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Volunteer Stations to Close the “Last One Mile” Gap in Poverty Reduction, 2013-09-09 14:40:09

By Lu Ziwei and Lin Hui
Recently, Panasonic signed a cooperation agreement with China Social Entrepreneur Foundation (YouChange) to donate 1.7 million RMB yuan to support poverty reduction in China, including the construction of volunteer stations. We learn that volunteer stations based in rural areas have provided a new way to close the gap in the “last one mile” in poverty reduction by the non-public sector.
The non-public sector can expand resources and improve outcome in poverty reduction. It plays an important supplementary role in the government-led poverty reduction and development system. The non-public sector can fully leverage resources from all sections of the society and involve the general public in this endeavor. However, it faces challenges in deepening and sustaining its poverty reduction efforts and lacks regular organizations and channels.
According to YouChange Chairperson Wang Ping, volunteer stations aim to provide networks and channels for sustainable poverty reduction volunteer services. Based in rural communities, volunteer stations conduct research on the needs of local communities, introduce mature charity projects, organize diverse volunteer services in poor places, and provide other services such as human resources, charity logistics and information sharing with the objective to close the “last one mile” gap in poverty reduction by the non-public sector.
In recent years, YouChange has spent more than 20 million yuan in the R&D of its volunteer station model and built 70 volunteer stations. While supporting the construction of volunteer stations, Panasonic will organize no less than 2,500 volunteers to work for education and poverty reduction in poor rural areas. It is expected that more than 10,000 people will benefit.
Zheng Kaiwen, Deputy Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (CPAD), said that YouChange-Panasonic partnership will add more substance to poverty reduction by the non-public sector in China and further improve the poverty reduction and development mechanism. CPAD will continue to support and serve businesses in their endeavor of poverty reduction.
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