Implement Community-based Disaster Management - Story of Anlejie Village in Wuliang Mountain, Yunnan
- poverty reduction approaches
- endogenous poverty alleviation
- vulnerable groups
- targeted poverty alleviation components
- supporting policies
Implement Community-based Disaster Management - Story of Anlejie Village in Wuliang Mountain, Yunnan
Title : Implement Community-based Disaster Management - Story of Anlejie Village in Wuliang Mountain, Yunnan
Commencement Date : Wed Jan 01 2003--Sat Dec 31 2005
Implementing Agencies : Oxfam
Support Organizations :
Actuator : Oxfam
Members of The :
CASE PROVIDER :
Sources of Funds :
Catalogue and Index :
Abstract Summary :
As a small village in Manwan of Jingdong County in Yunnan Province, Anlejie Village is prone to landslides in rainy season, which has been an important hidden risk facing the village’s development. The farmers can only avoid the disasters through relocation, seriously affecting their daily life. After 2003, jointly with local government, Oxfam implemented the community-based disaster relief projects and achieved good results. Taking the story of Oxfam and Anlejie Village as an example, this paper attempts to introduce the significance of community-based disaster management to poverty alleviation and development.
This article is divided into four parts. The first part presents the background and project introduction, covering project design solution and the project management system; the second part describes the project implementation process and results; the third party analyzes problems in the project and the last part summarizes the project experience and its promotion value.
1.1 Background of Oxfam
Oxfam was initially founded in 1976 by a number of volunteers, mainly raising funds for poverty relief work nationwide through opening second-hand goods shops. Oxfam’s actions in the early stage in the 970s and 1980s included calling for fair treatment of the Vietnamese boat people / refugees in Hong Kong and its assistance for the Ethiopian victims of a famine in 1984. Currently, Oxfam has projects in 70 counties (regions) across the world.
Oxfam’s projects in China are under the overall management of the headquarters to ensure the projects are in line with the actual situation of China and effectively implemented.
Since 1987, Oxfam has launched its anti-poverty work and disaster prevention and relief work in China, including integrated rural development, income-generating activities, small infrastructure construction, health services, education, capacity building and policy initiatives. As of March 2013, Oxfam had implemented disaster relief and poverty alleviation work in 29 provinces and municipalities across China with a total investment of nearly 900 million yuan, benefiting the a large number of poverty-stricken farmers, minority people, women, children, migrant workers and HIV infected people of remote mountain areas.
In 1992, Oxfam set up its first project implementation agency in Kunming, except the one in Hong Kong, then successively set up the project office in Beijing, Guiyang, Lanzhou and Chengdu, enriched the activity contents and expanded the activity scale. Mainland China is the key target of Oxfam’s work and more than half of Oxfam’s projects are in China now, mainly in Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Gansu, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Beijing. To meet the local needs and respond to the challenge, in 2004, Oxfam China Office was officially set up to be responsible for the management of Oxfam’s projects in China.
Oxfam hopes its poverty alleviation and development and disaster prevention and relief work in Mainland China will contribute to the new rural construction and the construction of a harmonious society.
Over the past two decades, Oxfam’s anti-poverty work in China has been supported and affirmed by the government departments, which is also the important guarantee for its successful poverty alleviation and development work. In 2001, Oxfam was affirmed by the White Paper on China's Rural Poverty Alleviation and Development issued by LGOP. In 2003, it won the annual poverty alleviation award of “Public Benefits” issued by "South Reviews". In 2004, Oxfam’s Director-General Zhuang Chengyou won the hardwork award of China's first Poverty Eradication Award.
1.2 Basic information of Anlejie Village
Anlejie Village is located on a slope at the bank of Lancang River, west to Wuliang Mountain Area of Yunnan Province, and has a history of more than 200 years. Composed of Jiezi Villager Team and Jiehou Villager Team, it has 136 households and 567 people, of which 367 are Yi people, and the villagers’ main sources of income are crop production, sugarcane planting and migrant work. As the location of Anle Commune, Anlejie Village is the political, economic and cultural center of Manwan Town.
As Anlejie Village is located at a slope that is always sliding slowly at the superficial layer, the farmers’ life, housing, property and land safety has been seriously threatened by landslide hazards. The slope began to slide in 1973 and has slided slowly for more than three decades so far. A total of more than 50 houses’ walls and groundwork have been shattered, and 32 households were recorded. From 1973 to 2001, over 20 villagers were relocated due to house damage in landslides, and the houses of two families after relocation were damaged again, and the families need to be relocated for the second time. Since 1986, the landslides have been aggravated, and the landslide depth reached 30 cm in 2002, seriously threatening the safety of local residents. In 1985, the local township government, post office, grain management office and supply and marketing cooperatives were relocated, leaving behind the villagers. The prosperous Anlejie Village in the past is deserted now.
2 Project design solution
2.1 Project Introduction
The name "Anle Village" (Anle means peaceful) reminds people of a peaceful scene where the villagers all live and work in peach and contentment. In the past, however, the villagers here used to live in panic due to landslide hazards in rainy season. At that time, the only way to address the problem was to escape to a safe place in case of a landslide. The so-called safe place is anywhere except their home. Due to the landslides, the villagers were relocated from time to time, and were always ready to move, living in panic.
After 2003, jointly with local government, Oxfam implemented the community-based disaster relief projects, organized afforestation, constructed drainage channels and dams to restrict landslides, and provided villagers with relevant technical and disaster management trainings to enhance their awareness of disaster prevention and enhance their enthusiasm for participating in disaster prevention and management. After that, the villagers no longer need to worry about landslides and begin to live in peace.
2.2 Project objectives
Oxfam is an independent development and humanitarian aid organization devoted to the eradication of poverty and poverty-related injustice. Without race, sex, religious and political boundaries, it cooperates with government departments, all circles of society and the poor to address poverty problem and make the poor feel they are respected and cared. "Helping people who help themselves to fight against poverty" is Oxfam's aim and objective. Anlejie Village is a poor village, and the natural disasters in rainy season restrict its development, seriously affecting the farmers’ living and the village’s future. Disaster management has become the joinpoint of Oxfam Hong Kong and Anlejie Village. Oxfam’s community-based disaster management has not only addressed the safety problem restricting village development, but also guarantees the autonomy of the village, achieving good results.
3 Project management system
Crossing the race, sex, religious and political boundaries, Oxfam strives to eradicate poverty jointly with the poor. It is an important way to eliminate the root cause of poverty to give the poor equal resources and development opportunity. "Helping people who help themselves" is Oxfam's tenet, and "power-oriented" is Oxfam's basic working method. We believe that everyone is entitled to be respected and loved and has the fundamental right to get food, house, job, education and medical care, so we must build a more equitable world in continuous development. Oxfam is concerned about the following six basic rights: sustainable livelihood, access to basic social services, protection of life safety, the right for their opinions to be valued, gender equality, diversified rights as well as being responsible citizens of the world.
Jointly with its partners, Oxfam implements quality projects and carries out poverty reduction, development and humanitarian work. Oxfam treasures its partnership and the partners’ needs, understands the partners’ difficulties and hopes to make contributions to poverty reduction jointly with its partners to achieve China’s strategic objectives.
Oxfam partners refer to the units or individuals that receive financial aid or non-financial support of Oxfam and participate in specific project activities, mainly including: government departments or research institutions, quasi-NOGs, social groups or mass organizations, local NGOs and so on. The partners of Oxfam must accept Oxfam’s poverty alleviation and development concepts and practices and have the ability for transparent and constructive project construction and accountability.
Oxfam takes the following factors into considerations in project selection: Whether the project sites help achieve the strategic objectives of Chinese projects; whether the project areas are key poor counties (towns), whether the income level is below the poverty line, whether the project areas are concentrated with the beneficiaries, whether the masses the community have the wish to develop, whether the project will directly benefit the masses of the community and play a demonstration role, whether the local government and masses of the project areas support the project, whether there are any other agencies involved in the work and whether the resource input is repeated or not. Oxfam’s key work areas include Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan and Beijing.
3.2 Financial requirements
As a relief and development agency accepting public donations, Oxfam implements strict financial management and audit system to improve public accountability. Oxfam hopes its partners will respect its principles and practices in the process of project construction to jointly enhance Oxfam’s reputation. Oxfam’s principles for financial management of the project are as follows:
Being frugal to benefit more poor people; the budget should correspond with the project activities; budget criteria, unit price and formular should be clarified; objective calculation of the workload of project work team, rational suggestions on the staff’s salary standard, and positive release of other r patrons’ funding for Oxfam-funded projects or staff.
Fund use based on the actual needs within budget; recording faithfully the financial revenue and expenditure; use change should be approved in written by Oxfam; the improvement of the internal financial approval system, and financial disclosure to accept supervision.
Using the same format as that of the project budget to submit financial report to Oxfam on time; ensuring that the contents of the financial report are real, complete and accurate; complete preservation of the original bills and records of the projects, cooperating with Oxfam’s auditors in financial audit work of the project; and timely refunding surplus funds of the project.
The project’s financial personnel should have a nationally recognized qualification. Money of public accounts cannot be transferred to personal accounts. The procurement of anything with unit price of more than 2000 yuan must be based on at least three quotes and all the quote data should be well kept, all expenditures must be supported with relevant documents and bills. When official invoices cannot be provided for special reasons, receipt or IOUs can be accepted but the reasons must be clarified with signatures of the responsible person and voucher. Project management fee should be calculated based on the actual amount of project funds rather than the total budget. The partners cannot require the staff to donate their salary or subsidy; when partners use their own properties to support the project, they cannot charge rent or royalties.
3.3Project cycle management
The longest period of Oxfam project is three years. As the funds of Oxfam are mainly donations of Hong Kong people, after Oxfam signs a project agreement with its partner, Oxfam is only liable for the project funding in the first year, and only assume moral responsibility for the funding one year later.
In accordance with the provisions of the project agreement, after confirming its partners have completed relevant work, Oxfam will transfer the project fund to the bank account designated by the agreement. If the partners need to get the project funds before a predetermined date, they must submit a written application to Oxfam and will not be allowed to get the project funds until being approved by Oxfam.
After the following work is done, the project is completed: All planned activities have been completed (or not to be implemented by mutual agreement); all project grants or r refunds have been handled properly; Oxfam has received and accepted all the work reports and financial reports; the audit report has been prepared, and all the follow-up actions have been completed.
For certain types of projects, Oxfam will issue a "letter on project completion" to its partners and clearly state that the jural relationship between Oxfam and its partners has been ended.
4 PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
4.1 Disaster occurrence: Causes
Based on the field research of experienced professional consultants and the villagers, the Oxfam Project Team reviewed the disaster history of Anlejie Village, jointly analyzed the reasons and found five major causes of the landslides of this village:
In the development and construction of highroads, no decompression measures were adopted for highway drainage, resulting in floods, and the floods washed the ditches of the villages, forming a deep free face, resulting in lots of water penetration in the village and finally leading to landslides and house damage; a lot of woods are felled for construction and farmers’ living, resulting in the reduction of forest cover; population growth, deforestation and land reclamation resulted in soil erosion. When the household responsibility system was implemented in 1982, the village had only 380 mu of arable land. Now, it has 522 mu of arable land, with a land reclamation area of nearly 150 mu. Housing projects are not equipped with public drainage system, leading to the outflow of eaves water and domestic water. The villagers did not have a unified planning for house building. When the rural households’ homes are damaged by landslides, they’ll move to the mountain area and rebuild houses, not taking into account the drainage system. Meanwhile, many woods have been felled and the former forest has become arable land now, expanding the coverage of landslides. Population density, building concentration, banana and surgarcrane planting on the mountain slopes also increased the situation of landslides. The relevant parties decided to design the project on this basis and make intervention to the disaster management. In fact, before Oxfam came, the local community once made a lot of efforts but made little achievement. The story twists and turns.
4.2 Disaster response: passive community
Fearing a potential landslide will become a real disaster, the villagers once selected representatives to report the disaster situation to the township and county governments and ask for help. In 2002, due to heavy rains, many regions of Yunnan were hit by floods, debris flows and landslides. The farmers of Anlejie Village selected representatives to report the disaster situation to the township and county governments, and the county and township government leaders visited the village but did not find any solution. Looking at the shattered houses, the leaders said that we must be careful next time and stay at home when it rains. The government has its difficulties. There are more than 120 regions hit by landslides in the county, but the relocation program can only be implemented year by year as planned, and priorities must be given to the seriously affected regions.
Thus, the villagers turned to the relevant departments for solutions, but achieved no results. They turned to the road maintenance office for help, but were told that this highroad was a national way, not under the management of local government, and the road maintenance office is not an administration department. The villagers could only fill the loopholes themselves. In order to protect the road surface, after the villagers left, the road maintenance workers opened up the caves. The villagers then sealed it with cement, but the flood then hit their neighbor – Daluo Villager Team.
The local government also attempted to do something for the villagers, reported the disaster situation to higher authorities, organized relevant persons to monitor the landslide situation, and evacuated the masses immediately when a disaster occurred. The Villager Team heads also organized the farmers to dig ditches and carry out dredging or other related work to prevent disasters, but the effect was not obvious, and some people moved away the stones of sediment storage dams for house building or other purposes. In rainy seasons, the farmers would strive to drain away the water from their own houses or land and did not take a hand in other households’ water drainage, lacking unified actions. After the household responsibility system was implemented, people were not so concerned about public affairs. In 2007, the project team carried out a field survey in the community, analyzed the community capacity and vulnerability, completed the interviews with relevant individuals and villager groups, prepared to report the situation to the community and held a mass meeting participated by more than 60 people. This is pretty good. It is said that in the past, usually only 20-30 people attended the mass meeting every time.
With the outflow of a large number of rural labors, women and elderly people became the main victims of the disasters in Anlejie Village. With only a small land area, many young and middle-aged people, especially men went out to work in other regions, leaving the elderly, women and children behind at home. In rainy days, they could only stay at home. When dangers came, they immediately rushed out to passively respond to the disaster.
4.3 Turning point of disaster prevention: NGO’s involvement
Through careful research and in-depth analysis, Oxfam Project Team found Jiezi Jiehou Group’s potential disasters are realistic and very urgent. The villagers and local government were both active in the disaster management. Based on the field survey of the technical consultant, the Project Team believed that from the perspective of technology and management costs, the disaster prevention should be feasible. Therefore, the Project Team proposed to carry out the community-based landslide control in Jiezi Jiehou Villager Group of Anlejie Village to explore the path of community-based disaster management. In March 2003, Phase I project of the community-based landslide control in Anle Community was launched.
In the project design, on the one hand, it combined engineering measures with biological measures for drainage and soil fixation to alleviate or curb the sliding trend of the mountains. On the other hand, with project as the carrier, more importantly, it allowed the villagers to participate in the project analysis and evaluation, project design, implementation and management, and necessary training on disaster management to promote the community’s self-management, cultivate the disaster management consciousness of the local government and villagers, reduce the vulnerability of the environment, and thus gradually enhance the capacity of the community to resist disasters. In addition, combined with the measures of returning farmland to forest and ecological restoration, it organized shellac and mulberry planting to ensure that the villagers’ income would not be reduced despite a decline in their arable land area. In such a way, it attended to enhance the villagers’ economic strength to withstand disasters.
As an external force, through community-based disaster management, the project made the villagers the decision-makers and project executors, stressed the trust and respect for local residents’ knowledge, experience and ability, and allowed the villagers to make decision in the project construction. The community-based disaster management is not restricted to the completion of a specific project, but aims at enhancing the capacity and reducing the vulnerability of the communities in a long run. Furthermore, it attempted to integrate the resources of the local governments and relevant technical departments and make these departments the project’s supporters and service providers, and established a systematic response mechanism supported by the government and technical departments with villagers as the main body. As a NGO, Oxfam provided support for the government and communities for the implementation of the community-based participatory approach.
4.4 Disaster prevention results: visible changes
"In other places, people run to home when it rains. In Anlejie Village, however, we rush out when it rains. Oxfam turned my three-decade dream into reality. Now, it is very good. I can feel assured in speed at night", said Li Zenghui, a woman in her sixties. Other villagers also said: We were worried when it rained in the past even if we worked outside. Now, we feel assured.
Through the hardware construction of the project, landslides have been curbed to some extent. In 2006, the ground displacement was only 2 cm according to the instrument measurement, which could not be found by naked eyes. Villagers’ living environment was significantly improved. Through participating in the project supervision, management and implementation, the villagers also changed significantly and had strong cohesion.
Before the project construction, only 20-30 households would attend the villagers’ meeting. Now, no matter how busy they are, each household will send at least one representative to take part in the meeting, and many meetings are held by the community’s disaster management team, not presided or participated by government department or other agencies.
"This project got farmers together in our village. Since the household responsibility system was implemented, people are no longer concerned about public affairs and all devoted to their own development, and sometimes even do something to harm others and benefit themselves, damaging the public interests and safety. "Through the implementation of the project, the villagers believe that this project is their own affair, the disaster management team did not encounter much resistance in its coordination work, and the masses begin to accept the team members", said Wen Dengrong, who is a member of the disaster management team in his sixties.
The Anlejie Community Disaster Management Team provided a platform for the villagers to participate in the project. In initial stage of the project, the Disaster Management Team organized the villagers to participate in decision-making. In the process of the project construction, the villagers got involved in the project coordination and quality monitoring through the Disaster Management Team. In the late stage, the Disaster Management Team organized the farmers to talk about the project’s follow-up management approaches and the management of some other community affairs related to disasters. As a result, the individual disaster consciousness of Anlejie Village became the overall conscious awareness and action of the village, and the relevant binding village regulations were developed based on the discussion of the farmers.
The village regulations cover not only the protection disaster prevention facilities and the afforestation, but also the care for children and the elderly as well as environmental protection. After that, great changes have taken place to the village’s appearance. Anlejie Village is now equipped with broaden clean roads. Some villagers even use their own stones and buy cement to support the disaster prevention project construction. Slogans of protection and the name of responsible person are seen on each disaster prevention facility. When the project needed to occupy some forest area or farmland, people were also willing to make a little sacrifice. Volunteer labor input rate reached 80%. Some people who did not participate in public work for a dozen years also took part in the project construction this time, and public spirit came back to the community.
5 Implementation Effect
5.1 Solved safety risks to guarantee village development
Disaster management has not only brought a sense of security to the village, but also indirectly laid a foundation for the community’s development. Since the landslides in the 1970s, some farmers have been relocated for two or three times and spent all their savings on house reconstruction, and some even had debts. Some rural households had not been relocated repeatedly and had some savings, but they dared not rebuild houses due to the hidden danger of landslides. Disaster has become a stumbling block of development.
After the renovation, nowadays, the villagers live in peace. They said: "The house does not need to be demolished, saving our money indirectly. We can use this money to do what we wanted to do but could not do in the past." The villagers now use their savings to build houses and begin to feel at ease to engage in production.
In fact, disaster management is not a windfall for community development. At the initial stage of the project design, we combined disaster management with comprehensive development, aiming to change income sources, enhance the villagers’ capacity and reduce their vulnerability in the face of disaster.
The income sources of Anlejie Village include the planting of sugar cane and grain and the growing of banana as feed. After the project was launched, through combining biological and engineering measures, the village reduced some arable land for afforestation and prohibited the planting of banana and sugar cane. In order not to reduce income, the villagers chose to plant Malang trees and mulberry trees that can not only conserve water and soil but also achieve economic benefits. Each mu of mulberry trees can generate income of 1000 yuan or so and each Malang tree can be sold at the price of 3-8 yuan. Around the ditches, farmers can plant bambusa textile and bamboo shoots that can not only be used as feed but also help conserve water and soil.
After the project construction, the five-member family of the villager Song Shifen – a member of the Disaster Management Team can earn about 11,000 yuan per year: 3000 yuan from pig breeding, 3000 yuan from silkworm breeding, and 5000 yuan was her husband’s migrant work income in low seasons. Her two sons’ expenditures rely on pig and silkworm breeding. In the past, people worried about disasters and the men did not dare to work outside the village. Now, they can feel at ease to go out to work in non-local areas.
5.2 Empowered the people and enhanced the status of women
As most men in the village went out to work and the women had to undertake the production and household duties, and had to respond to possible disasters, so they accumulated rich experience and knowledge. In the selection of members of disaster management team, women’s participation was proposed as a condition, and then two women were elected as members of the team. In the project construction process, they actively got in with a strong sense of participation and spoke without reserve. At the beginning, Song Shifen seldom spoke at the meeting. Through participating in the supervision in turn, she often speaks at the meeting now. Oxfam held the participatory disaster management training with four participants from Anlejie Village. They seized the opportunity, after arranging the housework, devoted to learning new knowledge and were active in delivering speeches at meeting, becoming female pioneers of the village. It is an indispensable important element of the Oxfam’s project to improve gender awareness of the community and strengthen women’s ability to participate in decision making through the project implementation.
5.3 More civilized rural customs
In 2005, when the migrant workers came back home and saw the great changes to the village and local farmers, they were deeply moved and willing to make a contribution to the construction of their home village. They donated some money for the village to set up a small cultural square equipped with a monument to record the development history of Anlejie. In the past, the villagers could only hold meetings under the eaves of Jieshang Villagers Center. Now, they can carry out a variety of activities at the spacious square.
Since 2005, the villagers has carried out annual traditional sports meeting in Spring Festival every year and even the elderly in their sixties or seventies also take part in the activities. The villager has organized many public activities, including singing and dancing, and written disaster management into the songs. Before the Spring Festival, they will post ads to welcome participants from other villages. Sometimes the number of participants of the activity reaches 3000. At this time, the villagers will organize a security patrol to maintain order of the meeting. No accidence happened to the past three sports meeting so far.
In 2007, Anlejie Village was titled as a Model Civilized Village by the County Party Committee Spiritual Civilization Office and awarded 20,000 yuan in cash. The villagers bought folk musical instruments and sports equipment to enrich the festival life. The Anlejie Village, which was well known for unruly people and fights, has become a model village for spiritual civilization construction.
6 Existing Problems
6.1 Lack of the support of long-term sustainable mechanisms
Like other institutions, the development of the Community Disaster Management Team is also facing the problem of sustainability. At the beginning, under direct threat of disasters, the villagers and the members of the Community Disaster Management Team were both active in responding to the disaster. Currently, however, the situation is much better, so people are busy with their own work, and only the members of the Community Disaster Management Team will get together in the event of anything or any visit. Some members have even gone out to work, and people never think about the general election.
The community has the tradition of organizing annual sports events and the farmers want to continue with this event. Without financial aid, however, and without good ideas or channels for fund raising, it is probably difficult to maintain the activity in a few years. In these years, the funds are mainly raised by the villagers and some migrant workers donated some money for the event. As long as they stop to raise funds, the village will then have to stop the activity.
Because of their own interests, the villagers of the community largely stand in their respective stances in the project implementation and sometimes can hardly reach a consensus on where the drainage ditches should be built. They all want to surround their own houses with cement and drain the water to other places, and will not give up unless the technical personnel explain in detail and the management team members persuade them. In order not to affect the overall implementation of the project, sometimes the project contractor even needs to give some benefits to the farmers, such as free repairing of collapses houses.
6.2 Difficulties in the conversion from disaster prevention to development
After addressing the disaster