Oxfam helps villagers develop sustainable livelihoods
Three years after the devastating earthquake that struck Southwest China on 12 May 2008, there is still much to be done in badly hit communities in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Subsequent to a large-scale emergency campaign immediately after the earthquake, Oxfam Hong Kong further committed to a five-year reconstruction and livelihoods development programme that is still ongoing.
Oxfam has focused its work on remote, impoverished rural villages that received little support from government or other organisations. After helping these communities rebuild their homes, schools and other infrastructure, Oxfam has continued assisting the communities in restoring and developing their livelihoods in an effort to alleviate the poverty that made life difficult even before the earthquake struck.
Howard Liu, Director of the China Programme Unit of Oxfam Hong Kong, said, “Oxfam’s five-year reconstruction project comprises three phases. The first phase was selecting and identifying badly affected areas and communities in which relief work had to be carried out. This was followed by working with governments at township, county and provincial levels, as well as with local NGOs, to repair and rebuild small-scale infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and water facilities. The last phase sees the implementation of projects such as training in farming and livestock rearing techniques to help villagers improve their livelihoods. Many villagers are in debt after paying for the reconstruction of their houses. Helping the villagers to increase their income and productivity has been our key concern and focus.”
As a transparent organisation accountable to both beneficiaries and donors, Oxfam has carefully monitored the quality and progress of its programmes. It works with local governments and NGOs familiar with the local environment and customs to ensure that projects meet the needs of the people. In all its programmes, Oxfam pays special attention to improving sanitation and hygiene, promoting public health education. Another prioritised work is minimising the impact of natural disasters through risk reduction planning and preparation.
As at 31 March 2011, Oxfam Hong Kong raised HK$168 million for victims of the Sichuan earthquake. More than HK$122 million has been allocated to 172 programmes, benefiting over 800,000 people. Of these projects, 131 have been in partnership with government departments, 16 with mainland-based NGOs and seven with educational institutes. Oxfam has worked alongside 71 different groups in the earthquake effort.
An overview of Oxfam’s work in different provinces Sichuan: Oxfam launched 88 reconstruction programmes in eight cities – Guangyuan, Mianyang, Deyang, Bazhong, Chengdu, Aba, Nanchong, and Ya’an – as well as 25 severely affected regions or counties.
Shaanxi: Nineteen reconstruction programmes in Ningqiang County, Lueyang County and Mian County of Hanzhong city, as well as Chencang region of Baoji city were undertaken. The programmes mainly included small infrastructure construction and livelihoods recuperation.
Gansu: In five cities – Longnan, Pingliang, Tianshui, Dingxi and Qingyang – 12 severely affected regions and counties, we launched 44 reconstruction programmes, including 10 primary school reconstruction programmes.
For the full report on Oxfam’s response to the Sichuan earthquake, please visit: http://www.oxfam.org.hk/filemgr/890/512report3e.pdf
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About Oxfam Hong Kong Oxfam Hong Kong is an independent development and humanitarian organisation working against poverty and related injustice. We recognise that much poverty is caused by injustice and that poverty alleviation requires economic, social and structural change. We work with people facing poverty and with partner organisations on development, humanitarian, policy advocacy and public education programmes. Founded in 1976, Oxfam Hong Kong has worked in about 70 countries.