Foreign firms support infrastructure needs in poverty-stricken areas

Tangible contributions enhance villagers' access to basic transport, power, water and communication services
Edited by Hu Jun and Zhong Youyang.

Infrastructure serves as the backbone of any country and investments in infrastructure are the key to ending poverty as they help improve people's life quality, generate jobs and boost the region's economic growth. 

Lack of access to transport, electricity, drinking water and communications, among others, seriously hinders the social and economic development of poverty-stricken areas. 

In the following cases, we will find how foreign-invested companies made their own approach to respond to the country's immense infrastructure needs which have played a pivotal role in the country's battle against poverty. 

A comprehensive range of infrastructure improvements has resolved many historical problems trapping poor areas in poverty, facilitated the flows of personnel, logistics, knowledge and information between poor areas and the outside world, and provided solid support for social and economic development in impoverished areas.

Foreign firms support infrastructure needs in poverty-stricken areas
Ti Gong

An Emerson-sponsored water supply project was put into use in Xundian, Yunnan Province. 

Emerson: Water Cellar For Mothers

The uneven distribution of water resources in China, especially in the central and western regions, has been plaguing the lives of local people, threatening the health of villagers and the development of the local agricultural industry. After learning of these difficulties, Emerson, a global technology and engineering company, decided to join the Water Cellar for Mothers project launched by the China Women's Development Foundation, a charity initiative since 2001 that is mainly conducted through donation of water supply facilities.

Emerson set up a special project team comprised of company management and employees to be responsible for implementation of the project. During an inspection trip in Yunnan Province, the project team found that many water cellars along the roads, which were also donated by charity, were abandoned as they lacked continuous water supply.

To ensure that the water cellars to be donated by Emerson could bring continuous clean water to local villagers, the project team flies to the project site to inspect the water source during the dry season before the project is approved. The team also checks with professional construction companies about the quality requirements and market prices of pipes for transporting water. Upon completion of the water cellar, the project team would invite volunteers from the management team and employees from business departments across the country to inspect the project. The company also evaluates the project two years after its completion to make sure the water supply system is in good condition and the system brings practical assistance to villagers.

So far, Emerson has invested more than 7 million yuan (US$1.06 million) to set up 12 centralized water supply facilities in Yunnan. These benefit nearly 8,000 villagers in the central and southern part of the province where villagers are short of drinking water.

Foreign firms support infrastructure needs in poverty-stricken areas
Ti Gong

School children dance under the solar streetlights. 

Signify: Lighting Up Lives And Countryside

In partnership with the China Environmental Protection Foundation, world's leading lighting company Signify visited from November 9 to 11, 2016, the villages of Kalayoulegun, Aqikebailidu, Guosasi and Ta'er'agezi in Kekeya Township, Yecheng County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to conduct and complete approvals for the "Light Up the Future" public service program. The program adopted environmentally-friendly and energy-saving lighting solutions and donated 140 solar-powered LED streetlights and 2,904 LED bulbs to the four villages suffering short supply of electricity. The donation solved the road lighting problem at night and improved lighting conditions for local families, benefiting nearly 6,000 people in 1,500 households.

On December 12, 2016, Signify held a donation ceremony at Huilong Town Central Primary School in Zhongjiang County in Deyang City of Sichuan Province. It donated 416 lighting equipment items for three primary and secondary schools in Deyang. The donation, a demonstration of the "Lighting Improvement in Primary and Middle Schools in Midwest" project conducted under the guidance of the China Association of Lighting Industry, improved the lighting conditions in all 52 classrooms and benefited nearly 3,000 students and teachers.

In August 2017, Signify supported the "Green Light Poverty Alleviation for Thousands of Impoverished Households" public welfare project and donated LED lighting products to Xundian and Luquan counties in Kunming, Yunnan Province, involving nearly 3,000 households and benefiting more than 10,000 people. The project aimed to apply environmentally-friendly and energy-saving lighting products to help families in poverty-stricken areas. To reduce the electricity costs and improve the lighting conditions, Signify donated 8,000 LED bulbs and 200 pendant lamps and table lamps to the impoverished families and sent volunteers to provide on-site service.

Guzhang County, located in the remote mountainous area in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, didn't come out of poverty until February 2020. In the past, the streets there usually became empty after the sun went down because there was no streetlight, and villagers had to walk in the dark with the help of a torch. The lack of streetlights also presented hidden dangers to the elderly, many of whom lived in Longwanghu Village. In 2018, the China Environmental Protection Foundation and Signify China Investment Co Ltd launched the "Green Lighting up the Future" project in Guzhang County. From 2019 to 2020, Signify donated a total of 200 solar streetlights worth one million yuan (US$154,700) to Longwanghu and Bengshan villages in Guzhang County and provided technical services, including installation, completion acceptance and testing, to guarantee their smooth operation.

Foreign firms support infrastructure needs in poverty-stricken areas
Ti Gong

"The Road to the Sky" has helped shorten the time for herdsmen to travel to and from the pasture from three days to three hours.

Case Introduction: The Road To The Sky

Severely damaged by the Ya'an earthquake in 2013, the infrastructure in Lushan, Sichuan Province, was in urgent need of reconstruction. Apple, a global leader in innovation with major products including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, cooperated with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation to build seven roads and an irrigation system, directly benefiting more than 8,800 people.

Among these reconstructions, a road called "The Road to the Sky" located in Gaari Village of Dawaganza of Qiaoqi Tibetan Township in Sichuan's Baoxing County, helped shorten the time for herdsmen to travel to and from the pasture from three days to three hours. It not only brought convenience to local people but created opportunities for local tourism business as well. After completion of the road, more than 100 households in Gaari Village started developing their tourism business. Gaari Village finally moved out of poverty at the end of 2017 and Dawaganza has welcomed over 23,000 tourists since 2019, with the tourism output value in Qiaoqi Tibetan Township reaching some 58 million yuan (US$8.95 million). 

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