Jun/July 2002

31st July 2002

The First Step in Choosing New Project Sites - Baseline Studies Conducted

In the selection process of new project sites, DORS has conducted detailed baseline studies in Ganluo County's Teke Village as well as Hanyuan County's Dawan Village.

Baseline studies are conducted after a preliminary site visit and involve staying in the village for approximately 3 days. About 10% of all households were individually interviewed during these studies to get an overview of the current village conditions. Participatory group meetings were also held so that villagers have the opportunity to express their views and debate amongst each other. Techniques such as participatory mapping and diagramming were also used for villagers to prioritise their ideas for development as well as to get an idea of the village set-up. Special thanks to Zhang Guoping of the Hanyuan Poverty Alleviation Office (PAO) for his assistance with the Dawan baseline.

Sanitary Water Usage for Improved Health - Training Sessions Held Across Hanyuan

Following on with the water supply maintenance and management training sessions detailed in the April/May newsletter, DORS has arranged a number of training sessions on safe water usage practices in optimising health. These training sessions were organised in conjunction with the Hanyuan Sanitation Bureau's Preventative Medicine Department and Patricia Lee and Kevin Kwan, two of Canada's University of Western Ontario Medical School students.

As one component of the British Embassy's Small Grant Scheme funded Water Supply Management Project, these training sessions aim to prevent disease transmission and lead to improved health in villages where DORS has previously implemented community water supply systems. Topics covered in these training sessions included: personal hygiene, boiling water before drinking, avoiding pesticide poisoning, using individual towels, and women's and children's health.

Animal Husbandry Training

As detailed in our last newsletter, DORS arranged a training session on good practises for raising healthy farm animals in conjunction with the Hanyuan Animal Husbandry Bureau. Due to the success of this training session, we have conducted a similar one in Wanping Village, covering topics such as: treatment of common illnesses, mixing feed, vaccination and sanitation.

Training in Forest Management

Two training sessions have been conducted in Xixi Township's Chenhe village where the saplings planted in Spring 2000 as part of DORS' collective agroforestry project are starting to require more maintenance to ensure good nut and pepper production. The first training session was conducted by Mr.Huang, a local chestnut specialist. The following training session was targeted at walnut and Sichuan pepper management. Topics covered during these training sessions included: pruning, pest management, and fertiliser application.

A similar training session was also held for Wanping and Chalin villages in Pianma Township as the villagers expressed great interest in increasing their walnut production. Walnut is a principal source of income in the Hanyuan area.

Internet Training Continues

After conducting a small-scale internet usage demonstration for select villagers earlier this year (see Feb/March newsletter), DORS found that villagers were very keen on increasing their capacity to use the internet as a tool for learning about different crop varieties, market prices, techniques for improving their yields and alternatives to pesticide/fertiliser use. Due to this high-interest level, DORS has conducted a further two training sessions for village representatives on how to search the internet. Internet cafes are inexpensive and accessible in Hanyuan and villagers are encouraged to access these cafes on their own to further familiarise themselves with the internet and also to disseminate the knowledge to other villagers.

DORS News and Information

Warren Priest, on a grant from the Sino-British Fellowship Trust arrived in Hanyuan to conduct research on edible fungus. For the next four months, Warren will be researching local mushroom growth in DORS project sites as well as in other villages in South West China and exploring the use of mushrooms for income generation.

Zhuang Yongtao arrived in Hanyuan in July to become the newest member of the DORS team. Along with commencing duties as a Volunteer Project Assistant, Zhuang Yongtao will also be conducting research for his Masters thesis in rural development with the College of Rural Development (CORD) / Centre for Integrated Agricultural Development (CIAD) with Beijing's Agricultural University.

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