May 2001

31st May 2001

Volunteers News

DORS have recently taken on a short-term volunteer to assist with our rural energy projects in Nimei Township. Felix AuYeung, an American, has a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT University. He will be overseeing the building of fuel-efficient stoves in Huodi Village until the completion of the project.

Rose Acock, our Director, has recently completed the exams for her courses with Open University.

Kadoorie Funded Integrated Community Development Programme Begins
We have recently begun a number of new projects in Pianma Yi Minority Township, which is in part funded by the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation. Initial village level discussions were held last year, where villagers put forward their project component ideas. This month, we held a meeting with members of the Township Government and the various village representatives of Wanping and Chalin villages to discuss the projects for the next three years.

Wanping VillageIn Wanping Village, one component was to extend the road from Miaoziping up to the lower hamlets, and to construct a horse path to connect the top hamlets. As this was the villagers' priority, we agreed to begin immediately, contributing 39,000 RMB (£3,250) towards the purchase and transport of explosives, and the Township Government agreed to be responsible for the safety and management of their usage. The labour will be provided by the villagers. This project also has the support of the County PAO and Minority Dept, all of which have contributed materials. Construction has already begun and half of the 18 km road is now complete.

In the higher areas of Wanping Village, namely hamlets 5, 7, and 14, the villagers first priority was to replace the transformer which has left them without electricity for the past year. DORS contributed 7,500 RMB (£625). The Party Secretary agreed to be responsible for connecting every household in the three hamlets, as well as overseeing the future maintenance of it.

Earlier this year, we began a new micro-project in hamlet 5 of Chalin Village. After discussing with the villagers which projects they found most suitable for their conditions (which is at a 2,000 meter elevation and 3-4 hours walk from the nearest road), they were most interested in developing their big white beans (butter beans), but lacked the bamboo sticks that were needed to grow them. We agreed to contribute 500 RMB (£42), half of which is a loan, for each of the 15 households towards the purchase of these sticks, and the villagers agreed to be responsible for all other costs. The loan is to be repaid at the end of harvest season, which will then be recycled towards more bamboo sticks for the following year.

Fuel-Efficient Stoves in Nimei

Earlier last year, we began a number of experimental fuel-efficient stoves in selected households of Huodi Village. After testing them, we found they reduced the amount of fuelwood used by half, and are able to boil water in 2/3 of the time of their regular stoves. As villagers found these to be very useful, we have agreed to contribute 300 RMB (£25) towards each stove, and each household will contribute 50 RMB, in addition to labour. Felix, our new volunteer, Mr Bai and Mr Jiao, both engineers from the Rural Energy Dept, have been living and working with the villagers in training them in building the stoves. This project is funded by Trace Foundation.

Broadening Experience through Networking

With a grant from the Canadian Civil Society Programme, DORS have been busy meeting with different organisations as part of our Capacity Building for Participatory Community Development in Sichuan project. This project is in part aimed at building up the experience and contacts of our local forestry officer, Guo Yumei.

Last month, Guo Yumei and Elsa Fan spent a week in Kunming meeting and exchanging ideas with various organisations. On this occasion they were able to meet with members of Oxfam HK, the Salvation Army HK, Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, and officials working with the International Foundation for Animal Welfare, and learn more about the types of projects that were being implemented in the Yunnan area.

This month, Guo Yumei and Rose Acock met with various foundations and NGO's in Beijing. This was a good opportunity to meet some of our funders who have supported our work, and with other organisations working in the development sector.

This networking trip has been a great experience. We hope to keeping in touch with all the organisations that we have met, and look forward to working with them in the future.

More Funding for the Year

Last year, DORS was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Expatriate Professional Women of Shanghai (EPWS) Charity Gala, the goal of which was to raise funds to be divided between 3 NGO's. We have recently learned that this charity gala has raised 100,000 RMB (£8,333) for DORS education projects. This amount will be enough to cover school fees for particularly poor students in many of our project sites for the next three semesters. We are grateful to the EPWS for their support towards this project.

The British Embassy's Small Grants Scheme has recently approved our Sustainable Water Supply Management Project aimed at maintaining the sustainability of our water supply projects through the training of and by local villagers. The program is focused primarily towards building the capacity in local communities for improving the sustainability both of their water systems and of future projects. We appreciate the long-standing support from the British Embassy and look forward to working with them again.

DORS have purchased a new project vehicle, with 35,000 RMB (£2,900) funding from Kadoorie as part of the Integrated Community Development Programme, and an additional 40,000 RMB (£3,300) from the Provincial Poverty Alleviation Office, who are very supportive of our continuing work in the Province.

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