrier, this program helped the women find out the health problems in local area and develop measures to change the bad health habits so as to improve themselves in life and production activities. This measure greatly improved the health status of poor women, laying a solid foundation for further development.

6.2 Promote development by improving survival conditions and promote poverty reduction through capacity building

Water is the source of life. Water shortage in China's western region has a direct impact on local people's survival. "The root cause of the poverty of rural women in the western regions is water shortage" – this is the conclusion drawn after the investigation of ACWF. In fact, illness, disabilities and poverty due to water have become a vicious circle in the western poor arid areas. The project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" precisely fully reflected the respect for people’s right to live and the care for life, solved the drinking water problem of many poverty-stricken people and improved their living conditions. Of course, the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" is also commendable that while addressing the survival problem of the poor, taking into consideration the development of the beneficiaries, it promoted development by addressing survival problem and improved the welfare of the poor to the largest extent. First, in addition to solving the problem of drinking water and domestic water, the water cellar has also many positive externalities - increasing domestic water, creating conditions for the local residents to use sanitary wastewater in planting and breeding, increasing family income by developing sideline industries and thereby improving the living conditions. Later, the “1+5” mode developed on the basis of "Water Cellar for Mothers" directly make “development” the direction of its efforts. On the other hand, the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers" attaches importance to the knowledge training and skills training of women. China Women's Development Foundation gave several lectures on "water, health and development", made a lot of publicity wall charts, calendars and training manuals, organized experts to carry out participatory training of health education for the grassroots women’s federation cadres and villages’ backbone women in the project area, and strived to enhance women’s ability for self-development by knowledge and skills training.

6.3 Make innovations to the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction mode of “1 + 5”

The comprehensive poverty alleviation mode of “1+5” was created based on summarizing the experience of the practice of “Water Cellar for Mothers” of China Women’s Development Foundation in early stage. This project was initially designed to resolve the drinking water problems of poor arid areas and enhance the water storage capacity of local residents through building hardened cement rainwater cellars. The construction of cement water cellars has not only effectively resolved the drinking water difficulties of local residents, but played a positive role in improving local health conditions, developing family economy and improving the local environment. On the basis of the former project, therefore, China Women’s Development Foundation expanded the project contents of “Water Cellar for Mothers”, created the comprehensive poverty alleviation mode of “1+5”: one water cellar for mothers, the construction of one solar cooker or digester, one sanitary latrine, one greenhouse of vegetables and fruits, one group of poultry and livestock and one beautiful courtyard. This poverty alleviation mode helps, characterized by sustainable development, enhance the self-development capacity of local residents and has significant social benefits.

7 Implementation conditions

7.1 It has become the world’s consensus to improve women’s status and living conditions

    The Fourth World Conference on Women convened in Beijing in 1995 adopted the "Beijing Declaration" and "Program of Action" to enhance the status of global women. These two documents reflect the issues of common concern of women in different countries, set the common goals on enhancing womens status of various countries and the international community at the end of this century and the beginning of the next century, and are important guidelines for the advancement of global women's career. At the UN Summit Conference held in September 2000, all the 191 UN member states signed the "United Nations Millennium Declaration", which determines the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Among the eight Millennium Development Goals, two are on womens issues, namely the third –"promoting gender equality and empowering women" and the fifth - "improving maternal health".

7.2 Attention and support of the government and relevant departments

The design and implementation of the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” is inseparable from the attention and support of the government and relevant departments. With the formulation of the United Nations MDGs, to respond to the Western Development Strategy and the call of All-China Women’s Federation for "building a beautiful home in West China with joint efforts of women nationwide" and solve the drinking water problems of the women and masses of western poor arid regions, in 2000, sponsored by the All-China Women’s Federation, Beijing Municipal Government and CCTV, China Women's Development Foundation organized the large public event of "Love for Western Regions • Enjoy Motherhood", which was presided over by famous hosts Yang Lan and Ni Ping of CCTV, and raised social donations of 116 million yuan to set up the special fund of "Love of Land •Water Cellar for Mothers". In 2001, ACWF and the Ministry of Water Resources jointly issued the document to officially set up the "Water Cellar for Mothers" project fund and launched the project of "Water Cellar for Mothers", which covers 20 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities), involving all levels of women’s federations.

7.3 Active response of social caring people

The project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” was designed to serve the poor women (mothers) of impoverished regions, aroused the public’s sense of social responsibility, and was widely supported by all circles of society. First of all, many movie, TV, music and sports stars, including those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan joined the charity party. During the process of the party, the hotline was always busy and many caring people at home and abroad all said they’d like to donate. At the party, many audiences donated. Later, more individuals and social organization joined the action. Famous singer Wu Chunyan donated 380,000 yuan for the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers”. China Everbright Bank participated in the project of “Water Cellar for Mothers” sponsored by ACWF and China Women’s Development Foundation in 2005 and has donated more than 15 million yuan so far for the program. Students of Beijing University of Technology donated 3132.80 yuan for this program as well.

 8 References

1. “Water Cellar for Mothers  Mutual Promotion of Development and Innovation, Case Series of Chinas Innovations to Social Poverty Alleviation (2012), Publishing House of Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C, 2013.

2. Wu Chunyan Raises Money to Donate for Water Cellar for Mothers, Official Website of Water Cellar for Mothers.

3. The China Everbright Bank (CEB) Helps Thousands of Families - the CEB Continues to Increase Support for Water Cellar for Mothers Project”, Official Website of Water Cellar for Mothers.

4. Students of Beijing University of Technology Donate for Water Cellar for Mothers Project, Official Website of Water Cellar for Mothers.

5. Study of Economic & Social Benefits of Water Cellar for Mothers Project, Journal of Hehai University, 2003, No.1.

6. Analysis & Evaluation of the Internal Control on ‘Land of Love • Water Cellar for Mothers’ Project, Journal of China Womens University, 2003, No.5.

7. Study of the Current Operation Status of the Project of ‘Land of Love • Water Cellar for Mothers’”, Gansu Agriculture, 2013, No.15.

8. Discussion of ‘Water Cellar for Mothers’ & the Development of Western Poor Rural Women, Journal of Hehai University, 2003 No.1.

9. “Water Cellar for Mothers: Clear Spring in Drought, Chuxiong Daily, June 16th, 2010.

10. Rains on the Road of Happiness, Ningxia Daily, Dec 23th, 2010.

11. “‘Water Cellar for Mothers’ Promotes the Development of Courtyard Economy, Lanzhou Daily, July 23th, 2011.

12. 12 Years of Evolution of ‘Water Cellar for Mothers’”, Huaxia Daily, May 21th, 2012.

13. Building ‘Water Cellar for Mothers’ Makes Life Better, Guangming Daily, Sept 23th, 2012.

14. “‘Love for West China, Enjoy Mothers Love Shows Impressing Love of People, China News.

15.  For Thirsty Mothers, Friend of Farmers, 2003, No.18.

16.  For Smiles of Mothers, China Water Resources News, March 23th, 2007.

17. For Survival & Development of Mothers, Ren Min Zheng Xie Bao, Sept 13th, 2012.

18.  Small Water Cellars, Good Benefits, Guangming Daily, January 22th, 2005   

 9 Pictures




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