In a pilot program promoting stronger village involvement in
poverty alleviation participating poorer communities in four
provinces will themselves make local development decisions, manage
funds, undertake smaller infrastructure projects and public service
It's a two-year "community-driven development" (CDD) program
launched yesterday by China's State Council Leading Group Office of
Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOPAD) in collaboration with
the World Bank. The program is expected to help around 100,000
poorer farmers in 60 participating villages in
Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces and in Guangxi and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions. If
successful CDD could become a model for poverty alleviation
initiatives on a broader scale under China's 11th Five-Year Plans (2006-2010).
China has achieved tremendous success in poverty alleviation in
previous decades but now confronts residual issues in relatively
remote areas which have been beyond the effective reach of previous
government programs. Because of their remoteness many villagers
also lack the education or experience which is helpful in actively
involving themselves in development.
In contrast to existing approaches to poverty alleviation the
CDD program encourages more active engagement between residents and
local government agencies. Local residents will identify their own
local development priorities and manage many aspects of the work.
Local government agencies will shift from a planning role to become
more effective local service providers. The program is expected to
improve the targeting of poverty alleviation funds by allowing
poorer people to manage funds to pursue their own priorities.
"Based on successful experiences in poverty alleviation over the
past 20 years and the status quo in poor areas in China we have
deepened our understanding of the importance of CDD to poverty
alleviation," said Deputy Director Wang Guo Liang of LGOPAD.
"I believe the objective of this pilot is quite consistent with
a radical requirement for construction of a 'New Socialist Countryside' put forward by the
government of China," he said. "This CDD pilot will promote more
participation of villagers in project planning and implementation
and encourage local governments to provide services to poor areas
and people in a new way. Therefore, the CDD model will strongly
promote our 'New Socialist Countryside' development strategy."
In the pilot program the 60 participating administrative
villages will receive grants in support of three activities
intended to address inadequate living conditions and incomes. In
one activity villagers will receive funds to undertake small-scale
infrastructure or public service improvements.
A second activity provides funds to improve village natural
resource management or local environmental conditions. And the
third allows villagers to collectively manage a revolving fund that
provides small investment loans to households. Within each
administrative village smaller natural communities will compete for
access to program grants.
A facilitator will be hired and trained for each participating
village to assist villagers with program planning and to monitor
performance. Within each participating county, a local government
leading group will be formed to supervise the program. Local
government agencies will play key roles in assisting villagers in
designing program proposals which are technically feasible and
within available budget. The CDD program provides support only for
village-level initiatives. Local governments retain overall
responsibility for planning and implementing all larger
The pilot program, modeled in part on CDD operations supported
elsewhere in Asia by the World Bank, is expected to cost 64 million
yuan (US$8 million). The program is supported by a grant of 16
million yuan (US$2 million) from the Japan Social Development Fund
in the World Bank. Three international NGOs -- Action Aid, Plan
International and World Vision -- are assisting in program training
and local facilitation. A fourth NGO, Oxfam Hong Kong, is also
supporting with program design, monitoring and evaluation.
CDD has great potential for China," said David Dollar, World
Bank Country Director for China. "Many other programs in China have
involved consultations with local people or even involved them in
local participatory planning. But giving communities more control
over decisions that directly concern them at a local level is
likely to be another big step toward a well-off and harmonious
The pilot program, which will run through October 2008, will be
based in Jingxi County in Guangxi, in Jialing District of Sichuan,
in Baishui County in Shaanxi and Wengniute Banner of Inner
Mongolia. Aspects of the program which prove successful could be
applied more broadly in LGOPAD's Village Development Planning
Program which will operate through 2010 in 148,000 officially
designated poor villages throughout China.
(China.org.cn June 1, 2006)