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Grassroots NGOs staged at crossroads

By Jiao Meng (

15:20, April 02, 2012

An Zhu, CEO of Aiju Social Innovation, explains his new project- 1 kg boxes - in a salon Friday in Beijing. It's a box containing materials and instructions which help rural teachers and volunteers carry out different activities such as reading, drama, painting and handiwork. ( Meng)

China's grass-root NGOs are being urged to upgrade their fund raising, publicity and marketing capabilities to face new challenges and opportunities, said NGO experts and practitioners in a salon held on Friday in Beijing.

The non-government organization (NGO) landscape has been subject to intense external pressures and changes over the past five years. With the explosive development of grass-root organizations in China after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, China has dealt with declining levels of foreign financial aid; decreased regulations; flourishing social media platforms and scandals in public office.

Co-organized by the Social Resources Institute and British Council, the salon invited several NGO presidents and attracted over 100 attendees to discuss how to brace for continued change and transformation.

Challenging situation

In the past two decades, developed countries and international organizations have contributed over US$116.1 billion in financial aid to China. This money has been used to create projects in education, environment, health, rural development and poverty reduction, China's Caixin magazine reported.

With the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, many western countries have reduced or cancelled their aid packages to China, citing a decreased financial capability to offer economic assistance. In real terms, aid in US dollars has also lost value due to the RMB's gradual appreciation on international currency markets.

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