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Community Development Fund and Community-Driven Development

Community Development Fund and Community-Driven Development

Cover and Title Page Catalogue and Summary Main Body

Title : Community Development Fund and Community-Driven Development

Commencement Date : Sat May 01 1993--Thu Feb 01 2007

Implementing Agencies : China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project

Support Organizations : County / Town leading group

Actuator : government officials, villagers

Members of The : Staff in China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project

Contact :

CASE PROVIDER :

Name :

Contact :

Sources of Funds :

Catalogue and Index :

Abstract Summary :

Background : 1 Basic information of Huoshan County 2 Huoshan China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project 3 Current Situation of Huoshan County Community Development Fund Issue : 1 A small size of fund and few activities 2 Low utilization of funds 3 Lack of long-term poverty reduction support guarantee Course and Plan of Action : 1 Implementation process Process of Action : 1 Main Practices Results of action: 1 Rural households 2 Communities 3Demonstration Effect Careful selection of project sites The Community Development Fund is people-oriented household poverty alleviation project and, compared with other poverty relief projects, it is more strict in management and has higher requirements.Careful selection of project sites is the foundation of the project’s success.Careful selection of project sites is the foundation of the project’s success. Accurate targeting of poverty The community development fund and community-driven poverty reduction mode improved the accuracy of poor community targeting. In 2004, after the adjustment of administrative division, Huoshan had large administrative villages, which each had about 30 villager teams and 1000 rural households scattered here and there. It was inconvenient for farmers’ contacts and the villagers did not know about each other so well. If we set up the village-based community development fund, the management and supervision will be difficult. Huoshan County Poverty Alleviation and Development Leading Group believes that, therefore, the village team-based community fund has a short activity radius and makes it convenient for farmers’ to borrow money and get together, so the farmers will have a high enthusiasm for participating in the community fund project. After the farmers actively applied for the establishment of the community fund team, the Leading Group carried out a baseline survey and evaluation work, and the community fund team was then composed of 20-30 rural households concentrated in the nearby areas. Make innovations to the government’s planning, support, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms Huoshan County formulated the poverty alleviation and development planning, invested financial, technical and human resources to provide guidance and policy guarantee for community poverty alleviation. Regular and irregular monitoring and evaluation promoted the sustainability of poverty reduction. Respect for communities and farmers’ participation autonomy and capacity building In the Community Fund-based poverty reduction, community-based organizations act as the organizers and managers, and the farmers are the decision implementers and beneficiaries. In theory and from the perspective of operating rules, it established the dominant position of farmers in community development – all project activities are based on farmers’ final decision, and the farmers need to extensively participate in the community development planning, implementation and supervision, including the process from advocacy to discussion at conference, from project selection to project implementation and from fund management to account announcement. Giving full play to the main role of farmers, in the project implementation process, it improved farmers’ ability for democratic management and development. Participation mechanism innovations and the integration of community resources Huoshan County’s participatory poverty alleviation attached importance to the extensive participation of farmers, technical departments and the government, and mobilized farmers, technology personnel and local governments to get involved. In the whole process of project design and implementation, it was always concerned about the poor (this is entirely consistent with the government's goal), through unremitting efforts, gradually achieved the unity of thinking of the three parties (a lot of work was done in this process), paid attention to gender awareness and allowed women to fully participate in and benefit from the project. Huoshan County’s participatory approach has completely overcome the shortcomings of conventional participatory approach, created a pattern of equality and mutual trust, and made farmers, governments and technical departments participate in and made farmers play a leading role. Attach importance to the sustainability of project The Community Development Fund changed the previous “blood transfusion” poverty alleviation mode into the “blood-making” poverty alleviation, and encouraged farmers’ self-development to shake off poverty with support from outside. A complete monitoring system In addition to the long-term supervision and evaluation of the direct beneficiaries of the project (including farmers, the County Poverty Alleviation Office and the evaluation team dispatched by the Netherland), "China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project" also invited independent consulting and research organizations to carry out regular and irregular monitoring and evaluation on the project, including Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Fudan University, etc. So far, they have completed the preparation of the final assessment reports on the farmers’ associations, the community forestry project, Piyuan canal irrigation area’s participatory management, the rural cooperative medical care and the education project, and some projects are still under evaluation. The establishment of the monitoring system laid a solid foundation for "China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project" to continue moving forward on the right track.
Background : 1 Basic information of Huoshan County 2 Huoshan China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project 3 Current Situation of Huoshan County Community Development Fund Issue : 1 A small size of fund and few activities 2 Low utilization of funds 3 Lack of long-term poverty reduction support guarantee Course and Plan of Action : 1 Implementation process Process of Action : 1 Main Practices Results of action: 1 Rural households 2 Communities 3Demonstration Effect Careful selection of project sites The Community Development Fund is people-oriented household poverty alleviation project and, compared with other poverty relief projects, it is more strict in management and has higher requirements.Careful selection of project sites is the foundation of the project’s success.Careful selection of project sites is the foundation of the project’s success. Accurate targeting of poverty The community development fund and community-driven poverty reduction mode improved the accuracy of poor community targeting. In 2004, after the adjustment of administrative division, Huoshan had large administrative villages, which each had about 30 villager teams and 1000 rural households scattered here and there. It was inconvenient for farmers’ contacts and the villagers did not know about each other so well. If we set up the village-based community development fund, the management and supervision will be difficult. Huoshan County Poverty Alleviation and Development Leading Group believes that, therefore, the village team-based community fund has a short activity radius and makes it convenient for farmers’ to borrow money and get together, so the farmers will have a high enthusiasm for participating in the community fund project. After the farmers actively applied for the establishment of the community fund team, the Leading Group carried out a baseline survey and evaluation work, and the community fund team was then composed of 20-30 rural households concentrated in the nearby areas. Make innovations to the government’s planning, support, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms Huoshan County formulated the poverty alleviation and development planning, invested financial, technical and human resources to provide guidance and policy guarantee for community poverty alleviation. Regular and irregular monitoring and evaluation promoted the sustainability of poverty reduction. Respect for communities and farmers’ participation autonomy and capacity building In the Community Fund-based poverty reduction, community-based organizations act as the organizers and managers, and the farmers are the decision implementers and beneficiaries. In theory and from the perspective of operating rules, it established the dominant position of farmers in community development – all project activities are based on farmers’ final decision, and the farmers need to extensively participate in the community development planning, implementation and supervision, including the process from advocacy to discussion at conference, from project selection to project implementation and from fund management to account announcement. Giving full play to the main role of farmers, in the project implementation process, it improved farmers’ ability for democratic management and development. Participation mechanism innovations and the integration of community resources Huoshan County’s participatory poverty alleviation attached importance to the extensive participation of farmers, technical departments and the government, and mobilized farmers, technology personnel and local governments to get involved. In the whole process of project design and implementation, it was always concerned about the poor (this is entirely consistent with the government's goal), through unremitting efforts, gradually achieved the unity of thinking of the three parties (a lot of work was done in this process), paid attention to gender awareness and allowed women to fully participate in and benefit from the project. Huoshan County’s participatory approach has completely overcome the shortcomings of conventional participatory approach, created a pattern of equality and mutual trust, and made farmers, governments and technical departments participate in and made farmers play a leading role. Attach importance to the sustainability of project The Community Development Fund changed the previous “blood transfusion” poverty alleviation mode into the “blood-making” poverty alleviation, and encouraged farmers’ self-development to shake off poverty with support from outside. A complete monitoring system In addition to the long-term supervision and evaluation of the direct beneficiaries of the project (including farmers, the County Poverty Alleviation Office and the evaluation team dispatched by the Netherland), "China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project" also invited independent consulting and research organizations to carry out regular and irregular monitoring and evaluation on the project, including Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Fudan University, etc. So far, they have completed the preparation of the final assessment reports on the farmers’ associations, the community forestry project, Piyuan canal irrigation area’s participatory management, the rural cooperative medical care and the education project, and some projects are still under evaluation. The establishment of the monitoring system laid a solid foundation for "China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project" to continue moving forward on the right track.

Introduction :

Located in the western foothills of Dabie Mountains, Huoshan County has barren land and inconvenient traffic and has been listed among the national poor counties due to the long-term lack of development funds. In 2003, with the implementation of the China-Netherland Poverty Alleviation Project, Huoshan County developed the community fund-driven poverty alleviation and development mode. Based on the external funds (government funds, NGO funds and foreign aid funds), the Community Development Fund was established by private organizations or semi-official organizations, and absorbs share funds of farmers of communities. To meet community needs, attaching importance to the empowerment and participation in the project implementation process, through villagers’ self-management, the Community Development Fund mobilizes community residents’ enthusiasm and initiative for participation and combines individuals with community capacity building. The participatory approach adopted by the Community Development Fund attaches importance to the whole-process participation and cooperation at all levels, fully respects the wishes of farmers in the participation and cooperation process, and adopts scientific and reasonable management mode to address farmers’ loan and development fund shortage and directly benefit the farmers. The funds are under the management of farmers themselves. The Community Development Fund empowers rural households to stimulate their development consciousness, has changed the traditional philosophy of poverty-relief fund use and used the funds for paid recycling, improving the fund efficiency, preventing waste and accelerating the pace of poverty reduction. With the attention and support of the government and relevant departments, this project has enhanced the villagers’ development capacity, stimulated the initiative of farmers and communities for self-management and achieved good results, known as the "Huoshan Mode". As a typical case of China's poverty alleviation, the introduction of Community Development Fund and the innovative participatory poverty alleviation model have a high promotion value. 


Content :

Practice has proved that participatory poverty alleviation is the most effective, most direct poverty alleviation and development strategy that can best stimulate the potential of the poor, and its effectiveness further indicates that participatory poverty alleviation is an important way for rural vulnerable groups to rely on themselves for sustainable development. However, there are also many unexpected problems in this new operation mechanism in operation, mainly including: 

1 A small size of fund and few activities

The early community development funds established in Huoshan County did not have a large size and developed slowly. About 10,000 yuan was invested in each community with 25 households, and sometimes only 8000 yuan was put in, which could not meet the development needs of rural households, affecting farmers’ enthusiasm. If no capital is increased, it will be very difficult to achieve sustainable development. On the other hand, Huoshan County mainly supports impoverished villages to set up community funds from the perspective of poverty reduction. However, the farmers’ needs continue to increase, covering not only material needs but also spiritual needs. Simple poverty alleviation cannot meet their development needs. 

2 Low utilization of funds

If development funds are provided free of charge to the rural households, it will be difficult to control the situation, and farmers will randomly use the funds without any pressure of repayment, so they will not be so cautious in project selection and fund use, increasing the risks and making sustainable development impossible, and the community fund then becomes the public welfare fund and the farmers do not need to consider how to repay the principal and interest as the fund is provided free of charge. Also, the villagers will be accustomed to getting poverty-relief funds from outside. Therefore, they wonder whether these poverty-relief funds belong to them or not and whether the funds can be long used for the community, and they’ll not be willing to raise funds for the construction of roads, bridges, ponds and well digging in the community when needed. Under the guidance of “public funding for public welfare”, the Community Fund was turned into “public funds” at various excuses. Due to the poor management ability of the fund management team and the imperfect system, in the process of the community fund project implementation, few villages strived to borrow money as much as they could and were unwilling to repay. It would of course affect other villagers. As a result, we stopped the operation of the Community Fund Project. 

3 Lack of long-term poverty reduction support guarantee

First, lack human and financial resources. Community Development Fund is a household project that needs many activities such as baseline survey, training, services, monitoring and assessment, requiring a lot of human and financial resources. Huoshan County has set up the evaluation team, but the team members are from the relevant units and are not professional workers in this field. Most of the community fund work relies on the township instructors, but no expenditure is issued for the work except the community project fund, affecting the enthusiasm of the working staff and thereby affecting the project progress. Secondly, no great importance has been attached to the work. Few cadres believe that the Community Fund has a small size and a low level and cannot play an important role in promoting economic development, so they are unwilling to devote into the work and do not have high enthusiasm to support farmers, leading to the inefficiency of the project.


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