2006 Wnner
Winners:
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
2006
Publication:
Innovations and Excellence in Local Chinese Government
Organization:
Innovations and Excellence in Local Chinese Government
Jurisdiction:
China
In order to provide social assistance to families and individuals in need, the southern autonomous region of Guangxi Zhuang has begun the regular construction of a new type of housing complex in rural areas. A “Five Guarantees Village” is a housing project in which units are built together and their care and management are provided uniformly. Each Five Guarantees Village houses between 10 and 20 families. This system emerged after the reconstruction of Qinzhou City in the wake of a devastating flood in 2001; after 2002, the construction of Five Guarantees Villages has spread throughout this region of southern China. By 2005, nearly 5,000 Five Guarantees Villages had been completed, and that number is expected to reach 9,000 by the year 2008.
 
Traditionally in Guangxi Zhuang, assistance to the disabled, to the elderly, and to families in need generally took the form of dispersed support to designated nursing centers in nearby townships. The disadvantages of this system include fund deficiency, permanent displacement, high cost of management, crude living conditions, and poor medical care. Five Guarantees Villages, on the other hand, are built in existing townships, meaning that refugees and the impoverished can enjoy central support while remaining in their native villages.
 
The financial resources to support these Villages are socialized and collected through multiple channels including welfare contributions from the Civil Affairs Department, financial input from various levels of government, labor and land from villagers themselves through their self-government organizations, and contributions from enterprises. The living and working conditions in the Five Guarantees Villages are effectively assured: each unit has one room, one kitchen, some basic household facilities, and common washrooms and recreational facilities. Members of every unit receive a fixed subsidy and ration of rice and cooking oil in addition to winter and summer clothes. These standard provisions can also be adjusted depending on the development of the rural economy and growth of villager’s income contributed to the Five Guarantees fund each year.
 
These Five Guarantee Villages provide the means for government departments and social organizations to share jurisdiction in rural social assistance. The Departments of Civilian Affairs and Finance combine with social organizations such as the Communist Youth League and the Women’s Federation to participate in the maintenance of these Five Guarantees Villages. Volunteers from civil social organizations also routinely provide services to people living in these shared residences.
 
The construction of Five Guarantees Villages changes the traditional pattern of support for the disadvantaged in rural areas: these Villages offer opportunities for assisted living for those in need while still located in the familiar environment of the individual or family’s native village. Five Guarantees Villages have become a new platform for cultural reconstruction in the rural areas: Communist Youth League activists, schools, and social volunteers take these facilities as bases on which to carry out activities related to education and the promotion of traditional culture. These Five Guarantee Villages have provided models for similar programs in Anhui Province.