Mercy Relief has strengthened the capacity-building process of rural Sichuanese communities with the implementation of two sustainable development projects. The successful completion of these projects was commemorated at an inauguration ceremony earlier today.

Held at one of the project locations at Dong Feng Township in Yan Jiang County, the inauguration ceremony was graced by Mercy Relief’s Advisor Abdullah Tarmugi, and Ms Shi Qian, Director of project partners Ziyang Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (ZFPA).

MR fostering friendships with the villagers

(L-R) Fostering Friendships – Ms Shi Qian, Mrs and Mr Abdullah Tarmugi and Mr Hassan Ahmad sharing a conversation with the villagers.

The S$600,000 projects were developed in tandem with assistance from ZFPA and tailored for Dong Feng Township, as well as Fei’e Village of Jian Yang County, to address the specific issues that had been stifling the villages’ economic progression amidst asphyxiating environmental conditions.

The villagers of Dong Feng Township had previously been affected by contaminated water wells and dried-up water tables, which made for a shortage of potable water, and consequently unhygienic living conditions. Starting from December 2009, Mercy Relief revamped the entired water-well system, boring 574 new wells capable of delivering 3m3 of potable water daily (the average household uses a daily average of 2m3 of water), thus providing a fresh supply of potable water via a new piping system to every household in five villages of the township.

fresh potable water source for the Dong Feng villagers

Clean, drinking water has been made available for every household under the purview of Mercy Relief’s development project at Dong Feng

Dong Feng Township now thrives from its new-found water supply, which has improved sanitary conditions and also enhances livelihood possibilities like using the water for poultry farming for 2,301 villagers.

Prior to Mercy Relief’s project implementation in December 2009, the 1,025 villagers of Fei’e Village were living in an unfavourable sanitation environment where human and animal excrement were not managed properly – a hygiene issue exacerbated by the prevalence of open-pit toilets. Through the installation of biogas digestors serving all 224 households, an efficient waste management system was thus developed where the excrement is stored in the digestors underground and used to harvest biogas fuel, which is used as alternate fuel for cooking and lighting via the provision of biogas cookers and lamps. The residue excrement from the digestors is also used to fertilise the villagers’ crops – their main source of income.

This has generated savings for the villagers, from not having to use electricity from the grid for lighting, and encouraging them to abstain from the environmentally-unfriendly practices of buying coal and wood for cooking and chemical fertiliser for farming. More importantly, the project has revamped the sanitation environment to minimise the outbreak of epidemy in otherwise unhygienic conditions.

biogas prototype

The biogas digestor which has provided alternate and free biogas fuel for Fei’e Village

villagers with biogas lamp

Lighting is now available for free at the village via the usage of biogas lamps, saving the villagers the cost of buying electricity from the grid.

villager with biogas cooker

The harvested biogas being used for cooking – an environmentally-friendly alternative to the previous practice of using coal and wood.

Fei'e villager at digestor

Besides lighting and cooking, the reisude excrement in the biogas digestor is used to fertilise the villagers’ crops.

The projects underline Mercy Relief’s holistic approach to addressing water and sanitation, and livelihood issues as part of its sustainable development efforts in China.

Its Chief Executive Hassan stressed on the significance of peacetime development projects, saying that they “strengthen the disaster-mitigating capabilities of the rural communities, who are most exposed to disaster and epidemy risk. As poverty breeds vulnerability, the economic capacity-building from such initiatives therefore stand the communities in good stead for a better future.”

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org