Amity Foundation Integrated Community Development Report 2011
Read the 2011 Report from Amity Foundation about their Integrated Community Development Program.
The Amity Foundation, an independent Chinese voluntary organization created in 1985 on the initiative of Chinese Christians from China’s coastal provinces in the east and the minority areas of the west, promotes education, social services, health, and rural development. One of the first nonprofit organizations to be formed in China, the Amity Foundation has, since its establishment, been affiliated with the predecessor mission expressions that today make up Global Ministries.
Amity, which targets China’s vast poverty-stricken central and western regions, uses an integrated approach to development to help solve some of the basic subsistence problems among the poor rural populations in China. It promotes development through the direct participation of community members in project implementation. In 2011 one of the programs highlighted was in Liudong village in Guangxi Province. This village is situated in Lingyun County, which has a total of 200,000 inhabitants. In Lingdong village, three phases of the project were targeted to improve drinking water and biogas systems, a village road and structural repair, education and maintenance of a microfinance revolving fund. A key aspect of the project was to increase the capacity of local farmers and their ability to take advantage of available resources.
Since most of the houses were built on steep hillsides and were of poor quality, lacking access to reliable drinking water and electricity, the first project was to rebuild the houses in the village and enable the community to build a road to the village. An internal road was also built to improve the sanitation situation. This enabled the village to have contact with the wider County and to encourage economic diversity. The new road also provided the children with access to the local school. With these changes the village could then build biogas and reliable clean water systems and community facilities. Sanitary conditions have improved with 90 percent of the residents now using biogas, which significantly reduces health and fire hazards associated with wood-burning stoves.
The community facilities included an activity room which serves as a gathering place for the community as well as a facility to hold training and educational activities. The community has embraced the participatory concept by setting up a water management system with self-regulated rules and procedures. Before, the villagers had to get water two hours away by foot which prevented animal husbandry and other productive economic activities because of the time needed to fetch the water. Now that they have a water piping system in the village, three villagers per month have the responsibility for the water supply to the village. This system was organized and decided by the villagers themselves and serves as a model to other villages in the County. This has improved the self-confidence of the villagers and they enjoy a more positive outlook for the future.
Shali Yao Microfinance
Villagers in Liudong are from the Yao minority and now, with the improved infrastructure, they can access the main trading town, Shali, where Amity has established a micro-finance fund. Villagers are now able to access loans and training on new agricultural techniques. The fund is aimed at improving the livelihoods of women in the area. It especially targets poor families by lending them the resources to fund animal husbandry and plant a greater variety of cash crops. The members have established the Women’s Development Associated to discuss future strategic objectives. This has encouraged a 100 percent repayment rate based on collective guarantees and a low rate of interest. Additional funds have enabled women to take a more active part in family decision-making and taught additional economic and capacity-building skills to the local farmers.
The Amity Foundation’s integrated community development approach has been a comprehensive means of tackling poverty and increasing the capabilities of local farmers and women. In Liudong village, it has enabled villagers to have access to clean water, reliable infrastructure including housing and electricity. It has also helped the village to access the wider regional community. Some of the effects of the project include greater economic diversity within the village and the ability to work as migrants part-time, bringing more revenue to the community. More importantly, the projects have encouraged the community to cooperate and manage their resources while building the personal capacity of local partners and individuals involved.
Global Ministries is happy to be in relationship with the Amity Foundation and encourages special giving for such projects, especially microfinance and water projects, in additional villages.