The 28th of June marked the beginning of a Sustainable Rural Livelihood Project in Ruoli Township, Jingyuan County, Gansu Province. It is a partnership between the Bestseller Fund (an independent Danish charitable organization) and the Foreign Affairs Office of People’s Government of Baiyin City and People’s Government of Jingyuan County. Green Camel Bell’s role is to engage in periodic monitoring and evaluation of the project.
In the arid province of Gansu, Ruoli village in Jingyuan County is infamous for being one of the harshest living areas due to lack of rain and severe poverty. The town has little natural scenery or anything to attract tourists. As the farming conditions are so difficult, many people move away from the area to work as unskilled laborers. Those who stay are mostly women, children and elderly people; they have a tough time making ends meet. This four-year sustainable livelihoods project hopes to lift the township out of poverty and provide a dignified life for villagers.
The projects scope of the project is large and will cover infrastructure as well as training and development. As part of the project 178 houses will be renovated to provide insulation and better living conditions. Both power supply and tap water supply in residential dwellings will be upgraded. This will eliminate power supply risks and improve drinking conditions.
As mentioned, Ruoli Township suffers severe drought and lack of water resources. To ensure normal drinking water, each household will have a water cellar with rainwater collecting field built. Furthermore, in order to improve the status of villagers income, which is solely dependent on the weather, a 1,000mu irrigation system will be built. The completion of irrigation system will increase villagers’ income and change the local economic conditions. Agricultural production should increase from 700-800rmb to 1200-1700rmb per mu.
Other improvements in the area of infrastructure include, a public square with fitness and entertainment equipment to improve the cultural life of villagers. Access to the village is limited and in order to facilitate transport to the village, a sum of money will be portioned to road hardening.
Aside from infrastructure, there will be investment in agricultural and husbandry training and income-generating skill training, included in the project. Due to drought, the production in the area is low with small variety of crops. It is planned to invite cultivation and husbandry experts to hold 2-3 sessions of training during farm slack season. Another area of training will be in public health, health care, basic knowledge of home health care and prevention of common diseases. A system of micro-credit will also be established designed to encourage entrepreneurship and offer financial services to the very poor.
It is hoped that these trainings will increase the villagers’ knowledge, especially for women through in both income-generating and legal training, and increase villagers income through participation in the project. For much of the construction projects villagers themselves will donate labour and time to the projects. This will increase the villagers commitment to the community, respect for themselves and the new infrastructure.
Green Camel Bell will act as an agent who collects feedback and input from villagers on the project. Green Camel Bell will engage the community in public discussions and provide forums to facilitate participatory project planning. Project officer Xu DingYan will visit the site every three months with a team of volunteers. The first visit will be at the end of July. She also hopes to bring interested students and academics to the site to learn about using sustainable building materials and methods, as well as gain practical understanding of how mirco-financing works in a community.
For more information please contact project officer: Miss Xu Dingyan +86-931-2650202