Gansu Yishan Yishui Center for Environmental and Social Development
Gansu Yishan Yishui Center for Environmental and Social Development (hereinafter referred to as YSYS or the center) is a non-profitable organization attached to the Lanzhou Universtiy that was established in January 2008 and approved by the Civil Affairs Deparment of Gansu Province. Key area the sister agencies focus on is the integrated development of rural communities, including disaster management, ecological restoration, livelihoods improvement (poverty alleviation), capacity building of public institutions, consultation of domestic and international development agencies, environmental and social impact assessment and the promotion of the development of local public institutions.
Currently, the Center has 10 full-time staff, 5 part-time staff, and more than 500 volunteers. The staff education levels of the Center are all above junior college. The director of the center, Dr. Ding is a professor at Lanzhou University. Dr. Ding is also a committee member of Gansu Provincial Disaster Reduction Committee. What’s more, Dr. Ding is often invited to provide project management consulting services for international institutions such as the UNDP, GEF, UN Women and government departments such as the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Environmental Protection, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, Gansu Provincial Civil Affairs Department, Gansu Provincial Disaster Reduction Committee, Gansu Provincial Department of Environmental Protection and Gansu Provincial Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Ding has more than ten years of experience in development area. Nowadays, the Center has established a good cooperative and interactive relationship with both international and domestic foundations and some influential NGOs. With the establishment of a good public development network in the northwest area of China, the center starts its leadership of the northwest's most influential non-governmental disaster relief team, Gansu Non-Profitable Relief Union. In addition, the center has formed a strategic partnership with Yibang Cooperative and some other social organizations aimed at promoting the sustainable development of social organizations.
So far, as one of the most influential NGOs in China, the center has implemented more than 100 projects funded by the domestic and international development agencies, with a project funding more than RMB30 million.
The center adheres to the TAI (Transparency, Accountability, Impact) management principle.
Transparency: Transparent management, transparent finance, transparent project operational procedures.
Accountability: Accountability to donors, accountability to the beneficiary, and accountability to the brand of the center.
Impact: Maximizing project benefits with minimal project costs. Aimed to implement influential projects, demonstrate and promote replicable and valuable mechanisms and modes, build good communication and orderly development platforms for communities, all levels of government and public development agencies.
People-oriented and harmonious development calls for equitably to meet the needs on livelihoods and environment of vulnerable communities.
Through the implementation of integrated community development projects, the capacity building of public institutions and interdisciplinary research, the center devotes to exploring the modes, mechanisms and theories of equitably meeting the vulnerable communities’ development.
1. Explore the community-based disaster risk management, ecological restoration and livelihood improvement integration mode.
2. Climate change addressing in rural communities.
3. Environmental and social impact assessment of development projects.
4. Capacity building of NGOs
5. Gender-sensitive researches of development projects.
6. Consulting services for domestic and international development agencies
7. The hatch development of local NGOs
Main Support Organizations
1. Kadoorie Charitable Foundation (Hong Kong)
2. Shih Wing Ching Foundation (Hong Kong)
3. UN Women
4. MISEREOR Foundation in Germany.
5. Save the Children
6. The Global Environment Facility (GEF)
7. China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA)
8. One Foundation based in Shenzhen, China
9. SEE Foundation based in Beijing, China
10. The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.
11. Local Enterprises
1. Disaster Management
Natural disaster is an important cause for community poverty. Researchers have proved that community-based disaster risk management can break the vicious cycle of poverty - environmental degradation - disasters exacerbation, thereby reduce the incidence of poverty and promote the sustainable development of poor communities. Cooperating with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, One Foundation, Save the Children and other international development agencies, the center has implemented many influential disaster management projects, such as the "5.12" Wenchuan earthquake disaster relief projects, the "5.10" Minxian County flood disaster relief projects, the "4.20" Ya'an earthquake post-disaster relief and reconstruction projects and the "7.22" Minxian county earthquake relief and reconstruction projects. The projects have gained recognition from the Gansu Provincial civil Affairs Department, the Gansu Provincial NGOs Administration, the Gansu Provincial Association of Social Organizations and the Ministry of Civil Affairs Association.
Especially, the cooperation with One Foundation provided the center a chance to build the "Gansu Non-profitable Relief Alliance". The alliance unites more than 40 public development agencies of Gansu Province whose focus is disaster management, which has played an active role for the implementation of disaster management projects and also provides a system innovation for the social organizations when they are involved in disaster management.
Fig 1. YiShan YiShui organizes the alliance member institutions and volunteers to implement Minxian County disaster relief projects (Photo by Xiaojun Hu)
Fig 2. YiShan YiShui organizes the alliance member institutions and volunteers to transport relief supplies in Minxian County (Photo by Xiaojun Hu)
Leading the member institutions of the "Gansu Non-profitable Relief Alliance", with the support of One Foundation, Yishan Yishui was the first one of teams that reached the disaster area of the "7.22" Minxian County earthquake to implement post-disaster emergency relief. In the hardest hit town Meichuan, we formed a relief headquarter of "One Foundation - Gansu Non-profitable Relief Alliance" and then implemented post-disaster relief and reconstruction projects with a budget of more than RMB 20 million .
Fig 3. A "Health Cup" project implemented by the Center (Photo by Xiaojun Hu)
Fig 4. A "Water Purification Facility" project implemented by the Center (Photo by Xiaojun Hu)
2. Community Development
The center has implemented more than 50 integrated community development projects in environmentally vulnerable, disaster-prone and poor areas of Gansu Province, which helped the center collect a great deal of first-hand information and cases. Through the qualitative and quantitative analysis and research of the cases and data, the director of the center -- Professor Wenguang Ding proposed an integration mode - "disaster risk management, ecological restoration and livelihoods improvement" for the first time in China and the mode has passed the assessment of the soft science of Gansu Provincial Science and Technology Department.
The main theory of the mode is that economic poverty is the complexity reflection of "coupled human and natural systems"; Economic poverty is the external motivation power (EMP) of the integration mode - "Disaster Risk Management - Ecological Restoration - Livelihoods Improvement"; Environmental degradation is the outward manifestation of economic poverty.Disasters are a direct result of environmental degradation; Socio-economic factors and human factors are the main causes for economic poverty.
Specifically, the policy regime and decision management system associated with socio-economic factors are the internal motivation power (IMP) for poverty crisis. Therefore, to eliminate the negative effect - the EMP to the poverty, ecological degradation and disaster crises of the "coupled human and natural systems", we must eliminate the negative impact on poverty caused by the policy regime and decision management system (ie IMP) and we must break the vicious circle of "Disaster - Ecological Degradation - Poverty". It is clear that climate change will exacerbate the cycle. Appropriate response strategies to climate change will help us to build the integration mode of "Disaster Risk Management - Ecological Restoration - Livelihoods Improvement mode".
The interaction mechanism among "Disaster - Ecological Degradation - Poverty"
With the direct and indirect funding of more than 8 million by Shih Wing Ching Foundation, the center has implemented several community integrated development projects in Anding District, Dingxi City and Kongtong District, Pingliang City in Gansu Province, including the use of water resources project, the cultivation techniques of ecological forest in arid area project, the rolling development of cows project, the microfinance project and others; In the form of exploring projects firstly, SEE Foundation subsidized the center twice (RMB550 000) to support the demonstration and promotion of the integration mode in northwest arid area of China.
Fig 5. Professor Ding is guiding farmers to implement community development project
Fig 6. A climate change adaptation project implemented by the centre (Photo by Wenguang Ding)
Fig 7. A rolling development of cow project implemented by the centre (Photo by Wenguang Ding)
Cooperating with the Shenzhen One Foundation Public Foundation (One Foundation), the Save the Children (International) and other development agencies, the center has implemented child-centered community development projects in Gansu Province. For orphans in poor areas of Gansu Province, One Foundation funded the center RMB6 million for the implementation of the "Warmth Package" project in 2012 and 2013 that the number of the warmth package is 13 500 with a value of RMB5.4 million and the benefited orphans is 13 500; Meanwhile, One Foundation funded poor primary schools in Minxian County, Huining County and Zhangjiachuan County of Gansu Province 10 water purification facilities with a project fund RMB300 000. Furthermore, with more than RMB 1 million from the Save the Children (International), the center carried out the child service station projects and other projects in Ya'an and Minxian County disaster stricken areas. Fortunately, the projects have been highly recognized by the beneficiary groups and local government.
Fig 8-9. The center established two children service stations in Zhengwan Village and Zhanggou Village of Ya'an City for training children master the knowledge of disaster reduction, health and hygiene, safety and self-protection (Photo by Xia Lang).
Fig 10-11. In the form of by hand, painting, music, games, sitcoms, etc, the project o fficer of the center provides children psychological consulting services, to help the aff ected children go out from the shadow of the disaster and establish the self-confidence attitude of good development (Photo by Xia Lang).
Fig 12. A Hui girl receives a "Warmth Package" donated by One Foundation
4. Needs Assessment
By applying participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) methods and tools, the center carried out effective monitoring and evaluation of development projects on needs assessment, project design and budgeting. The director Professor Wenguang Ding has implemented monitoring and evaluation on project effect and influence for projects funded by international agencies of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Ministry of Commerce and other government departments. For example, the center brought the PM&E method in TCC5 Project of the World Bank in Yunnan Province, Xinjiang Province and some other places implemented by State Ethnic Affairs Commission and then provided detailed assessment report for the implementation of the project. Besides, the International Economic and Technical Exchange Center of Ministry of Commerce in China invited Prof. Ding to do an capacity building project evaluation for the "China Culture and Development Partnership Project (CPR/08/104)" sponsored by United Nations and the Spanish government. What’s more, in the period of charging international development projects from Jan. 2002 to Jan. 2009, the centre creator successively carried out PM&E and needs assessments in Gansu Province, Qinghai Province and some other northwest regions which concerned many integrated development projects of more than 50 communities, which laid a foundation for the projects’ successful implementation.
Fig 13. A PM&E in Anding District, Gansu Province (Photo by Wenguang Ding)
Fig 14. A PM&E in Guide County, Qinghai Province (Photo by Wenguang Ding)
Fig 15. A PM&E in Yunnan Province with Lahu women
Fig 16. A PM&E in Xinjiang Province with Uyghur women
5. Consulting Services
At the same time of implementing integrated community development projects, the center also provides consulting services for domestic and international development agencies. For example, the director of the center Professor Wenguang Ding has served as a project management expert, a consulting expert, a community-based organization expert and a training expert for the World Bank, UNDP (United Nations Development Program), GEF (Global Environment Facility) and UN Women and other international institutions and also gives these institutions the consulting services in the implementation of development projects in China.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Ministry of Civil Affairs, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the Gansu provincial Disaster Reduction Committee, the Gansu Provincial Department of Civil Affairs, the NGOs Administration and other governmental departments have repeatedly invited professor Ding for consulting services.
Fig 17. The Director Professor Ding provides Public Private Partnership Consulting Services for the GEF
6. Capacity Building
Gansu province is located in northwest of China. With the remote geographical locations and poor capacities, the NGOs in Gansu province are lagging behind in management concept and capability. And implementing capacity building projects is an effective way to solve related problems. The center has dedicated to provide a number of training experts for many NGOs’ capacity-building projects from the year of 2009, and the trainings included project management, project monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilization, institutional strategic planning and so on.
Fig 18. The Director Professor Ding was invited as a project management expert by Gansu Provincial Civil Affairs Department to provide project management training
Fig 19. The Director Professor Ding provides a capacity building for Gansu Xingbang Center for Social Work Service
Fig 20. The UN Women funded project - “Legal advocacy for the gender-sensitive implementation of regulations of climate change addressing” - successfully implemented by the centre has become a model project in China of UN Women
7. Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is an effective strategy and means for development organizations to obtain a clear positioning, to find resources and advantages and to improve its own shortage. The center has provided strategic planning services for the Chinese Muslim Network, Gansu Non-profitable Relief Association, Gansu Social Organizations of Joint Disaster Relief Platform and other institutions, which has laid a good foundation for the sustainable development of these institutions.
Fig 21. The center’s director Professor Wenguang Ding was invited by the Chinese Muslim Network to develop a strategic planning
8. International Cooperation
The center has carried out a multi-level cooperation with college development agencies from the USA, Sweden, Germany and England on Project Management, Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICT4D), Gender Study and some other aspects, which plays a good role in improving the center's research abilities.
Fig 22. The vice president and other leaders of Lanzhou University, the head of the center and the Director-general of shih Wing Ching Foundation signed a cooperation agreement
Fig 23. The director of the center with the consultant of the International Rivers
Fig 24. The center with the Libyan Ministry of Agriculture Project Officers discuss de-desertification project
Fig 25. The director Dr. Ding (Right), the UNESCO Chair of ICT4D, Tim Unwin (Left) and the director of UNIDO International Solar Energy Center Wenhua Xi (Center)
9. Policy Advocacy
With the cooperation with the Legislative Affairs Work Committee of People's Congress of Gansu Province, the center successfully implemented the project “Legal advocacy for the gender-sensitive implementation of regulations of climate change addressing” funded by UN Women. The project innovatively formed 2 legislative liaison points in Lintao County and Jishishan County, Gansu Province, respectively and elected 100 legislative representatives, which played a good demonstration effect for the other provinces of China in implementing “public participation in legislation”. Totally, the center submitted two copies of research reports to the Gansu Provincial People's Congress and obtained senior official’s instructions, which laid an important foundation for advocating gender sensitivity in legislation.
A useful mode for the Household-based Poverty Reduction proposed by the center's director Professor Wenguang Ding has been reported by the People's Daily, Gansu Daily, Gansu Agriculture and other mainstream media. What's more, the mode provides a useful reference for the on-going poverty reduction projects in Gansu Province.
For the grassland ecosystem destruction in Gansu Province due to the new railway second lane from Lanzhou to Urumqi, the center's director Professor Wenguang Ding conducted a comprehensive impact assessment on implementation process and submitted an assessment report to the China Railway Company and the related government departments. The assessment report attracted great concern of "China Economic Weekly". Then the journal sent reporters together with the center’s staff to the construction sites for the verification assessment and conducted an in-depth coverage in the title of "Lan-Xin Railway’s illegal occupation of 10,000 mu (a Chinese unit of area equal to 1/15 hectare) Grassland in Gansu Province". After the publication on October 14, 2013, the report has been reprinted by more than 60 mainstream media such as Netease, Xinhua Net, People Net, Phoenix, China News, China Gansu news and Dahe News, which received thousands hits. The governor and the vice governor of Gansu Province have made instructions to the Gansu Provincial Development and Reform Commission, Gansu Provincial Department of Environmental Protection, Gansu Provincial Animal Husbandry Department and other organizations to carry out a joint investigation and propose a solution. The advocacy activity played a positive role in promoting the protection of vulnerable grassland ecosystem. (http://paper.people.com.cn/zgjjzk/html/2013-10/14/content_1310671.htm )
In recent years, the center received the following honors and awards:
• Jan. 2014: The center was awarded “Community Participation Award” by One Foundation.
• August 2013: The Disaster Management Project the center implemented won the “2013 China Civil Relief Contribution Award” issued by the One Foundation and Oriental Outlook.
• April 2013: The center director Professor Ding won the “Science Advanced Worker of Gansu Province"”jointly awarded by the Gansu Provincial Promotion Department, the Gansu Provincial Science and Technology Department and Gansu Provincial Science and Technology Association.
• March 2013: The book written by Wenguang Ding, FH Chen and Zhongren Nan –“A Study on Nature & Social Environment and Poverty Crisis in Gansu Province” won the third prize (Humanities and Social Sciences) of “The Sixth Scientific Research Award for Outstanding Achievements”.
• March 2013: The center director Professor Ding was awarded the “2012 Lanzhou University Advanced Individual in implementation of Household-based Poverty Reduction Project”.
• March 2013: The Disaster Management Project implemented by the center won the Enterprise Mobilization Award of “2012 One Foundation Warmth Package Action”.
• December 2012: The project implemented by the center “Using innovative modes to promote the sustainable development of poor rural communities” won the Finalist Award of “The Second China Social Innovation Award”.
• December 2012: The center was granted 4A Level of Social Organization by the Civil Affairs Department of Gansu Province.
Fig 26. The center was granted the medal - "The first project unit supported by central financial government for social organizations to participate in social development projects in Gansu Province" by Gansu Provincial Department of Civil Affairs
• May 2012: The project “Promoting rural poor communities to address climate change through PPP Mode” implemented by the center won the “2012 Welfare Innovation Award” offered by Intel Corporation.
• January 2012: The project “ Creating a New Disaster Management Mode based on Win-Win Cooperation Model” implemented by the center won “Organization and Action Award” offered by One Foundation.
• June 2011: The center director Professor Ding won the “Individual Outstanding Contribution Award” jointly issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Vale = a Brazilian multinational corporation for the Vale Ecological Protection Innovation Public Participation Project in western China.
Fig 27. Professor Ding in Beijing on behalf of the winners of "Vale" Individual Outstanding Contribution Award to deliver the acceptance speech
Jan. 2011: The monograph written by Wenguang Ding, FH Chen and Zhongren Nan “A Study on Nature & social Environment and Poverty Crisis in Gansu Province” published by Science Pressin China in 2008 won the first prize of the 12th Social Science Excellence Research of Gansu Province”.
• December 2010: “Community-based climate change addressing project in arid region of northwest China ” implemented by the center won the first prize on “Energy conservation, emission reduction, and environmental protection” of 2010 Ford Conservation & Environmental Grants.
Fig 28. Professor Ding in the Great Hall of People in Beijing
to receive Ford Environmental Award
July 2010: The center director Professor Wenguang Ding won the second prize of 2010 Environmental Science and Technology of Gansu Province for the implementation of the project “Eco-Environmental Policy and Poverty Crisis Research – A Case Study in Reforestation Project in the Loess Plateau region, Gansu Province”.
In recent years, Xinhua Net, People's Daily, Guangming Net, China Women's Daily, China Environmental News, China Economic Weekly, China News, Gansu Daily, Lanzhou Morning Post, the German magazine Der Spiegel and other domestic and international medias have conducted several interviews and depth reports of the projects implemented by the center for more than 100 times.
On July 31, 2013, the CCTV economic half-hour program “Earthquake Diary” covered a special report of the center on Minxian County relief and the executive director Xiaojun Hu was interviewed.
The micro-blog of Gansu Non-profitable Welfare Relief Alliance, led by our center, reported the disaster relief projects implemented in Minxian earthquake area. This micro-blog is forwarded nearly 7,000 times and the amount of reading is more than 70 million times, setting a micro-blog reading and forwarding records on social organizations involved in disaster relief.
Suite 303/504, Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University
No. 222, Tianshui South Road, Chengguan District of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China 730000
Tel: (86) 931-8915589, 8915537
Fax: (86) 931-8915589