A new government plan has been released encouraging social organizations to help improve living conditions in China’s countryside.
Social organizations in the country have been paying close attention to rural areas, especially in recent years, as they are constantly exploring ways to improve life in small towns and villages, which is vital for alleviating poverty and promoting rural revitalization.
The Five-Year Action Plan (2021-2025) for the Improvement of Rural Human Settlement Environment, issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council, calls for policy support, including cooperation between the government and private capital, to mobilize society to actively participate in the development of rural infrastructure.
The plan also encourages areas to carry out systematic, professional and socialized operation and management and to promote the overall planning and unified management of urban and rural environments. Instead of local governments taking charge of everything, the plan proposes offering rewards and subsidies to help bring society together.
However, living conditions in China’s rural areas can still be tough, and there are problems such as unbalanced regional development, inadequate basic living facilities and a lack of management and care mechanisms.
Regarding some of the existing problems in the countryside, the plan put forward some specific countermeasures including building more rural toilets, accelerating the promotion of rural sewage treatment and waste management, sprucing up villages, widening participation of agricultural workers, and increasing policy support.
The Philanthropy Times previously reported that large donations in recent years have not only focused on traditional charity fields such as education, poverty alleviation and healthcare, but also rural environmental protection and the construction of village communities.
For example, in June 2018, Agile Group announced a donation of 100 million yuan (approximately 15 million dollars at the time) for the construction of five “beautiful villages” in Hainan. The donation focused on the improvement of local residents’ living standards — through special joint poverty alleviation projects run by the company and the local government.
Social organizations like the Development Promotion Center of Friends of Ancient Villages in Shenzhen (“Friends of Ancient Villages”) have also made contributions by establishing a network of over 10,000 volunteers covering counties in more than 30 provinces and regions.
In addition, social organizations have also played an active role in promoting healthy living in rural areas. For example, One Foundation has launched a water purification project to help ensure safe drinking water.
The project includes three sub-projects involving water purification, hand washing, and toilet improvement. The charity provided the water purification equipment, hand washing stations, toilets and other equipment for schools in rural areas, combined with sanitation and health education for local children to raise their awareness of sanitation and other hygiene practices.