Established in 1999, the Center for Community Development Studies (CDS) is an NGO based in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The objectives of the center are to further rural development in Southwest China as well as to represent the voice of local communities in policy making. CDS activities are focused on natural resource management, community livelihood security and village self-governance.
CDS is currently conducting the project "Improving Livelihood Security Through Developing Markets in Poor Upland Areas" with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
CDS Communications Officer Peita Spence explains the project:
"Upland rural households are amongst the poorest in China, especially in Yunnan. Challenged by an inhospitable climate and geology, low education level and access to welfare, they often have difficulties sustaining a livelihood. In addition, in many instances, they lack marketable products.
"This market development and capacity building project aims to improve the opportunities of ethnic minority women in the poor upland regions of Yunnan to actively contribute to the livelihood security of their families by cooperating with partners in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand to promote market access for their local embroidery.
"The first site for this project was the village of Malutang, located in Jingping county by the border with Vietnam. Malutang is a village with a distinctive ethnic culture where the annual GDP per capita is less than 600 yuan (US$75). There, with increased population pressure, shrinking available farming land has meant low production within a context of limited income sources.
"Embroidery, traditionally handed down from their ancestors, has always been an important part of Hani women's life. Therefore, both the handicraft and the cultural customs have been ideally preserved, giving this project great potential.
"Ultimately, this project aims to empower these Hani women to use this unique indigenous knowledge to benefit their entire household."
CDS will have a booth at TCG/Nordica's Christmas Fair tomorrow (Saturday, December 2) selling Hani embroidered crafts to benefit this project.
Center for Community Development Studies
Old Campus, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences
133 Qixiang Road, Kunming, 650032
Telephone: (0871) 4184058