HSBC helps em­power res­i­dents

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - ByWUYIYAO wuyiyao@chi­

On a Thurs­day evening in early Au­gust, 17 panel mem­bers and some 40 res­i­dents gath­ered in a meet­ing room at the com­mu­nity ser­vices build­ing in Jing­ming Ji­ayuan, a res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity with more than 20,000 res­i­dents.

Many wore their Sun­day best, sit­ting straight, and lis­ten at­ten­tively to two pre­sen­ta­tions de­liv­ered by Sun Qun, a young mother who pro­posed build­ing a li­brary in the com­mu­nity.

Sun is ap­ply­ing for a small fund of around 5,000 yuan ($750), which will en­able chil­dren to read a wide collection of books in a li­brary in the com­mu­nity. Her neigh­bor Liu Jin is ap­ply­ing for a small fund of 2,200 yuan which will en­able res­i­dents to grow organic veg­eta­bles as a gift to se­nior ci­ti­zens who live alone in the com­mu­nity.

The panel mem­bers were go­ing to make de­ci­sions over whether this ini­tia­tive is go­ing to pass. They raised ques­tions such as “whether vol­un­teers should bring their own kids to the read­ing room”, and “whether a bud­get of 760 yuan should be spent on spray bot­tles for grow­ing veg­eta­bles, or should the money be used to pur­chase more seed and use other tools to re­place spray bot­tles”.

Af­ter 30 min­utes of pre­sen­ta­tion, a Q&A ses­sion and de­bates, the two pro­pos­als passed the panel dis­cus­sion, and the funds ap­plied for were granted. This was just one of the 17 panel meet­ing that the res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity has held in the past two years, as a part of HSBC’s CSR pro­gram which helps com­mu­nity build­ing in China.

Since 2012, HSBC has in­vested some 18 mil­lion yuan to sup­port com­mu­nity res­i­dents’ pro­pos­als such as veg­etable grow­ing, and a read­ing room scheme in 56 com­mu­ni­ties in 10 ci­ties across China, which has ben­e­fited 1.25 mil­lion res­i­dents.

The ini­tia­tive, launched in late 2013 with a com­bined in­vest­ment of 18 mil­lion yuan, has funded 373 pro­grams across 56 com­mu­ni­ties in 10 ci­ties across China, in­clud­ing Shang­hai, Bei­jing, Nan­jing and Suzhou, sup­port­ing ev­ery­thing from en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion to mi­grant work­ers in­te­gra­tion and other causes that ad­dress press­ing com­mu­nity needs.

In part­ner­ship with the HSBC ini­tia­tive, lo­cal gov­ern­ments have in­vested a com­bined 11.06 mil­lion yuan to in­ject into a pool of sim­i­lar pro­jects. Xu Guirong,

The HSBC fund is be­ing man­aged by the Shang­haibased non­profit in­cu­ba­tor NPI Group, which is tar­get­ing its ef­forts at vol­un­teer groups that are ded­i­cated to serv­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, all of which are re­quired to bid for fund­ing.

Res­i­dents said what they have gained most from this pro­gram is the feel­ing that they truly can re­solve prob­lems and make a bet­ter life if they would like to learn the meth­ods.

Xu Guirong, a 62-year-old res­i­dent in­Nan­jing, said in the past res­i­dents would com­plain about an is­sue or even protest to com­mu­nity man­agers, un­til the pro­gram en­abled ev­ery­one to re­al­ize that it is every­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to make the com­mu­nity bet­ter.

“Dur­ing the process when the HSBC com­mu­nity build­ing pro­gram rolls out, we have learned how to write pro­pos­als, how to de­bate de­tails, and how to ne­go­ti­ate with peo­ple whose in­ter­ests may have con­flicts.”

“It is eye-open­ing, a quite new model that makes use of vis­i­ble funds, dis­cus­sion and trans­par­ent de­ci­sion-mak­ing. And re­tirees like me now un­der­stand Robert’s Rules of Or­der. In the past peo­ple fought and quar­reled over is­sues. Now we dis­cuss, de­bate, ne­go­ti­ate and re­solve prob­lems,” she said.

Zhang Huifeng, head of cor­po­rate sus­tain­abil­ity, HSBC China, said that the idea be­hind this pro­gram is to en­able res­i­dents in com­mu­ni­ties to have the ca­pa­bil­ity to fig­ure out prob­lems, find­ing so­lu­tions, and be pro­vided with a sus­tain­able sys­tem that makes their life bet­ter.

“It would be much eas­ier if we just do­nate some money, but money is just ex­ter­nal help that may not last long. We believe the en­doge­nous power of res­i­dents in com­mu­ni­ties will be much more sus­tain­able.” said Zhang.

It is eye-open­ing, a quite new model that makes use of vis­i­ble funds, dis­cus­sion and trans­par­ent de­ci­sion­mak­ing.” a 62-year-old res­i­dent in Nan­jing

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