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Student Village Officers from Guizhou complete course on water and sanitation project management

In mid-March, more than 20 young Student Village Officers (SVOs) selected from 3 counties in Guizhou Province, China, participated in Lien AID’s training which prepares them for the role of water and sanitation project management to tackle these issues in their rural villages.

Led by Lien AID Programme staff, China Association of Poverty Alleviation and Development (CAPAD) representatives, and a Beijing Tsinghua University photojournalism graduate student, the training consisted of experienced Student Village Officers sharing lessons from the process of implementing their projects, learning about the various stages of project management, as well as photography tips and other requirements for project documentation.

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SVOs also participated in discussions, interactive quizzes, and simulation of scenarios and felt positive about the entire experience.

To find out more, take a look at our Village Water Management Programme.

Opinion : Finding right local champions key to maximum impact

Currently, there are still poverty-stricken communities in China that are in dire need of resources, many of whom live in mountainous and isolated communities.

Each year, we receive numerous genuine appeals for help from local communities which we put through a stringent process when identifying poor rural communities in need of water and sanitation improvements in China.

We realize that an important step lies in finding the right local champions to ensure these projects achieve maximum impact for our beneficiaries. We do this through our Village Water Management (VWM) programme, where we work directly with residents of the villages itself to help oversee the progress of these projects.

The rigorous selection process for Student Village Officers (大学生村官) for our projects involves an independent panel including water and sanitation experts from China and Singapore, which also evaluates the feasibility of water and sanitation proposals. As part of a needs assessment process, our staff visit shortlisted project sites and speak directly with benefiting communities to establish their needs and ensure project sustainability.

Through our work on the ground with our chosen NGO partner, China Association for Poverty Alleviation and Development (CAPAD), and direct interaction with the Student Village Officers and beneficiaries, we are able to see first hand, how all our resources are allocated, and how it creates value for our stakeholders.

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To date, our VWM programme has been well supported by CAPAD and Chinese authorities. We look forward to working with them again this month, when we conduct a training session for more than 20 selected Student Village Officers in Guizhou Province.

To find out more, take a look at our Village Water Management Programme.

Meet China’s Water Gladiators

We’ve always made it a point to listen to the local community. We pay attention to their personal stories of hardship, like their experiences of going on long backbreaking treks to collect a single bucket of water from the nearest water source. We then include the local community’s voices to inform our decisions from the design to the completion of an initiative, to ensure that their water and sanitation concerns are addressed in the most effective and sustainable manner.

This November, friends of Lien AID were given the opportunity to meet and listen to four Student Village Officers (SVOs) who had traveled from their rural provinces of Chongqing, Gansu and Guizhou to Singapore to better understand water policies, governance and management to apply in their projects to achieve sustainable impact. SVOs are young graduates deployed by the Chinese government for a period of up to 3 years in rural villages in order to improve administration in these communities. We empower and groom selected SVOs to effective implement water projects at their respective villages. These SVOs champion these projects, and working together with the local communities, ensure the sustainability of the infrastructure.

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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.

Lien AID and the China Association of Poverty Alleviation and Development in Collaboration to Empower Local Champions in Improving Water Conditions at Poor Rural Villages

‘With water, I see hope for my village. The township and county governments are very supportive of plans for the village to embark in greenhouse farming and cultivation of herbs for sales.’Student Village Officer from Gansu Province.

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 programme that is pioneering a holistic and comprehensive approach to identify and empower local champions in implementing appropriate water intervention projects in poor rural villages.

On 28 November 2012, as part of a two week training, organized by CAPAD for over 500 selected Student Village Officers (SVOs)/ 大学生村官 from 14 provinces, Lien AID held a water forum aimed at creating exposure of water issues for the SVOs, wherein projects will be seeded for implementation.

Attendees included representatives from Lien AID; CAPAD; Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, Nanyang Technological University; experts from the China Center Control for Disease and Prevention; experts in the water and sanitation fields; as well as the SVOs.

CAPAD is a premier government-linked NGO which aims to educate and facilitate SVOs based in poverty stricken villages to conduct effective poverty alleviation activities.  Every year, more than 1,000 SVOs across China are selected by the respective provincial poverty alleviation departments to attend the prestigious training sessions.

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