Pucheng County Women's Sustainable Development Association
We have provided funds to support the Pucheng County Women's Sustainable Development Association. Pucheng County is north-west of Xi'an, in Shaanxi Province, and is one of the poorest counties in China. These funds are being used to provide microfinance loans to women in the county, whose husbands are, in most cases, away working in other parts of the country. We visited Pucheng on 10 March 2010 - see below for a report of this - and for an additional update in late 2010.
The ultimate goal of each loan is to raise the income level of the women and their families, as well as raising their educational and social status. Typical uses include agriculture, to purchase fertiliser, seeds or animals, and small businesses such as selling street food and handicrafts.
This project is in line with UN Millennium Development Goal 1, which aims to "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger", and Goal 3, which aims to "Promote gender equality and empower women".
We classify this as a social enterprise award. For more on our interest in "social enterprise", see this page.
Founded over 70 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest international development agencies in the world, working in 49 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. Plan works with children, their families, communities, organisations and local governments to implement programmes at grassroots level in health, education, water and sanitation, income generation and cross-cultural communication.
The Pucheng County Women's Sustainable Development Association (PCWSDA) was formed in 2005 to provide loans and business training to poor residents, to help them establish and develop small businesses. To date it has disbursed over 4,000 loans, totalling more than RMB5.3m (approximately £500,000) to over 1,800 households. It has experienced a 100% repayment record. These efforts have increased household income by up to 50%, leading to increased childhood education, better nutrition, health care and housing, and fostered a greater sense of hope, self-esteem and independence.
Sweet pears are one of the main products of Pucheng County
The Association provides business training as well as loan funds
Every loan and repayment is carefully documented
Photos courtesy of PCWSDA
Pucheng County has one of the lowest per-capita income levels in China. The county is in an arid, drought-prone region. Agriculture remains the predominant source of income, mostly at a subsistence level.
PCWSDA's competent management and strong operations have been developed through the leadership and seed capital provided by Plan International (China) and other foreign and domestic donors. Plan China, together with the Pucheng County Women's Federation, has worked with PCWSDA to develop a business plan and operations handbook, as well as computerised loan systems and data bases.
Outcomes and lessons
From our award, loans have now been made to a total of 21 households, according to a further report received from PCWSDA in November 2010. The first 10 loans made in spring 2009 were repaid by spring 2010, and a second batch has now been offered to new clients. The women are developing a variety of businesses including fruit orchards, corn, cotton, pigs and sheep.
Yue Xing 9 village, home to most of the borrowers we support
A street in Yue Xing 9 village
A vegetable plot in Yue Xing 9
We visited Pucheng County on 10 March 2010, and met several of the local women supported by our grant. For example, we met one lady who took out a loan to buy sheep to raise for their wool and their meat. She sold 40 sheep in 2009 and has 25 now. Another lady used a loan to buy a female pig, and rears pigs for their meat. She also has honey bees and grows various vegetables. And a third lady has 4 mu of pear trees (a mu is a Chinese acre, equal to 667 sq m) - she used the loan to buy fertiliser and bags to protect the pears. All three ladies have increased their income through these farming projects.
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This page was last updated on 28 December 2011.
The Blackford Trust, c/o Gillespie Macandrew LLP (B.12891.1), 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 8EJ, Scotland, United Kingdom