Empowering Ethnic Minority Women Through Innovative Practices

Oct 21, 2015

Beijing, 21st October- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today signed a partnership agreement in Beijing with the Kingdom Sanitary Products Guangdong (KSPG) to contribute towards ethnic minority women empowerment and development. This is part of a wider UNDP targeted poverty alleviation project, aimed to promote sustainable human development with ethnic minority women through joint collaborations in social and economic development. Over the last decade, UNDP has been working to empower ethnic minority women to use their traditional skills and crafts to improve their livelihoods.

The partnership comes at a particularly significant time as last month the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development was adopted in New York by world leaders from 193 member states of the United Nations. Goal 1 of this new agenda focuses on countries committing to ending poverty in all its forms everywhere, with a particularly focus on strengthening the resilience of the poor, especially women and children.

At the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum held last week in Beijing, President Xi Jinping announced that China will lift 70 million people out of poverty in the future five years, as a major move to respond to the new global development agenda.

“Ethnic minority groups constitute 9 percent of China’s national population, but make up almost one third of its poor,” said Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China at the signing ceremony. “These groups possess rich and distinctive ways of life, which, if properly preserved and adapted, can be a strong driving force for development.”

Using an integrated development approach, the project will target three pilot sites in Qiandongnan area, Guizhou Province, with a key focus on Miao ethnic communities. UNDP will leverage experience from previous successfully projects on culture-based development to enhance the livelihood of some of the poorest women in China. UNDP has been working with the Chinese Government over the past 10 years, focusing on combining traditional and innovative practices to create new employment opportunities and alleviate poverty in 27 minority areas in Yunnan, Qinghai, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia in China.

Furthermore UNDP has teamed up with the Marie Claire Women’s Fund, under China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), to support the project by organizing embroidery workshops and setting up community based organisations (CBOs) to encourage self-management and allow communities to form decisions in a collective manner, alongside strengthening the women’s business skills on production, planning, marketing and branding.

The signing event witnessed KSPG, a pioneer in the provision of personal care products across China, commit to promoting women’s empowerment and development in ethnic minority regions.  Aside from providing financial support, KSPG will design special packaging sanitary napkins and part of the revenue will be donated to the project.

“KSPG hopes that through this partnership with UNDP, we can also provide healthcare and hygiene trainings in the local community, as well as assist ethnic minority women lift themselves out of poverty, and lead to their overall well-being,” said Deng Jingheng, President of KSPG.  

UNDP Deputy Country Director, Patrick Haverman and KSPG President, Deng Jingheng signing the partnership agreement
KSPG President, Deng Jingheng addressing the audience
opening remarks- UNDP Deputy Country Director, Patrick Haverman

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