Nature- & Culture- based training and education
About the Implementing organization
Name: Indigenous Hakka community of Lai Chi Wo Village
Year of establishment: 2013
Type of organization: Indigenous group or organization
The “Sustainable Lai Chi Wo Programme” uses an agricultural-led approach for community revitalization. Agricultural rehabilitation is conducted in terraced farmlands and irrigation system abandoned over 30 years. Farmlands and irrigation channels have been restored according to the villagers’ local knowledge. There are now active agricultural activities covering about 5 hectares of land in Lai Chi Wo.
Eco-farming practice is adopted by the farming partnership among indigenous villagers, new comers and the project team. Paddy rice is strategically selected as the main crop for agricultural rehabilitation to enhance the wetland in Lai Chi Wo. The farming community also aims to create a non-genetically modified papaya village in Lai Chi Wo by introducing non-GM seedlings to replace the old, source unknown papaya trees in Lai Chi Wo. Temporary wetlands are created on fallow farmlands to provide undisturbed breeding ground for wetland species. Phytoremediation trial using Pteris Vittata, a local fern which is hyperaccumulator of arsenic, has been conducted in some farming plots to remove the high natural arsenic from soil. Physical control method and regular monitoring for invasive ant species, Red Imported Fire Ant has been conducted also. Appropriate technology including solar-powered and hydro-powered farming facilities such as electric fences, pump and insect light traps are also introduced to reduce carbon emission.
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
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Renewable energy / Climate action
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 farming and infrastructure 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, a social enterprise was founded by local villagers with a vision 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.
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.
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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