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HSBC helps with leadership training in the community

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-07 07:16

HSBC (China) Co Ltd has donated 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) to cultivate key players in a community life-enrichment and sustainable building program.

It is the fourth phase of a program, initiated in 2013, supporting development and growth of communities across China.

The program is rolling out projects in 231 communities with 2 million residents.

It aims to cultivate community leaders including volunteers, project coordinators and event planners through training and workshops, which will hone their skills in community project management.

Zhang Huifeng, head of HSBC China's corporate social responsibility affairs, said empowering these key figures is significant for "sustainable" community building.

"Many would say that community building relies on funding," Zhang said.

"Of course, funding is an indispensable part in any kind of CSR operation. But for sustainable community building, the internal power and capability of people who live in the specific community is key for the long-term development," Zhang added.

A community of "acquaintances" can help to nip many social issues in the bud. This network of care will support people or families that face problems or crisis, Zhang pointed out.

The program, with total investment of 40 million yuan so far, has helped community residents to host more than 14,000 events.

This in turn has benefited a wide range of groups, from gardening for elderly people, who live alone, to setting up a library for children of migrant workers.

In the fourth phase, the program aspires to fund 400 proposals initiated by residents, train 60 key resident leaders and support 200 community organizations.

Learning centers will also be introduced to residents who wish to develop their skills in community project operations, such as financial management and information technology.

At the same time, funding will be distributed in innovative manner through community funds to support small-scale projects initiated by residents themselves.

Zhang said that residents would acquire skills in drafting proposals, presentations and financial management plans.

"In some way, we use the funding in the same way as that in venture capital," Zhang said.

The funding is to help residents realize their dreams and ideas, while it must be used in transparent and effective ways.

Only by doing this can the initiative be sustained, Zhang said

Hu Qiong, director with community development arm of NPI, a Shanghai-based nonprofit organization which partners with HSBC China in the community development program, said community building has been evolving in the past few years.

"At first residents are encouraged to get engaged in public affairs, and then they are empowered to initiate their own ideas to improve community life," Hu said about the program.

"Now participation is more regular, and more parties, such as local government, enterprises, community administrations, are involved in the cause," she added.

Hu Xiaojun, associate researcher with the department of anthropology and sociology at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, felt that more measures need to be taken.

He said it was important to understand specific community demands before precise services are provided.

"Projects need to be designed based on clear surveys of community demands (and for that) community key leaders are needed," he said.

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