Where We Work

Guangxi

Map of Guangxi

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Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has always been very rural. As the saying goes, Guangxi is "eight parts mountain, one part water, one part land;" and even today, 60 per cent of the population lives in the countryside. But there are many challenges to sustainable rural living: land scarcity, soil denudation, ecological degradation, loss of forest and arable land, climate change and all kinds of natural disasters. Large numbers of villagers now work in the cities and are introducing urban mainstream lifestyles to rural areas. This has resulted in the disappearance of precious cultural traditions in the name of economic development. Everywhere, 'development' seems to be regarded as synonymous with 'commercialisation'.

The focus of PCD's early projects in Guangxi was to promote participatory methods and support sustainable livelihoods, while introducing a cultural perspective. In doing so, we established strong collaborative ties with local partners. Later we focused on facilitating local experiments in alternative forms of sustainable living, grounded in cultural and life values.

Guangxi Programmes Focus on Three Areas

Guangxi programmes focus on three areas: Ecological Agriculture, Sustainable Living Network and Traditional Knowledge and Innovation.

Ecological Agriculture

The Ecological Agricultural programmes aim to restore and improve the production and daily living chains within a community, enhance community self-reliance and facilitate new farmers * to form a strong force to lead their community to explore ways of sustainable living.

Various programme strategies are adopted. In those areas where traditional farming culture has been well preserved, we facilitate communities to be aware of traditional ecological concepts and take actions to revive and conserve the ecology. We continue our efforts to explore ecological agriculture practices and innovation with the incorporation of traditional farming wisdom in those areas where soil denudation occurs, making use of various elements such as preserving old crop varieties, family farming and livestock rearing, and combining production, processing and internal circulation of food. Various methods are used to facilitate our partners and communities knowing more about the ecological and cultural functions of farming. We also motivate communities to reflect on the meaning of self-reliance; support new farmers to practice ecological agriculture and exchange and learn relevant knowledge; and make use of farmers’ markets as a platform to foster urban-rural interactions which are driven by the issue of food.

Sustainable Living Network

In the city of Nanning PCD has helped set up a network for learning about sustainable living in cities. Issues of nature education, food and environmental problems are entry points for motivating imagination and actions. Programme strategies include: motivating passions towards nature through nature education and translating such passions into daily life practices and actions for serving the community; enhancing exchanges between the Guangxi work team and Nanning organisations and groups to reflect on issues such as food miles, food security and environmental problems; supporting various sustainable practices such as urban farming or the inheritance of handicraft skills; promoting exchanges and interactions regarding sustainable living practices and hence creating networks for mutual support.

Traditional Knowledge and Innovation

We attempt to restore or construct mechanisms for preserving traditional wisdom and community spirit, and enhance the awareness and capacity of communities in exploring sustainable living proactively. Programme strategies include: supporting communities to learn about local history, traditional organisations, community values and traditional knowledge and facilitating relevant cross-community exchanges; fostering the restoration of traditional organisations; supporting community actions which are conducive to reviving and inheriting community spirit and cultural values; and recording local culture and memories of cities under rapid urbanisation.


Note:
* 'New farmers' refers to a group of farmers distinguished from farmers in a general sense who make a living by farming. The new farmers include university graduates originating from rural areas; young rural returnees who have reflected on the way of life in cities; youngsters from cities who migrate to rural areas to rent land for practicing ecological agriculture; and the new generations of farmer workers returning to their rural home from cities to engage in farming. All of them aspire to work in rural areas and promote ecological agriculture.

Theme photo of Guangxi