Zhaotong is a poor prefecture in northeastern Yunnan, bordering Guizhou, and a population of 7 million. Zhaotong City has a population of 200.000 and tobacco the main industry in addition to some cement manufacturing. The area is among the poorest in China and most people are farmers. The authorities stimulate the young people to migrate to Eastern and Southern China to find work. Approximately 650.000, most of them men, migrated last year. The authorities hope to increase this number by 50.000 in 2004. The authorities run education programmes, which are supposed to improve these farmers’ chances of obtaining work in the cities. These migrant workers increase the income of the local and regional economies, however, it also adds strain to the lives of the women who are left in charge of farming as well as taking care of children and the old. Also, immense challenges relate to HIV and AIDS as some men bring home diseases from the bigger cities.
Zhaotong Community Development Program
China, Yunnan Province, Zhaotong Prefecture
Zhaotong Community Development Program (ZTCDP) is a 3-year grant program funded by Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM). The total grant from Norway is 2.5 million CNY, but with local matching the total investment is close to 4 million CNY. ZTCDP is a pilot project and focuses on improving living conditions in two poor villages in one of the poorest areas of China. The program is also acting as a model for development in other areas in the Prefecture and experiences from the program are influencing a greater area and other projects.
ZTCDP has a 3-year program plan and implementation started the spring of 2002. The Program is located in mountainous Zhaotong Prefecture north-east in Yunnan Province. Zhaotong Poverty Alleviation Office (PAO) is local partner and is legally responsible for implementing the program. NLM has appointed Xin-Consulting AS, China Office to represent them in the daily running of the project.
Objectives and Results
Community Based Development Training and other training courses (Village Teacher Training, Village Doctor Training, Agricultural Training, and Vocational Training Courses for young girls from the countryside) are key parts in ZTCDP. A core value for the Program is that people are the most important resource for any social development. Therefore, ZTCDP attempts to meet the local communities on their terms by focusing on educating and developing human resources.
During the first two years, ZTCDP has trained and equipped 83 village teachers, 87 village doctors, 81 young girls, 120 government officials at township level, 187 villagers and established several teams with “trainers of trainers.” In addition, government officials from various bureaus from prefecture to township level have been trained in Community Based Development.
An evaluation carried out in March 2004 points out that “The Community Development Training Program and the other trainings have shown the people that they can participate in their own development and are able to perpetuate the learning to others in community” (Zhaotong CDP 2004 Evaluation Report).
In close connection with the local people and government, some key infrastructure projects have been identified in the two target villages. ZTCDP together with the local government have invested in:
-a primary school (grade 1-6)
-a 12 km village road
-an electricity power line and supply to one natural village
-water project with 5 water storage tanks, 2 flood preventing walls, 5 water supply tanks in the villages
-Two primary schools are equipped
-Two clinics are equipped and circulating capital for medicine provided
The School project has significantly improved the educational situation of the village. The school attendance has increased from 98 students till 166. Before 63% of school age children attended school and this has now increased till 90%. The number of teachers at the school has also increased from 2 till 8 teachers.
The immediate results of the electricity project is better lightening conditions, cleaner air (avoiding kerosene smoke), and better processing equipment for agriculture.
The water project has given 90 % of the people easy access to clean water. The local training team has also given the villagers training in how to use clean water.
The road project is connecting the villages to the township. This gives them a chance to sell their farming products and get food during the winter time when they used to starve.
The equipped clinics and trained village doctors have provided better health care to the villagers and made the villagers aware of the importance of seeking medical attention.
Methane Bio-Gas generating systems/ Firewood-saving stoves
ZTCDP has build 64 bio-gas generating systems.
The bio-gas research started in China in the 1950s. The technique has matured through this half century of application. At present the Chinese government highly recommends the use of the system in rural areas which has the condition suitable for this. Recently, the government has provided molds for many townships to promote this technology in the countryside.
Bio-gas is an environmental friendly technique with many different functions.
The most observable benefits of this practice are:
· Protect the environment
· Saved energy, by reduced use of firewood
· Making use of animal and human waste
· Improve the hygiene and sanitation level in the community – by combining handling of waste and the production of energy
· Providing high quality and clean biological fertilizer
At the present time, the local government encourages the farmers to use bio-gas generating systems. However, the success of the bio-gas systems is limited because of lack of financial resources. The farmers do not have enough money to build both bio-gas systems and systems to gather the animal and human waste, and therefore the effects of biogas-systems are not maximized.
The aim of the ZTCDP Bio-Gas Generating Systems project is to build some complete bio-gas generating systems which can show the farmers how this can improve their living situation. The project will give valuable experience in building and operating bio-gas systems, but also function as a model to demonstrate the effects of complete bio-gas generating systems to the local people and the government. The aim is also to rise up the local people’s awareness for hygiene, environment protection and the opportunities for development by using new technology.
ZTCDP has also introduced firewood-saving stoves to reduce the excessive use of firewood for cooking and heating.
Plans for 2004
In close connection with the local people ZTCDP has identified the most pressing needs and will continue to focus on the areas mentioned above. In addition, the program will strengthen the focus on improving agriculture and protecting the environment. A small scale Micro-credit program will also be introduced to stimulate sustainable development.