Monday, November 09, 2009


A bit of background on why I am out here in the middle nowheresville, Sichuan province.  I came through PlaNet Finance China's internship program to work as a volunteer at an organization called DaBa Mountain Ecology and Poverty Research Center, a grassroots Chinese NGO that does poverty alleviation and community development projects ranging from clean water projects to public health education to earthquake rebuilding to microfinance.  I live and work at the organization's office in the small city of Tongjiang, and spend about 1/3 of the time out in the surrounding countryside doing field work and implementing projects.  While in the countryside, we stay at the family home of the NGO director, where his parents, brother, and sister-in-law still live.  From the nearest (very) small town to the house, it's about a 30 minute walk over a dirt road impassable to all vehicles other than motorcycles, through various terraced vegetable gardens, and along footpaths carved out from generations of local farmers' daily treks to and from the fields.   From three to six days at a time, the house serves as our base while we work to implement projects in the surrounding villages.

The majority of our projects are funded by larger domestic and international NGOs such as Heifer International, Partnerships for Community Development, and China's largest domestic poverty alleviation non-profit non-governmental organization, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA).  Sometimes we act to run and oversee the local implementation of projects, as is the case with Heifer International's animal husbandry projects; other times we design and run our own projects with funding that we have applied for through CFPA or private foundations.

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