The year 2020 marked a critical starting point of the SDGs Decade of Action, and also a decisive year for China in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieving full victory in its fight against poverty. Five national youth organizations made concerted efforts to implement the “Triple 100K+” Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship Project to assist poverty-stricken areas and poor families. The aim of the project was to serve the three main requirements of young people: education, employment and entrepreneurship, and to realize the goals of promoting ambition, improving education and boosting the endogenous power of the Chinese youth.
Implementation of the Project/Activity
The project had a national plan of action and the process was constantly optimized throughout, according to different regional situations and young people’s diverse needs. Regular monitoring and assessment mechanisms were established to enhance data aggregation, result assessment and coordination supervision. All leading units continuously updated work standards, optimized work procedures and defined the work focus by visiting implementation sites and conducting one-on-one interviews. For example, the service initiative of the “Youth Entrepreneurship 100K+” project was “Entrepreneurship Training + Partner Coaching + Project Grants + Financial Support,” adhering to classification and targeted measures, and enhancing process management that combined results and problem orientation. Ongoing efforts were made to generate enthusiasm in youth organizations at all levels and extensively mobilize social resources. As of the end of 2020, 119,700 students from poor families registered as living under the poverty line were aided by local organizations; hundreds of recruitment activities were held and information on nearly 10 million job postings were passed on to youngsters who needed it; and loans totaling 5.629 billion yuan were provided for 30,800 youth entrepreneurship projects in rural areas with the help of local financial institutions. Meanwhile, combined efforts were made regarding social resources and public welfare funds. As a result, more than 30 million yuan was raised through public welfare network platforms; several large enterprises voluntarily provided information on more than 160,000 job posts; and around 30 million yuan was allocated in cash and in kind to poverty-stricken areas for entrepreneurial services, with the aid of over a dozen large institutions.
With reference to the “Triple 100K+” Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship Project goals, the completion rates of education grants, employment assistance and entrepreneurship aid projects reached 259.9%, 227.2% and 156.2%, respectively. In terms of education grants, 673 million yuan was raised to help 260,000 students from poor families. As for employment assistance, 36,000 young workers at all levels were encouraged to pair up with students from poor families to improve their employability skills and provide them with job information. 513 recruitment activities were held, with 560,000 employers offering information on 142 million jobs, benefiting 7.85 million young people. By 2020, 227,000 students from poor families found employment. As for entrepreneurship assistance, 758 impoverished counties were helped in setting up youth entrepreneurship service organizations and 156,000 young people were encouraged to settle in poverty-stricken areas and start businesses there.
Enabling factors and constraints
Data platforms were established based on the internet and information technology to ensure that information and progress at all levels was faithfully recorded and shared in a timely manner, which has greatly improved the internal management efficiency of the projects. A student grant information management system, employment assistance information database and an entrepreneurship aid platform were built to quantify and visualize the project results. This provided an important basis for the inspection of work results and the optimization of work procedures.
Sustainability and replicability
The project is sustainable. Going forward, the five host institutions will continue to implement education grants, employment assistance and entrepreneurship aid projects on the basis of a summary of experiences. In addition, special funds, crowdfunding mechanisms, project information databases and online work platforms will be established to encourage youth organizations to continue playing an important part in rural rejuvenation. The project can be replicated in other places. In this project, emphasis was placed on helping young people from poor families, with attention paid to education and employment. The project covers the whole nation, so that youth requirements were served nationwide via a unified approach, whereby all resources – including enterprises, individuals, social organizations and governments – were mobilized. This approach can act as an important reference guide to realizing the sustainable development goals in other countries and places.
Other sources of information
The project has been running since 2018. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has continued to be carried out through both online and offline efforts, helping youngsters from poor families overcome education and employment difficulties caused by the pandemic. In May 2020, China achieved significant strategic results in the fight against the pandemic, allowing the project to get back on track.