Nature- & Culture- based training and education

June 21, 2017

Hong Kong Placeholder
Hong Kong

Nature- & Culture- based training and education

About the Implementing organization

Name: Indigenous Hakka community of Lai Chi Wo Village

Country: China

Year of establishment: 2013

Type of organization: Indigenous group or organization

Description

The Programme uses the whole Lai Chi Wo Village and its catchment as the training hub for sustainable development incubation and environmental education which focus on our relationship with nature and aim to transfer knowledge in rural sustainability.

Apart from conventional methods, capacity building for community leaders and public members with a “learning by doing” or experiential learning approach is provided. The leadership and the internship programmes allow participants to learn and practice eco-farming, nature conservation and oral history interviews on site. Curriculum-based education programmes have been introduced to secondary school students to provide experiential learning opportunities and mainstream the idea of rural sustainability. Educational day camps are also organized for children, underprivileged families and students with special educational needs.

With the help from the trained community leaders and volunteers, a row of dilapidated village structures was restored with traditional methods and local materials. The renewed complex now serves as a venue for training, exhibition as well as a community gathering. The first traditional paddy farming themed exhibition in Hong Kong has been set up. These are all facilitated by the indigenous community.

A pool of determined community leaders is established. They are equipped with the skills, knowledge and attitudes for sustainable revitalization of rural communities in Hong Kong that goes beyond the village.

Nature Element

Forests / Coasts / Wetlands / Rivers / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Pollution prevention, clean up / Invasive species / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

            

Environmental Impacts

A wide spectrum of participants and supporters and most importantly the indigenous villagers have been successfully engaged through the training and education activities: Over 60 leaders were trained in the leadership programmes; More than 350 students participated in the internship programmes; Over 4,500 students and 165 teachers joined the education and training programmes; More than 2,800 members of the public and an additional 479 from the deprived community also participated in the educational activities.

The engaged individuals and groups have fostered a stronger sense of community and environmental stewardship for the rural and cultural environment in Lai Chi Wo and beyond. Key decision-makers and the change agents in the society have gradually developed social trust and belief that rural areas in Hong Kong do have the potential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals initiated by the United Nations through making our communities and the environment more resilient.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Capacity building for the indigenous community and potential new settlers is an important objective of the leadership programme. The programme leaders are now divided into working groups to carry out eco-tour guiding, community research, farming and infrastructure enhancement works in Lai Chi Wo. The enhancement works aims to maintain livelihood, improve food and water security and disaster management under climate change. Renewable energy is used in some of the farm facilities. With the support of the Programme’s partner, the Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, a social enterprise was founded by indigenous villagers to conserve Lai Chi Wo in a sustainable manner.

The Lai Chi Wo Village also provides a suitable field site for urban community members to participate in nature and culture education. Sustainable living is one of the key components of the training and education programmes. The sense of sustainable living has been strengthened as shown in the feedbacks from the participants.

Scalability

The Programme has triggered a positive attention among all stakeholders in the Hong Kong society towards the sustainable revitalization of rural areas and villages. A strong consensus has been developed for the sustainability potentials of rural areas with high ecological and cultural value.

As urbanization is taking place in China and villagers are moving to cities, traditional farming villages transform. As a result, the connection between human and nature, which is best demonstrated in farming practices, is often forgotten. It is critical to conserve the villages’ environment and culture before they are lost and educate people about rural sustainability through training and education programmes.

An alternative development model concerning the sustainability of rural area is the key to future food and water security. Training and education play a vital role in promoting rural sustainability and capacity building for indigenous people of villages in China.

Replicability

Leaders recruited for the leadership programmes have gone through tailor-made training and coaching so that they become the change agents spreading the knowledge and skills to other parts of Hong Kong.

Lai Chi Wo Village is one of the 77 enclaves in Hong Kong which are surrounded by protected areas. Villages with settings similar to Lai Chi Wo can make reference to it as a model for revitalization. Some villages near Lai Chi Wo, such as So Lo Pun have approached the project team to explore revitalization opportunity for the villages.

We truly believe that the Programme is translating the ideology of sustainable development into reality through training and education and it is replicable. Discussions have been taken place with related departments of the HKSAR Government on the importance of facilitating socio-economic innovations models at the rural communities. It is believed that Lai Chi Wo and the nearby villages will be a suitable base where innovations can be incubated.

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