In recent years, the local government in Xiamen, Fujian Province, has been working to facilitate the growth of NGOs and strengthen the supervision and evaluation of NGO operations, while strongly stimulating grassroots governance and enhancing NGO services.
In March 2022, the Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs and Municipal Bureau of Finance jointly issued the Guide for Government Purchase of NGO Services in Xiamen, which proposed that staff salaries and social welfare expenses in NGOs should account for no less than the average of public sector employees in Xiamen during the previous year.
Fifty-three policy documents have been issued in the past decade to attract, stimulate, and nurture talented workers and embed NGO work into livelihood improvement and social governance.
According to Hong Quanyi, head of the civil affairs bureau, the number of private NGOs in Xiamen has grown from seven in 2012 to 119 today. The value of government-purchased NGO services reached 95.19 million yuan ($13.87 million), covering areas including elderly care, minor protection, and rural revitalization.
Meanwhile, the city has also witnessed a surge in NGO workers, with 1,700 working full-time. These exciting achievements would not have been achieved without the various favorable policies of the local government.
The NGO sector is highly talent-intensive. The Xiamen government therefore attaches great importance to nurturing and attracting talent, including through a talent policy that provides a one-time subsidy to licensed NGO workers who join an NGO for the first time and have worked there for one year or more.
With policy incentives and improved career prospects, the number of licensed NGO workers in Xiamen has reached 11,265, a tenfold increase over the past decade.
To further enhance the capacity of NGO workers, the Civil Affairs Bureau in Xiamen has been arranging training sessions to consolidate NGO employees’ professional knowledge and practical skills. Four sessions were held in the second half of 2022, benefiting nearly 500 participants.
In recent years, the Bureau has also organized four training series on the supervision of NGO operations for its staff through government purchases while also standardizing the evaluation of NGOs by introducing third-party agencies.
In March 2022, the Civil Affairs Bureau, together with the Municipal Finance Bureau, formulated the implementation measures for the evaluation of government-purchased NGO services to further regulate third-party evaluation. These measures have allowed the city to assess the effectiveness and implementation of NGO projects more fairly and efficiently.