July 2001

31st July 2001

Capacity Building - Villager Training in Participatory Project Management

DORS have been working with local communities in Hanyuan for several years using participatory methods. Projects are initiated by the villagers themselves, and designed and implemented with the local communities. Many of the villagers now have experience in working with funding agencies and managing community based projects. To enable them to strengthen their capacity to develop their communities in a sustainable way, DORS organized project management training sessions in June for representatives from villages where we have or plan to begin implementing projects. A total of 49 villagers from 17 villages came in three groups to attend the three-day sessions held in the Hanyuan County town.

The aim of the sessions was to provide training to village development workers on how to manage their own community-based poverty alleviation projects more effectively. The training sessions were led by Tan Jingzheng from the Sichuan Natural Resource Conservation And Development Training Center at the forestry college in Dujiangyan (SCTC). Some of the issues addressed were the different stages of project planning, design, and implementation, including the importance of future management for the sustainability of the projects. In particular, the importance of community participation at all stages of the project was emphasized. The training methods used were also participatory, encouraging villagers to work together in groups and exchange their own project experiences. Villagers were given a chance to analyse projects they implemented themselves, such as looking at the positive and negative elements of the projects, understanding why certain problems occurred, what could be improved, and how to apply these experiences to future projects.

IAll the villagers found the training session interesting and useful, and many remarked that they had never before taken part in such a participatory training. For DORS, this is working towards a longer-term goal to assist communities to strengthen and continue with initiating community development projects on their own. We have also agreed to assist them in finding and applying for funding from other organisations (see Nimei Township School Dormitory Project below).

Many thanks to the Canadian Civil Society Programme for supporting the costs of the training workshops as part of DORS' Capacity Building for Participatory Community Development in Sichuan Project. The workshops generated much interest in the county as a new and alternative method of training. Various department leaders participated in parts of the training sessions and expressed their own interest in inviting Mr. Tan to lead further training workshops.

Huodi Village Hamlets 3 & 4 Road Connected

DORS were invited to take part in a celebration for the completion of the Huodi Road project, which we supported. The 2-km road joins 21 households in two hamlets with the township road. This will enable villagers to transport their main crop, potatoes, to the market more conveniently. DORS provided 14,000 RMB (1166 GBP) in tools, and a portion of the costs towards hired labour. Other departments such as the Transport Dept and the Poverty Alleviation Office also made contributions. DORS was presented with a banner of appreciation.

Achieving a Wider Impact Through Publicity

One of the aims of DORS as a poverty alleviation organization is to maximize sustainable and beneficial impacts on livelihoods in the region. In addition to the direct project-based impacts, DORS also hopes, through publicizing our work, to raise awareness and encourage other organizations to get involved in rural development.

Central Television

CCTV filmmakers visited DORS for two weeks in June in order to obtain coverage of our poverty alleviation projects for a half-hour programme called Dong Fang Shi Kong. The programme should be aired in Spring 2002.

Newspaper Articles
DORS has received messages of support from over 100 people since the publication of an article in Southern Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumo) and other newspapers and magazines in China.

Capacity Building - Nimei Township Primary School Students Dormitory

Nimei Yi Minority Township is the most remote and poorest township in Hanyuan County. DORS have already implemented several project components over the last few years in Nimei. The Yi minority township leader Shen Zhen has assisted us in implementing many of our projects in this area. Last year, she presented us with a proposal for constructing a school dormitory at the township seat because many of the primary schools in the villages of Nimei will close down due to poor conditions and low student intake. DORS assisted Shen Zhen in preparing an application to apply for funding directly to British Embassy Small Grants Scheme (SGS). SGS has recently approved this project with funding support of 90,000 RMB.

Teachers' Accommodation in Wanping Village

The primary school in Wanping Village is approximately a 1.5-hour walk from the nearest road. Because the village is so inaccessible, the school has had difficulty in securing qualified teachers over the past years, instead having local villagers (daike laoshi) as substitutes. In order to improve the quality of education, the villagers suggested building a dormitory for teachers, which would resolve the difficulty of transportation and allows the school to invite more qualified teachers

DORS have signed a contract with the village to construct a two-story building equipped with an office, kitchen, and basic living accommodation for three teachers. The village and township government have agreed to provide furniture, and the County Education Bureau have agreed to allocate new teachers to the village school this Autumn.

This project is part of the Kadoorie funded Integrated Community Development Programme highlighted in our last newsletter. DORS contributed towards the cost of construction materials, transport and one construction supervisor, a total of 18,250 RMB (1520 GBP), which is to be paid in 2 stages. Villagers are providing labour and any additional costs. In addition, we will be supporting a number of children next semester who have not previously been able to attend school.

Volunteer News

Caroline Legros began working for DORS in July after completing her Master's thesis on agro-forestry.

Felix Ah Yeung left Hanyuan after he spent two months working on the fuel-efficient stoves in Huodi Village.

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