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Oxfam supported its long-term partner Green Watershed in Boduoluo Village in Lijiang, Yunnan, to implement programmes on sustainable resource development and water access management so that the livelihoods of the villagers – who lack natural resources – can be improved. The programme includes providing support for the village to set up women’s groups, and offer handicraft workshops. Green Watershed was awarded the UNDP’s Equator Prize 2015 for their outstanding work on the watershed integrated management programme. Photo: Poon Wai-nang/Oxfam Volunteer Photographer

China is the first country that met the UN target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, but the social factors that leave people at risk of falling into or back into poverty are showing a diverse and complex trend. As such, policy research serves a very important role in pooling resources together to implement an effective poverty reduction policy. Oxfam puts much emphasis on empirical research, action research and policy advocacy, and commits to promoting the alleviation and elimination of poverty problems at the institutional level. We are mainly concerned about the following three areas: empirical research on significant national poverty reduction policies, policy feedback based on action research, and the sharing of case studies and experience nationally and internationally.

The story of Boduoluo Village

I’m thankful for Oxfam’s work. It’s allowed me to improve my family’s life by growing Chinese medicinal herbs. I’ve also been able to buy several yaks, so I’m earning a more stable income now.

Yang Jixiang, resident of Boduoluo Village in Yunnan Province which is comprised of the Yi ethnic group, still remembers how deforestation devastated the village. The damaged ecosystem accelerated the decline of the agricultural and husbandry industries, and as a result, villagers’ incomes dropped drastically, leaving them in poverty.

As such, since 2000, Oxfam and Green Watershed have been implementing a series of research and livelihood improvement projects. These have helped to conserve over 1,300 hectares of forest; villagers now grow Chinese medicinal herbs, which have helped the village become more self-sufficient as they no longer need to rely on compensation from the conversion of farmland into forestland and grassland.

Through these projects, villagers have successfully overcome poverty and, having participated in the decision-making process during the project, are now more conscious about environmental conservation. Many female villagers have even become community ambassadors who promote cultural and ecological tourism. Not only do they earn a bit of extra income through this, but they’re also able to make use of their cultural talent.

Green Watershed was awarded with the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize 2015 in recognition of its work.

Photo: Poon Wai-nang / Oxfam