In February 2011, as part of the 18th Global Young Leaders Programme (YLP) a team of 21 international executives spent 9 days in Jianshi county, Hubei province, working to provide the county government with strategic recommendations for the five-year development plan of an integrated farmers association. Coming from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Ghana and Colombia the group worked in partnership with the Consulting Centre for Farmers’ Associations (CCFA) and the Integrated Farmers’ Association of Heshuiping Region (IFAH). The latter association was established under the Integrated Rural Development and Governance Pilot Programme Office of the county government. 

After three decades of unprecedented economic expansion, this next phase of China’s development is as much a concern for the rest of the world as it is for the country itself. The challenge for China is to promote sustained economic development among its rural population and accelerate the reduction of poverty to incentivise productive workers to remain or return to a newly vibrant countryside.  

The business model articulated by the group and the associated rural governance principles contain elements that can be applied in other parts of China. The hope is that the pilot programme in Heshuiping, which was written initially to cover the production of fragrant rice and pig rearing, will be able to guide farmers into other areas of agricultural production, but more importantly give them the confidence to leverage the rich diversity of resources in the Jianshi area. 

Click here for a showcase of the Business Plan, and download the Business Plan in English and Chinese.


There is an increasingly important need to deliver quality care services to the ageing population in China. In part due to the one-child policy and pension schemes in different parts of China, many elderly do not have the financial capabilities to acquire the services they sorely need. The partner for this programme was Hetong Association, one of China’s leading elderly homes and services provider. The participants were tasked with producing strategic recommendations for Hetong’s expansion plans and transition from a non-profit organisation into a social enterprise. Our pre-programme research it includes an overview of the issues faced by Chinese elderly and the state of elderly care in China. In addition it includes information on Hetong’s operations and history, including their involvement in the aftermath of the Sichuan Earthquake of 2008.

The business plan proposed the setup of a new commercial company, Hetong China Holdings (HCH), and to start a new showcase elderly care facility in Shenzhen. For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story and please refer to the round-up for a comprehensive review of the field-trip.

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of this programme please contact Eric Stryson on


In this tailored programme for American International Assurance (AIA), participants partnered with Half the Sky Foundation (HTS), a non-profit organisation created to enrich the lives of orphans living in China’s social welfare institutions. According to government statistics there are currently 573,000 orphans in China, with fewer than 15 per cent living under government care. Many of them were abandoned because of deceased parents, personal disability or special medical conditions, and some were handed over to governmental care simply because they were girls. The participants reviewed the specific funding needs of the Xian orphanage and HTS’s future plans to incorporate social entrepreneurism into its programmes. In addition to details of the Xian project, the programme research looks into the social and economic reasons for the large number of orphans in China.

The business plan proposed a strategic plan for enhancing the health and well-being of orphan children at Xian Children’s Welfare Institute. For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story.


Participants of GIFT’s second open programme in 2009 spent eight days working on site with the Pohan Farmer’s Association (PFA) in order to develop a plan for the association to convert from conventional to organic cotton production and access new markets for their products. Cotton is among the dirtiest crops, using about 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides and 10 per cent of the world’s pesticides. Organic cotton production has the advantage of promoting soil fertility, and also allows for diverse agriculture while keeping human contact with toxic chemicals to a minimum. The briefing note also discusses the challenges facing rural farmers in China, such as environmental deterioration and inefficiencies of small scale farming.

For an overview of GIFT’s 11th YLP experience, based in rural China in support of the country’s first registered Farmers Association.please see the photo story.


Participants from diverse backgrounds worked with the Yinchuan Jinhu Eco-Agriculture Tourism Company Ltd (Jinhu Enterprise) to develop a business plan to expand the enterprise’s winemaking and eco-tourism business. This initiative is aligned with the Chinese government’s policies of promoting environmental protection and community development which meets economical, social and environmental needs.

The business plan addresses the issue of desertification, a major challenge in the province of Ningxia. More than 65 per cent of the area suffers from desertification affecting more than 90 per cent of the population. For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story and please refer to the round-up for a comprehensive review of the site visit.


China project - biogas

Hebei, China 8 – 20 October 2007

In the Jingxian County in China's north-eastern Hebei province, participants explored issues including: renewable energy, sustainable farming, food supply chain management, environmental management and social revitalisation. Participants looked at Jinlong Agri-business who uses the biogas produced from pig waste to provide households with bio energy that cost much less than traditional energy and is better for the environment. In using the pig waste for biogas, it reduces the contamination of water courses and soil in the surrounding areas.

The business plan outlines an expansion plan for scaling up of the biogas production using pig waste to provide his community with a sustainable and cheaper source of energy. For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story and please refer to the round-up for a comprehensive review of the site visit.