BEIJING, June 20, 2007 – The 31 projects funded by the 1st China Development Marketplace were successfully completed after one year of implementation. On June 12, the heads of the participating NGOs gathered again in Chengdu to discuss their experience and lessons learned, and share the remarkable results of their innovative projects.
Joined them were representatives of the co-sponsors and partners, including the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development, Ministry of Finance, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and China NPO Network, as well as some representatives of the press.
The China DM-funded projects started implementation around March 2006, after the signing of the grant agreements with the World Bank and disbursement of the first tranche of funds. In order to ensure effective use of the grant funds and strengthen the capacity of the recipient NGOs in project management, the World Bank engaged Prof. Deng Guosheng, Director of the NGO Research Institute of Tsinghua University for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The China NPO Network also undertook the M&E of four projects. The recipient NGOs were required to submit quarterly progress reports and implementation completion reports. The M&E committee reviewed the reports and provided timely feedback to the NGOs. The M&E team also visited selected projects at mid-term and also after completion to check on the actual results and conduct financial auditing.
Prof. Deng made a presentation to the participants on the M&E findings, reviewing the achievements, identifying problems and offering advice for future improvement.
At the plenary, a number of the participants shared their successful experience, ranging from community participatory project implementation, financial management, information sharing and transparency, development of mutual help networks, beneficiaries' self management, to relationship building with the local government and media. Other participants also discussed their own experience and lessons in group discussions and during breaks.
Cao Hongmin, Division Chief of the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Alleviation and Development praised the achievements and innovative approach of the NGO projects and reaffirmed the right direction of the 1st China DM in supporting NGOs. "NGOs are playing an increasingly important role in China's fight against poverty," said Cao Hongmin. "NGOs can complement the government's efforts and supervise the use of public resources to ensure results." The NGO participants agreed that NGOs should support the government's development priorities, use their own strengths and grassroots connections, and diversify their sources of support, so as to achieve sustainability organizationally and in projects.
After the meeting, the participants visited one of the winner projects – Qingshen Education and Protection of Left-behind Children Project near Chengdu. With large numbers of farmers migrating to the cities for employment, how to manage the relationship and communication with their children left behind in the rural area has become a social concern. Under this project, the Qingshen Women's Federation mobilized volunteers in the rural villages to help these children communicate with their parents. They also worked with schools to provide special counseling to these children. In Qinggangping Village and Nancheng Middle School, the participants talked with the counselors as well as grandparents of the left-behind children. They were very impressed with the amount of efforts that the Qingshen Women's Federation put in this project. This is just one example of the projects funded by the 1st China Development Marketplace.
The Chengdu meeting marked a successful completion of the 1st China Development Marketplace.