By Wang Huixian (王会贤), Philanthropy Times (公益时报), August 29, 2013
Following the spirit of the 18th Party Congress Plenum Report, the Ministry of Agriculture recently released Suggestions Regarding the Development of the “Beautiful Countryside” Construction activity, indicating a new direction toward rural development and beautification. Excited rural-based NGOs have responded to this call, holding a Rural Development Public Interest Forum earlier this month. Out of this discussion, and perusal of rural development case studies, three development model cases have emerged. 1. “The project evolution of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.” The CFPA has experimented with different types of rural development projects, learning for instance that rural cooperatives can offer the most effective means for allowing rural residents to participate in the projects. For their next project, which will be based in Ya’an, Sichuan (the site of the recent earthquake), will also make an effort to develop a platform to support youth entrepreneurship, fund projects, and contract professional social services. At the forum, they also developed plans to establish an NGO Federation through which they could collaborate with rural NGOs. 2. “Bringing the Taiwanese experience to Hainan.” Based on a successful community development project following a 1999 earthquake in Taiwan, Chen Tongkui decided to attempt to transfer the model to a rural area in Hainan province. The model is essentially a development association that is elected by the rural residents to design production and marketing strategies — in the Taiwan case, the town was dubbed “the Frog Republic” due to its abundance of frogs. 3. “The Red Cross’s ‘Balance’ Technique.” Based on multiple failures, the Red Cross representative emphasized the importance of working with village cadres. He described attempts at rural development that were suddenly thwarted by disapproving cadres, and argued that groups should strategically seek out sympathetic cadres who will help to move forward, rather than retard progress.