The Quanzhou Women’s Federation (WF) have asked us for assistance with a project to train 400 women in the production tomato, chilli peppers and sanmu herb and pig husbandry.
Quanzhou is 200 kilometres to the north of Guilin and the project township Dongshan is remote and borders Hunan Province and has a population of 32,000 of whom 80% are of the Yao ethnic group. The main farming income is from rice and men leave the villages to look for work in the cities and women are left to farm the family plot and look after children and grandparents. The average farming income is less than 800RMB (NZ$153), below the poverty level set by the Chinese Government.
Women have a low level of education and villages are remote. The infrastructure such as roads and transport are poor and the climate and land make farming difficult.
The Women’s Federation use a system of training where women pass on skills used to their neighbours so that more people can be reached. They have consulted with the women of Dongshan to develop the plan using modern development practices to ensure the local community is fully engaged in the project.
The outcomes the WF seek in their own words are: ‘By the training, poor rural women can use the skill they master for production, enlarge their views, increase income, improve living conditions, enhance their economic and social status, decrease the incidence of women diseases; it embodies fully the harmonious idea of “people oriented’.
This is the first project to be developed in the Guilin area as the previous ones have been in other parts of Guangxi. NZCFS members Dave Bromwich and Sally Russell have previously worked with the Quanzhou Women’s Federation and have found them to be enthusiastic and professional in their work.