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Background

More About This Project

Yunnan province is found in the southwest of China and shares its longest border with Myanmar (Burma). On both sides of the border there has been drug production and trade, as well as resource extraction for decades. The remote, mountainous areas, largely populated by ethnic minorities, have long suffered from war and neglect, which have undermined development.

HIV prevalence is rising rapidly in/along the border of Myanmar and China, fueled by population mobility, poverty and frustration that breeds risky sexual activity and drug-taking. Indicators of higher susceptibility of HIVAIDS transmission in Yunnan Province border regions include:

  • Yunnan holds China’s largest concentration of ethnic minority groups who, often disenfranchised from mainstream life in China, have less access to education and jobs
  • High volume and access to intravenous drugs
  • Large and growing population of migrant labourers
  • High levels of sex work/brothel activity

A key, long-term objective of the project is to focus on an understanding of the connection between a healthy and a peaceful society; in particular, an understanding of the connection between the conflict in Myanmar and the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. In addition to providing training to increase capacity for local cooperation for HIV/AIDS prevention education, long term goals of this project include identifying civil society groups and building their capacity to conduct this type of training, as well as building relationships between these groups, key individuals, various levels of government, and other stake-holders.

Setting Up for April Training

Read the full training report

De’Ang Village Training, April 2009

Photos from this training:

Buying supplies for the training.
Dinner planning session.
Setting up for the training.
Training Slideshow 1
Training Slideshow 2
Training Slideshow 3

Background on Santaishan Township

There are 3 villages in the Santaishan area. All three are farming villages:

  1. Han Chinese village
  2. Jinghpaw village
  3. De’ang village

The Jinghpaw and De’ang are ethnic minority groups. Populations of both of these ethnic groups also live in Myanmar (Burma), in larger numbers than the groups found in China.

The Han Chinese have the highest living standards of the three groups, so there are less cultural roadblocks to development for them.

De’ang Village #2 Statistics

The De’ang ethnic group in Yunnan province, near the Myanmar border, is the smallest of ethnic minority groups in this part of China. Large numbers of De’ang can be found in Myanmar (Burma) but only small numbers of them remain in China. They have not mixed with the local Han Chinese population and way of life in modern China as well as other ethnic minority groups have.

There are 70 households in this De’ang village, totaling roughly 180 people, of which there are around 40 children (age 0-12 years). There are 2 parts to the village and we met in the lower part of the village; the upper part being about 1 km up the mountain road. This De’ang village seemed more wealthy than the previous village where we had done a training in March 2009. This village was very close to the highway and thus was able to grow more crops than just the sugarcane that was the monocrop in the previous village. This advantage allowed the villagers to most likely earn more money through farming than the previous De’ang village could. The village appeared to have more substantial structures, more power lines than the last, and also had the home and office of the village health worker ( a De’ang man who helped organized our trainings in the Santaishan area over the past few months).

There is no reported HIV in this village though the health worker admitted that their consensus isn’t fully complete, because some do not participate. People are encouraged to be tested for HIV/AIDS, and if a couple is married and they want a marriage certificate now, they must be tested in order to receive the certificate. However, some villagers who do not care about participating in the system outside village life don’t bother with the test. This is particularly true for some who are marrying into the village from outside, particularly Myanmar. The De’ang ethnic group exists on both sides of the China-Myanmar border and now because of the booming economy in China and the ever-deepening crisis brewing in Myanmar, it is becoming more common to marry into villages inside China. While the villagers are concerned, as well as the CDC and other groups in China, that there is a high risk of infection coming from Myanmar, mandatory testing for HIV/AIDS in the villages doesn’t really exist, unless the couple wants to hold a marriage certificate.

The village health worker and some of the elders expressed concern over immigrants from Myanmar, and concern for some of their women working as sex workers in the city of Mangshi. However, these numbers are still low, they say. They also mentioned that migrant labor was not very common for men from their village (it is common in some villages for men to work seasonally in other areas of the region. Migrant labor populations stand a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

The Training

Along with our usual prizes for participation that we bought locally (mosquito coils, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, fruit and some candies), we were equipped with enough mosquito nets for each of the households that participated in this training. Our friends at PSI (Population Services Index) provided us with very high quality nets for a fraction of their price. These villagers were able to benefit from this particularly great gift!

As usual we drove to the village area as a group, stopping for dinner to plan the night’s activities at a roadside local restaurant with great food. What was unusual was that there were 3 friends of mine participating in the workshop. They had a very nice time eating interesting foods, drinking some local spirits, and acquainting themselves with our local group.

We arrived at 8 and began setting up. There were more hands than usual so we were able to set up a really nice zone for the training with lots of decorations. It had rained that day, and with the rainy seasoning threatening an early start we a bit worried that we wouldn’t get much a of a turnout. When the villagers arrived around 9 pm, we introduced our group, and gave an introduction of the night’s activities. We were happy to find that over 50 of the 70 households showed up for training. Only the families the furthest away in the upper part of the village didn’t show because of the wet road conditions. The weather continued to co-operate.

We divided the participants in groups (men, women, and children respectively) and started. First we ask some questions about the village, then we introduce basic HIV prevention information and continue with more advanced information depending on the level of the group. We finish with a sort of competition where the various groups can showcase what they have learnt and they receive prizes for participation, and answering correctly.

The level of understanding in the village about HIV prevention and related health and social awareness was particularly high, especially among the youth. There were a few incorrect answers coming from the older men but not too many, and everyone laughed and instructed those with incorrect answers before we even got a chance to.

The training finished with the households being called up one at a time to receive their mosquito nets. It was a very warm experience meeting these people individually and handing them the nets. They really seemed very happy with the gift. Instructions and details were provided in Chinese, since for many, this would be their first experience of using a mosquito net. With the rainy season about to start I think they will really enjoy them right away.

Background on De’Ang Village, Santaishan Township

De'Ang Village, Santaishan Township, Yunnan Province, China

There are 3 villages in the Santaishan area. All three are farming villages:

  1. Han Chinese village
  2. Jingpo village
  3. De’ang village

The Jinghpaw and De’ang are ethnic minority groups. Populations of both of these ethnic groups also live in Myanmar (Burma), in larger numbers than the groups found in China. The Han Chinese have the highest living standards of the three groups, so there are less cultural roadblocks to development for them.

Photos & video from this training:

De’ang Village Statistics

The De’Ang ethnic group in Yunnan Province, near the Myanmar border, is the smallest of ethnic minority groups in this part of China. Large numbers of De’ang can be found in Myanmar (Burma) but only small numbers of them remain in China. They have not mixed with the local Han Chinese population and way of life in modern China as well as other ethnic minority groups have.

(more…)

Background on Jingpo Village, Santaishan Township

Jingpo Villagers

There are 3 villages in the Santaishan area. All three are farming villages:

  1. Han Chinese village
  2. Jingpo village
  3. De’ang village

The Jingpo and De’ang are ethnic minority groups. Larger populations of both of these ethnic groups are found in Myanmar (Burma) more than in China. The Han Chinese have the highest living standards of the three groups, so there are less cultural roadblocks to development for them.

Photos of this village:

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About Luxi City and Santaishan Township

Luxi City

Basic information

Luxi City is located in the west part of Yunnan Province between 98°01′ and 98°44′ east longitude and between 24°05′ and 24°39′ north latitude. It is 71 km long (west to east) and 62 km wide (north to south) and has a total area of 2987 square km, of which 26% is valley area and 76% is mountain area. The county borders with Burma on a bordering line as long as 68.23 km.

The total population of the city is 370669, of which 75396 is women and 28756 is children under 7 years old. Ethnically Han people take up 50.65%, Dai people 35.28%, Jingpo 7.86%, Lisu 1.08%, De’ang 2.6%, and others 2.53%. De’ang is among the smallest ethnic groups in China and is mainly inhabited in villages in Santanshan Township.

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Dai Training – Background on Mangshi Town

Mangshi Town

The Mangshi Town, Da-wan Village being one of its villages, is the largest town in Luxi County and even in Dehong Prefecture, enjoying an area of 427.5 square kilometres and having a total population of 140,000, the majority of whom are Dai and Han, intermingled by a small number of Jingpo and De’Ang.

The Dai people living in Myanmar have a different name of Shan and live mainly in the Shan State. In Luxi County, Dehong Prefecture, Dai people are a major ethnic minority group, who live in fertile valley areas such as Mangshi Town, Fengping Town, Zhefang Town and Xuangang Township where crops grow well and transportation is convenient. Therefore, Dai people are relatively rich compared with other ethnic minority groups, even richer than most of the Han people living on farms.

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