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What have Overseas NGOs brought to China?(2)

Thirdly, passing on new notions of charity has changed approaches to poverty alleviation in China. Overseas NGOs have not only brought China funding and technology, but they have also spread new ideas. For instance, during CANGO’s cooperation with overseas NGOs, the clash of eastern and western cultures led to a change in several traditional and inappropriate local concepts. When staff from overseas NGOs set foot in rural China, they sometimes find it hard to understand Chinese people’s enthusiasm and sincerity. For example, a foreign NGO worker once went to a poverty-stricken county to conduct surveys and design projects. When he stepped into the dining hall of the county government, he was very surprised at the lavish reception dinner. Actually, I also felt uneasy while at the dinner table. During our conversation, he told me the following: “Iwill never come back since I don’t know whether our funds will be eaten up by them or not.” This case fully showcases the difference between eastern and western cultures. Especially the remote and impoverished regions seem to get stuck in a vicious circle of “the more they eat, the poorer they become”. Objectively speaking, it’s a cultural difference. The poverty-stricken county had no money, and they wanted to get help from foreigners. They thought a bountiful reception would bring them money and projects. Later I explained to the foreign guest and asked if he could give them one more chance to change his impression. Two years after the initiation of the project, we returned to the same county in question.This time we ate a bowl of noodles. He understood and smiled. Hospitality is an advantage of oriental culture. Through practice, local Chinese people have proven that they can learn from the essence of western culture, which happens to be similar to the Chinese tradition of thrift and frugality.

Fourthly, overseas cooperation has nurtured professional NGOs and talents working for international poverty-elimination. Through program cooperation with overseas NGOs, I have found that they place a great emphasize on organizational construction and the cultivation of talents. Once the traditional mechanisms are abandoned, the basic level construction of organizations becomes very important. For instance, in Yilong county, Sichuan province, through the implementation of the project of Germany’s Caritas CANGO helped establish the Yilong County Development Association and the Yilong county Zhanggong village’s Comprehensive Community Development Association. CANGO itself provides another example. It has gradually cultivated devoted professionals who understand international conventions, program governance and the characteristics of China. Viewed from the basic level, the projects assisted by overseas NGOs have opened up a new channel for grassroots level (in other words, county level) international economic and technological exchange. These programs also broadened the local leaders’ and the people’s vision, and helped nurture managerial talents so as to implement projects assisted by overseas NGOs. Since its establishment 23 years ago, CANGO has trained more than 10,000 program managerial professionals through cooperation with overseas NGOs, which has played a positive role in nurturing local talents for Chinese NGOs.
The above conclusions are far from sufficient, and I hope more friends will write to support or supplement my views. All in all, overseas NGOs have brought a positive influence to China’s economic and social development. They have played a significant role, especially in promoting poverty-alleviation in China and the healthy development of Chinese NGOs.