The Chinese War on Poverty in a Keener Detail.

The Chinese War on Poverty in a Keener Detail.

Last week we looked at the efforts China is taking in fighting poverty in line with the seven targets set towards the attainment of the goal. The strength of her successes is at the moment anchored on the strong policy framework that it has put in place.

In the targeted approach, the national government has sent secretaries to the identified poor villages to be in touch on a one-on-one basis with the poor villagers. They are sent with clear cut objective on what to attain in line with poverty alleviation at the end of the period in which stay with those villagers.

Before we go any further, it is also important for us to know that there is a national team tasked with maintaining a database of all poor households within the Chinese borders. The team is in constant touch with those village secretaries who are in the frontline in the fight against poverty.

What this means is that there is a real time exchange of data between the two parties on what happens on a day-to-day basis. If for example, on household gets out of poverty today, the national database updates the system with that information.

It is also the task of the secretaries to notify the national team of any household that plunges into poverty so that at any point in time, the information contained in the system is up to date. This ensures that at all times the country is able gauge how much effort needs to be put forward to curtail the poverty menace and can at the same time be able to tell the government about the general state of her people.

The secretaries, who are paid by the national government, are tasked with visiting the individual poor households and getting to know about their state. They begin by getting the history of their family, how they ended up poor and also what they want to do in order to get out of their state.

If for example a poor household wants to get into poultry farming, it is the role of the village secretary to give them technical help by maybe connecting them with an expert and helping them get a subsidized funding for their venture through affordable loans or grants.

It goes a notch higher for them to ensure that the households don’t end up copying what their neighbors are doing.  If one of the households decides to do poultry farming, it should be in such a way that there is no oversupply due to untamed multiple poultry farms without ready market and as such end up with huge losses due to bad prices.

Looking closely at the approach, I did note a tremendous improvement in quite a number of areas especially in relation to biodiversity in China. In one case, an area that had degraded seriously and was facing drought was afforested and things changed instantly.

The secretary in that village decided to encourage the people live with the biodiversity in a symbiotic relationship. When the chicken moved in the areas, the droppings could act as manure and insects and worms could richly supplement the protein needs of the chicken.  

The people were also instructed to farm plants that didn’t necessitate clearing the forested areas but rather only those plants that assimilated well with the forests. It ended up ensuring that the village specialized in a specific line of products in line with the environmental needs of their area.

Out of such came a robust and well managed approach of management that seems not to be working well in Kenya called cooperatives. It is funny that when cooperatives are working miracles in other countries, to us they are just but a conduit of corruption and public funds misappropriation conduits.

Cooperatives are doing tremendously well in China and India in promoting sustainable local development and thus empowering many households towards being self-sustaining. Proper, trustable, visionary and responsible management are the greatest strengths for them.

Somehow, some of the measures working miracles for China are not any new to us. They are what we know only that the approach and implementation is what has changed. They decided to improve on their efficiency when we decided to sleep on our end and wait miracles to happen.

To understand the strength of what I am talking about, let me take another example that the Asian country is using that is helping them tremendously. It is called scientific based research approach. In other words, if the problem at hand is an issue worth noting, then the scientists come in handy.

One such is arid based agriculture. Scientists in the arid region of China are working tirelessly to turn the arid sand into agricultural soil. And as they do so, the poor people in those areas who dream of good soil go ahead and put it into good use. The plants that do well in such environment are also engineered to ensure maximum value output.

I remember Prof. Bitange Ndemo of the University of Nairobi say that as a country we should go ahead and build great infrastructural development and the investments will come. Its feasibility has been debated for quite some time but China seems to be giving it a try.

They started by strengthening their research in agriculture, biotechnology, biochemistry, soil science, forestry management and the like. What that has done is that people are becoming empowered to put the technology into use. They build the capacity and sooner or later the people realized the value that came along with that and the swung into action and have ended up reaping big.

That approach has worked a lot in ensuring that China moves out of the extreme poverty segment sooner than they thought. What started as a goal to be attained by 2030 seems to have been largely attained above the average goal by the start of this decade.

We too have a chance to make it happen. Why not do something about it?



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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