Enabling local champions to tackle water woes at poor rural villages in China

“Most of the villagers have been manually transporting water for their entire lives. Some of them walk up to 5 kilometers per trip to collect water. To them, to be able to obtain water by just turning on the tap is a miracle. With access to a regular and permanent water source, the lives of these villagers will turn for the better.” -Student Village Officer, Chongqing Municipality

Lien AID continues with a revolutionary collaboration with the China Association of Poverty Alleviation and Development (CAPAD) in combating water woes in rural China. This is an ambitious program that is pioneering a holistic and comprehensive approach to identify and empower local champions in implementing appropriate water intervention projects in poor rural villages.

As part of a three-days training, Lien AID, CAPAD and the Chongqing Poverty Alleviation and Development co-organized a seminar for close to 50 Student Village Officers (SVOs) / 大学生村官 selected from the southwestern region of Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan and Hubei provinces. The training sessions were tailored to train the SVOs in project management, as well as create a platform for exposure of water issues for the SVOs; after which a ‘call for proposals’ will determine projects to be seeded for implementation subsequently.

Attendees included representatives from Lien AID; CAPAD; Chongqing Poverty Alleviation and Development; Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Nanyang Technological University; experts from the China Center Control for Disease and Prevention; as well as the SVOs.

“Educating the SVOs is a vital step in ensuring proper implementation and follow-through of projects. Passion alone will not solve the problem; knowledge plays a huge role in contributing to a sustainable project with long-term benefits for the communities. We are hopeful that with commitment and support from the SVOs, local governments and communities, combined with proper know-how, we will witness a phenomenal change amongst the rural communities in time to come.” -Huang Zhu Shao, Vice Director (CAPAD)

This multi-year program aims to reach out to 100 poverty-stricken villages from 2012 to 2016, benefiting an estimated 100,000 beneficiaries (poor villagers); and will enhance the water and sanitation knowledge of 100 SVOs.

Projects selection will focus on Provinces with a large number of poverty-stricken villages such as Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shannxi, Shanxi and Sichuan.

Thirteen projects have been completed in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia, Chongqing and Guizhou, with 9 others slated to be completed by end 2013. The program aims to select and implement up to 25 water projects at poverty-stricken villages annually, over the subsequent years.

To find out more about our work in China, take a look at Where We Work – China.