Project of Participatory Learning and Action Network Building by Environmental NGOs in Hainan for Sustainable Development in Coastal Communities
Project of Participatory Learning and Action Network Building by Environmental NGOs in Hainan for Sustainable Development in Coastal Communities
Baseline information:
In recent years, local environmental organizations in Hainan have developed rapidly and several active organizations, such as: China Blue, Duotan Institute of Wetland Research, Hainan Bird Watching Society, Blue Ribbon Marine Conservation Association, and the Squirrel School (a nature education organization), are paying heed to issues of sustainable development of coastal wetlands from different perspectives. The rich and unique ecosystem and social environment of the coastal zone Huiwen Town, has attracted organizations to continuously conduct various investigations and activities over the past few years. For example, Duotan and Bird Watching Society conducted observation activities, including watching bird, seagrass and horseshoe crab, benthic organisms and testing water quality in key waters for mangrove and seagrass bed ecosystems protection. From the perspective of fisheries and community livelihoods, China Blue investigated the scale, species, output and water extraction and drainage of nearby hatcheries and farms. In order to promote environmental education, the Squirrel School cooperated with local primary schools to carry out parent-child activities, like nature courses, nature observation notes.
Gradually, China Blue has come to realize that for Huiwen, there is a clear need for a paradigm shift from the extensive production mode (“those who live near water live off water”) towards sustainability. At the same time, CB is deeply aware that the paradigm shift for Huiwen calls for not only administrative leadership, but also social organizations in different fields to play the role of public mobilization, linking all parties, and creating synergy in all dimensions of the natural environment, economy, culture, and education in order to produce the most effective change. Therefore, in early 2021, representatives of the above-mentioned environmental organizations have agreed that it is a worthwhile joint initiative to establish a collaborative network of local social organizations, rooted in the concept of community-based participatory development, with the goal to build a sustainable coastal community. Such a collaborative network can make the best use of respective strengths of local social organizations, thus promoting the sustainable development transformation of Huiwen.
In previous work, local environmental organizations have formed a loose community where they share information and often have many informal exchanges on topics such as business techniques, team management, organizational development, and personal growth etc.. However, these organizations are concise of their bottlenecks, especially the lack of long-term working experience in rural communities.
Currently, the leaders and backbone of these environmental organizations in Hainan are mostly women, between 30-45, who have work interactions and share many common topics on personal leadership development, career and family balance. Women are considered to have the advantage of being more approachable and easily accepted when entering the community. Besides, women are better at perceiving and identifying key members in the community (especially women), capturing the needs of the community, and connecting such needs with their own experiences to create deep empathy, which further wins the recognition and trust of community members, and even inspires them to action. Additionally, these female leaders are particularly interested and passionate about how to enter the community, stimulate the community's endogenous power, and promote sustainable community development.
On the other side, owning to the recent inception of the environmental organizations, the NGOs generally lack mature community work methods and participatory working skills. The majority has only learned about community work cases and participatory approaches in a fragmented manner, and have acquired little knowledge and techniques in community development. Most practitioners in local NGOs only have half-baked knowledge of these skillsets and in most cases they know what they know but not knowing way they know it, not to mention the lack of repeat practices. Therefore, China Blue initially confirmed from individual interviews with local NGOs that they all would like to master community work methods systematically and comprehensively and put learned skills into practice. Based on the theory learning, local social groups can fully exploit their strengths to enhance female leadership in the community, and to explore opportunities to enter and activate the community from their own professional perspective, with an aim to find the most effective way to leverage community members to participate in environmental management and promote industrial transformation and upgrading.

Main problems: Huiwen wetlands", spreading from Bamen Bay to Fengjia Bay, in Wenchang, Hainan Province has been dubbed the "textbook tropical coast" for its rare, step distribution of mangrove forests, sea grass beds and coral reefs. Huiwen also becomes an important aquaculture area in Hainan and even in the whole country own to its excellent water quality environment, with a number of coastal ponds (nearly 10,000 acres of farming water) breeding grouper, Dongfeng snail, South American white shrimp. The local aquaculture has an output value of more than one billion yuan per year, but it relies heavily on small and medium-scale retail farming. It is evident that there exist conflicts between the ecological protection of coastal wetlands and the economic development of aquaculture.
Currently, the implementation of the coastal ecological and environmental protection policies by the government from top to bottom has faced many challenges. This is partly because the grassroots governments lack staff and professional knowledge to implement the policies. Besides, complex community composition and weak community consensus as a result of the influx of many newcomers attracted by the rapid development of the local aquaculture industry negatively affect the promotion of integrated coastal zone management, rural revitalization, and ecological civilization construction by the government. The management of water and drainage regulations for aquaculture, in particular, has been met with resistance from farmers whose farms were dismantled due to the enforcement of ecological red line, which has posed problems for the subsequent operations and maintenance of community environmental governance.
In fact, local farmers are the direct beneficiaries of a better coastal environment as aquaculture activities are heavily influenced by water quality; however, most farmers do not understand or ignore, whether inadvertently or intentionally, the close relationship between water for farming and the surrounding coastal ecosystem. In this context, the government hopes to fully enlist the help of social organizations, especially their advantages of social mobilization and public-oriented communication to spread the scientific knowledge to local farmers that ecological environment is compatible with development of aquaculture industry, as well as explore innovative development models. Such models should be built upon the existing action aera of the government, including party-and-mass work, women and children work in order to broaden community participation and raise the awareness of environmental protection among locals.
Based on preliminary discussion, local social organizations have a similar vision for the future that is to form an organized, patterned, and effective long-term social governance linkage mechanism in Huiwen where ecosystem are attached to vital importance and have a direct impact on local livelihoods. The social governance mechanism will be established through community work methods and skills based on a full understanding of the principles and goals of community development and carry out government-directed, social organization-assisted, community-driven actions, with the aim to raise the local community’s awareness of wetland conservation and increase its willingness to cooperate with the government's ecological conservation and environmental management efforts.
Therefore, we propose to build a learning and action network of community participatory work methods and collaborative leadership among environmental organizations in Hainan. The network, with women as core members, will encourage other members of the community, especially women who learn by do to develop community partnerships and identify opportunities for community action in the community around the Huiwen wetlands. The ultimate goal of the network is to put at least one joint initiative into practice within two years that integrates themes around ecological conservation, nature education, green farming etc. to strengthen community participation involved in the conservation of coastal wetlands.

Activities:
Activity 1.
Engage a third party to customize and develop a set of courses with no less than 4 workshops and 2 study tours designed for core members (no less than 15 people) of at least 5 local social organizations in Hainan
Activity 2.
Network members develop a common action plan and put it into practice
2.1 Network members work in groups to co-create action programs and select a community in Huiwen to land, with an aim to increase the willingness of community members to involve into environmental governance activities.
2.2 Engage a third party to conduct learning effectiveness assessment (process monitoring and follow-up assessment)
Activity 3.
Promote and share project results
3.1 Hold a sharing session in cooperation with the civil affairs department of Hainan Province, domestic social organization platforms, etc.
3.2 Summarize and refine the learning contents and experience, and develop a toolkit to share the learning and action experience to other social organizations through various channels, online and offline, such as posts of WeChat public account and videos
3.3 Prepare and publish one overall learning and action project report
Anticipated outcomes:
1. Hainan's environmental organizations have significantly increased their awareness of community and multi-stakeholder cooperation, and have a willingness to engage in network cooperation and to facilitate dialogue and explore cooperation mechanisms (effectiveness at learning level)
2.Increased use of community-based participatory techniques, tools, and cross-disciplinary collaboration in the daily work of environmental organizations in Hainan, and improve the ability to build connections and dialogue with all parties, resulting in effective joint action (effectiveness at behavioral-level)
3.Greater acceptability of community participatory work among social organization practitioners in Hainan Province, and increased willingness to act collaboratively among organizations
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Hainan Zhiyu Sustainability Science and Technology Development Research Center
Country:
China
Area Of Work:
CapDev
Grant Amount:
US$ 0.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 81,119.22
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
CPR/DLF/CD/2021/04
Status:
Currently under execution
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
In the process of community research, project design and implementation, they will also pay special attention to the mobilization of women in the community, as well as the needs and feedback of children and children that women are more concerned about. Through the capacity building of the project, female NGO leaders will master the methods of community work, possess more comprehensive collaborative leadership, gain a richer social network, and at the same time, they can also establish in-depth connections with community members, especially women and children.
Gender Focus
The No. of participating Male is 200 and the No. of participating Female 120. The main participants in this project are mostly female leaders, and most of the key members are women. In the process of community research, project design and implementation, they will also pay special attention to the mobilization of women in the community, as well as the needs and feedback of children and children that women are more concerned about. Through the capacity building of the project, female NGO leaders will master the methods of community work, possess more comprehensive collaborative leadership, gain a richer social network, and at the same time, they can also establish in-depth connections with community members, especially women and children. ; And community women will also take this opportunity to understand and realize the broader social forces and social development vision, which can inspire them to have more beautiful imaginations about the development of individuals, families and communities.
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SGP Country office contact

Ms. Yi Liu
Phone:
86 10 85320731
Email:
Ms. Meijia Lu
Phone:
+861085320743
Email:

Address

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