Wednesday, July 01, 2009

1kg more

I was thinking about writing something about NGO development in China since we started for a short time.

One of NGO's names came into my mind, which called 1kg more founded by Andrew Yu. I deeply knew their organization because of Sichuan Earthquake last year. We all together organized events called" Bring your hearts to Children after Sichuan Earthquake". As we all know, no one can forget the Sichuan Earthquake last year, which was killed at least 68,000 people and more than millions people became homeless. I still felt pain of the past when I was remembered a lot of scenes and memories into my mind. At that moment, hundreds of millions of Chinese people were coming together. Some of them came to Sichuan and became a volunteer; even they didn't know each other. Others donated money to the Red Cross and other international charities. The earthquake was happened in the middle of China. Some of my friends were studying and working there, they said" you couldn't image thousands of lives vanished from the world in seconds on May 12, 2008". You just saw them yesterday.

I decided to do some efforts for them. I heard more than hundreds of school buildings collapsed. Students lost their classmates, books and classrooms. Since the International Children's Day on June 1st, I posted my ideas on the internet, more than hundreds people came to our teams. Finally, we received thousands of gifts including clothes, toys, books and stationeries. More than hundreds people on the street wrote their best wishes to the children who were on the Sichuan Earthquake. After that, love was still continuing and spreading to others. For a while, I considered if I didn't come to U.S.A, I would quit my job, come to Sichuan and help them build up their new house.

I talked too much about Earthquake. Actually, I want to introduce 1kg more, which they got successful just for five years in China. It was very short time to let other people know your NGO without government support. April 18, 2004, Andrew founded 1kg(Chinese name called: Duo Bei Yi Gong Jin), a NGO that sought to build up a volunteer network of travelers to help kids in remote areas of China by delivering much needed books and school suppliers. You just carried 1kg old books, stationeries and garments to the students in un-development and poor area in China. In fact, not so many organizations like 1kg more were seen in the mainstream media in China five years ago. Today, Andrew, with many volunteers in different parts of China, manage a database of over 200 elementary school which includes information on: 1) how many students are in the school; 2) what is the kids’ primary need; 3) the school name and contact person; 4) detailed directions, including method of transportation, of how an independent traveler can reach the school. Unlike the United States and Europe, independent travel in China is very small percentage of the market.

"There are more than 400,000 elementary schools in remote villages, but less than 10% of these schools received any sort of governmental or NGO support in order to improve education quality, ” shared Andrew. During the past three years, after many 1kg trips, Andrew realized that “the original idea to encourage more and more travelers to help kids hasn’t changed". But “I have a deeper understanding of what the kids really need for education, other than books and stationery”, Said by Andrew.

There are only 3 FULL time people for One is responsible for the web development, another is in charge of program administrator, and Andrew is PR and marketing. Now more and more volunteers are joining their teams, they contribute their ideas, take their efforts and make 1kg growing up better and better.

On the question of why this service model will work, Andrew compares with traditional NGOs in China. He believes that traditional NGOs operate as agents responsible for results, control information, and direct the work of volunteers. This process generates a lot of administration & management cost and leads to low working efficiency. It furthermore limits the creativity and initiative of the volunteers. 1kg, a grassroots NGO, has a different operating model, and is inspired by the social collaboration power of Wikipedia, encouraging knowledge creation and sharing to understanding the needs in order to help them.

When I was leaving for America, I had a chance to talk to Andrew. He said he would an ambitious objective to reach 5000 schools, cover 1 million students and collect 3 million books by the year 2012. I would give him best wishes come true his dream. More information, you can visit their website (not so many english page for your reference).
Maybe I have to email them do the English page for the travellers who are out of China.

Dan, thank you for your book called "the dream manager". I will read them carefully in the rest of week. And I will post my reading experience with others.

(Some of resources above my blog was from Min Guo,who write the article about 1kg more, posted in Charity & Donations)

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