Chinese Studies
2013. Vol.2, No.1, 61-67
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 61
Poverty Assessment in Terms of Safe Drinking Water, Hygiene
Facilities, and Energy of Minority Nationalities*
————A Case Study on the A Ba Autonomous Prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang Nationalities
Wang Suxia1, Zhou Xianghong2#, Wang Xiaolin3, Shao Zirui2
1Center for Human and Ec o n omic Development S t u di e s , B e i j in g , China
2Department of Public Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
3International Poverty Reduction Center in China, Beijing, China
Received November 9th, 2012; revised December 11th, 2012; accepted December 18th, 2012
Since 2002, the Trinity Mode has been adopted in China to include safe drinking water and sanitation ser-
vices in order to change the services into public products of rural communities. These products would
contain multi-valued attributes of miniature infrastructure constructions, primary health care, and eco-
logical protection. Poverty reduction demands different policies with extended connotation and changed
features, from increasing income to improving welfare services, from a macroscopic to a microscopic
viewpoint, from the national level to that of communities, and from the indistinguishable to an individual.
Against such background, A Ba Prefecture is selected as the case study area. Safe drinking water and
sanitation services, the most important components of basic public health services, are selected as the re-
search object in the study, and both sanitation and health are included in the framework to analyze pov-
erty. Altogether, 5637 valid questionnaires of “The Investigation on Poverty Alleviation in A Ba Prefec-
ture in 2009” have been carefully studied. The study shows that great achievements have been made in
alleviating poverty in A Ba by improving the drinking water in rural areas. However, a huge amount of
work is needed to apply hygiene facilities and popularize clean energy. Hence, the government’s antipov-
erty policies should be strengthened in the latter two aspects.
Keywords: Minority Nationalities; Safe Drinking Water; Hygiene Facilities; Energy; Poverty
As important components of the Millennium Development
Goal (MDG), safe drinking water and environmental sanitation
were included in the “health-related public services and facili-
ties” category of the “Poor Urban Population and Health in
Developing Countries” report published in June 2009. As
Global Public Goods, services related to water and sanitation
have been recognized by various international organizations
and have been incorporated into governmental agendas in dif-
ferent countries. As early as the 1980s, the effort to improve the
services related to safe drinking water and environmental sani-
tation has been regarded as an important strategy in alleviating
poverty. Related work was later considered to be part of pov-
erty reduction in financially supported countries when the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund started the
Poverty Reduction Strategy in 1999. Muhammad Yunus, the
Nobel Peace Prize Winner, created “Sixteen Decisions” in 1984,
which determines whether one client can make a loan from the
Grameen Bank and whether clients have successfully reduced
poverty. An important index in the criteria of “Sixteen Deci-
sions” was the improvement of water and environmental sanita-
tion, which is also a main part of the poverty reduction program
in China in the mid-1990s. The Poverty Relief Office of the
State Council pointed the condition of drinking water for hu-
man beings and livestock as one participatory poverty index in
the poverty reduction of 27 provinces/autonomous regions,
together with the coverage of electricity and roads in villages.
In recent years, the improvement of water and environmental
sanitation in China has been regarded as the main component of
poverty reduction by such organizations as the World Bank, the
United Nations Children’s Fund, the Asian Development Bank,
and the United Kingdom’s Department for International De-
velopment. In this field, the Poverty Relief Office, the National
Development and Reform Committee, the Ministry of Health,
and the Ministry of Water Resources have increased their sup-
port in policy and finance (National Center for Rural Water Supply
Technical Guidance, 2006). The improvement of water and sani-
tation is mentioned in “The New Scheme of Medical Reform”
to promote the equalization of public health services.
Poverty caused by the lack of energy has a potential impact
on health. Access to safe and reliable energy is necessary in an
industrial society, though it is not part of the MDG. Energy has
a significant influence on ordinary people’s welfare, such as
controlling indoor temperature, watching TV, acquiring drink-
ing water and hygiene facilities, and having access to tele-
phones and the Internet, all of which can improve their life
condition and health status considerably. The lack of energy
results in two different aspects of poverty: 1) clean energy like
electricity, gas, and solar energy cannot be reached; and 2)
energy consumption takes up too much in a Household Con-
sumption Expenditure, influencing the effective energy utiliza-
*This paper is the initial result from the item of National Natural Science
Fundation of China (71073111/G0308) and China Postdoctoral Science
Foundation (20100470142).
#Correspo n ding author.
tion. Kaiser and Pulsipher concluded that energy consumption
takes up 5% of the family income in middle-high income fami-
lies, 10% in low-income families, and as high as 20% in ex-
tremely poor families. Low-income families can hardly cope
with the fluctuation of petroleum prices. Since the 2008 finan-
cial crisis, the petroleum price has risen sharply. Recent con-
flicts in Northern Africa and Middle East countries also push
the soaring price even higher, thus posing more challenges
worldwide for poor families, especially for children (Wang
Xiaoling & Shang Xiaoyuan, 2011).
The lack of safe drinking water, hygiene facilities, and clean
energy seriously threatens the health of poor people. Improving
the dr inking water, hygien e facilities, and energy conditions for
poor people has become an important strategy for poverty re-
duction. Therefore, a case study is conducted in the A Ba
Autonomous Prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang Nationalities.
Poverty assessment with multidimensional measurement is
performed on drinking water, hygiene facilities, and clean en-
ergy in the residential regions of Tibetan and Qiang to provide
references for formulating antipoverty policies in poverty-
stricken areas.
Literature Review and Theoretical
Literature Review
Scholars at home and abroad have noticed the close connec-
tion between poverty relief and the improvement of water and
environmental sanitation. Services relating to safe drinking
water and environmental sanitation are cheap or free public
services that can be provided for low-income people, and are an
investment-oriented redistribution of income. To date, related
studies are being carried out around the following points:
1) The cost-benefit approach and the econometric model
can prove that services related to safe drinking water and
environmental sanitation possess not only social benefits,
but also significant economic benefits.
Hutton (National Center for Rural Water Supply Technical Guid-
ance, 2006), Fenwick, Sagar, and other scholars from the World
Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Asian Develop-
ment Bank have assessed the projects that improve water and
environmental sanitation in some developing countries in Af-
rica and Asia, and have found that all the services have signifi-
cant economic benefits. Hutton, Haller, and Bartram have as-
sessed the input and output of water and environmental sanita-
tion using the cost-benefit approach, and have cited that in cer-
tain developing regions, a one-dollar input may bring 5 to 46
dollars in return. With the help of the Bayesian theory, Paul,
Hunter, Pond, and Jagals John found that the proportion of
benefits to cost is 2.78 in terms of improving safe drinking
water and environmental sanitation in some areas in the three
developed countries.
Using a comparative method and epidemics assessment, do-
mestic scholars like Tao Yong (2005), Lu Huang-Xiang, and
Zhang Zhi-Yong have analyzed the positive benefits of im-
proving water and environmental sanitation, such as preventing
diseases, reducing the time for fetching water, enriching the
hygiene knowledge of ordinary people. Water conservancy
scholars like Yang Xiao-Liu (2004) and Zhang Ji-Jun (2006)
have measured the cost and benefits of potable water projects
using basic theories in architectural engineering. Based on the
observation, economists in agriculture and forestry, like Chen
Mo, Zhang Lin-Xiu, Qu Yin-Li, and Luo Ren-Fu, have con-
cluded that the enhancement of rural residents’ health is deter-
mined by the provision of safe and reliable domestic water.
2) Services related to safe drinking water and environ-
mental sanitation play an important role in relieving pov-
erty and vulnerability.
Peter Harvey based his study in sub-Saharan Africa on lit-
erature analysis and empirical study, and found the close con-
nection between poverty relief and the improvement of water
and environmental sanitation. The sustainable improvement of
water and environmental sanitation were highlighted as the
keys to relieving poverty. Through abundant empirical study,
domestic scholars such as Li Bin, Li Xiao-Yun, and Zuo Ting
proved that the lack of safe water and environmental sanitation
lessened poverty reduction, and worse, broke its persistence.
Zhou Xiang-Hong (2009) probed into the effect of the im-
provement of water and environmental sanitation on reducing
the vulnerability of poor rural areas in China through literature
analysis and case study. Recently, an empirical study on the
national conditions survey of Village Li in Jiangsu Province
was performed by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The study indicated that besides strengthening infrastructure
construction and agricultural insurance, antipoverty policies
should involve popularizing knowledge on hygiene, health,
nutrition, and childcare, increasing the investment in medical
services, improving basic medical treatment and public health,
and raising the general level of impoverished people’s health
even without enough material conditions. Han Zheng (2004)
mentioned that the rural population in China was gradually
el imina ting pover ty, b ut was still highly vulnerable. Meanwhile,
compared to traditional poverty-reduction policies (e.g., new
rural cooperative medical system, social assistance, etc.), ele-
mentary health care (e.g., services related to safe drinking water
and environmental sanitation) can be realized in advance
through interventions. Advance intervention can effectively
identify groups that will soon sink into poverty and relieve the
long-term poverty of an impoverished population. Moreover, it
can raise the effectiveness of policies while reducing the cost.
3) Services related to safe drinking water and environ-
mental sanitation can promote the capacity building of an
impoverished population.
Empowerment was initially regarded as one of the three
mainstays of poverty reduction in the World Bank’s “World
Development Report of 2000/2001”. Since the report, many
scholars have tried to include empowerment in the discussion
of poverty reduction. In Measuring Empowerment in Practice:
Structuring Analysis and Framing Indicators (WPS 3510), Ruth
Alsop and Nina Heinsohn stated that the capacity of individuals
and organizations can be enhanced significantly in water and
environmental sanitation projects. The United Nations Chil-
dren’s Fund and other international organizations have all em-
phasized the effect of the Trinity Mode on the capacity building
of an impoverished population in improving water and envi-
ronmental sanitation in China. Women in the selected villages
of Shanxi and Yunnan were observed to have more confidence
after joining the work to improve water and environmental
sanitation. In rural India, Bennett and Gajurel found that the
Dalits and Janajatis women were empowered with the interven-
tion of water supply and hygiene projects, and thus enjoyed
more social inclusion.
4) The Application of Multidimensional Poverty Meas-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
urement and the Quantization of its Main Dimensions.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, the Physical Quality of Life In-
dex, Human Development Index, mode of basic needs, inte-
grated rural development, and comprehensive development
program have been used widely as multidimensional indicators.
These indicators include various dimensions of life—lifespan,
knowledge, and dignity, among others—though each compre-
hensive indicator has its own focus. Based on the poverty relief
practice in Qinghai Province, Hu An-Gang (2004) classified
poverty into four classes: income poverty, human poverty, in-
formation poverty, and ecological poverty. According to the 17
indicators of the four classes, a comprehensive measurement
was formed to conduct a quantitative calculation of poverty
reduction in Qinghai. Chen Li-Zhong (2008) chose the Watts
Multidimensional Poverty Indicator and its decomposition after
co mp a r i ng t he H- M I n de x , HPI Index, CH- M Index, F- M Index,
and W-M Index. The multidimensional indicators of knowledge
poverty, health poverty, and income poverty were established.
The current conditions of some poverty-stricken towns in China
were measured using the newly established indicators. Wang
Xiao-Lin (2010) measured the multidimensional poverty in
urban and rural families in China using the framework in
“Counting and Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty” by
Alkire and Foster (2008) of Oxford University, and mentioned
that other kinds of multidimensional poverty exist besides in-
come poverty.
In recent years, vulnerability, social capital, and other quan-
titative measurements of main dimensions within the multidi-
mensional system have become important topics in academic
study. In 1995, the World Food Program has proposed an ana-
lytical framework of an impoverished population’s vulnerabil-
ity, showing that the higher the risk of an impoverished popula-
tion, the higher their vulnerability will be. Dercon (2001) cre-
ated an analytical framework of risks and vulnerability, in
which the farmers’ risks mainly include asset risks (human
assets, land assets, material assets, financial assets, public
goods, and social assets), income risks (profitable activities,
assets returns, assets disposal, savings-investment, remittance
transfer, and economic opportunities), and welfare risks (nutria-
tion, health, education, social exclusion, and capability depriva-
tion). This framework places the farmers’ resources, income,
consumption, and corresponding institutional arrangement into
one system (Chen Chuang-Bo, 2005). Li Xiao-Yun (2005)
studied the qualitative analysis on the vulnerability of impover-
ished peasant households using the framework of sustainable
livelihood of peasants, and then designed the quantitative study
on the livelihood assets of peasant households to perform a
quantitative analysis on the peasants’ vulnerability.
Theoretical Framework
“Poverty” is defined as “one’s state of lacking a certain
amount of or acceptable amount of material possessions or
money” in Encyclopedia Briton NICA. It is also defined as “the
phenomenon of being deprived of welfare” by the World Bank
(World Bank, 2009). The definition of “poverty,” therefore, is
determined by how many material possessions or money is
acceptable in the society. Due to the restriction of the accessi-
bility and measurement of data, poverty and welfare have been
calculated by the monetary standard of average income or con-
sumption. Thus, poverty means that the income or consumption
meeting basic needs is lower than a certain amount of money.
On account of this logical analysis, antipoverty policies and
welfare policies evolve around income-support policies. This
logical thinking has seriously confined the development of
antipoverty policies.
Amartya Sen cited that poverty is more about the deprivation
of basic capacities than low income. The deprivation of basic
capacities can be manifested by premature mortality rate, evi-
dent malnutrition (especially for children), persistent incidences
of diseases, and other shortages (Sen, 1985). Both definitions of
poverty and the strategies of poverty relief have been extended
under Sen’s framework of capacities. In the United Nations’
MDG in 2000, it was clearly stated that “by 2015, the rate of
unsustainable access to safe drinking water and basic hygiene
facilities should be halved,” which can be regarded as a land-
mark. The United Nations regards the lack of safe drinking
water and basic hygiene facilities as one primary dimension of
poverty. Similarly, the health of an impoverished population is
influenced negatively due to the use of animal wastes, straw,
firewood, and raw coal as fuel in poverty-stricken households,
causing serious damage to the environment. Therefore, the use
of clean energy is also an important subject under discussion
concerning poverty and development.
Since Sen proposed the concept of depriving basic capacities,
great progress has been made in the understanding of poverty.
In certain regions, however, some major dimensions of poverty,
such as hygiene facilities and clean energy, have not been
widely accepted in public policies. Safe drinking water, hygiene
facilities, and clean energy are the main blocks in building an
overall prosperous society and improving living standards,
especially in m inority areas.
In this article, the logical framework is set as “poverty—the
deprivation of welfare—basic needs—basic capacities”. The
capacities of acquiring safe drinking water, hygiene facilities,
and clean energy are confirmed as the basic capacity to be used
as primary dimensions in antipoverty strategies. Under this
theoretical framework, the state of poverty in A Ba Autono-
mous Prefecture is analyzed in terms of minorities and gender.
In this article, the survey data of “The Investigation on Pov-
erty Alleviation in A Ba Prefecture in 2009” were used, cover-
ing the 1351 villages of 13 counties in A Ba Prefecture. Of the
6755 total questionnaires, only 5637 valid questionnaires were
Analysis and Results
Drinking Water and Health
1) Great achievements in safe drinking water in A Ba
Prefecture. In this report, tap water and wells deeper than five
meters are considered as sources of safe drinking water,
whereas rainwater, rivers, ponds, and wells with depths of less
than 5 meters were considered as sources of unsafe drinking
water. “The Investigation on Poverty Alleviation in A Ba Pre-
fecture in 2009” shows that 75.5% of water sources in A Ba is
safe, 71% of which are comprised of households with tap water
(Table 1).
2) Great Achievements in Public Investments for Pov-
erty-Relief Development. Due to the success of several pro-
jects (i.e., the investment for poverty-relief development, the
integrated control of the Kaschi disease, the improve- n-Beck
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 63
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 1.
Sources of drinking water in various residential ar eas of A Ba Prefecture.
Sources of Safe Drinking Water Sources of Unsa fe Drinking Wa ter
Type Tap Water Wells (>5 Me ters)Wells (<5 Meters)Rivers and PondsRainwate r Total
Number of Households 3946 248 196 1089 77 5556
Agricultural Regions 2807 94 77 614 58 3650
Farming-Pastoral Regions 981 66 73 243 15 1378
Pastoral Regions 158 88 46 232 4 528
Percentage (%) 71.02 4.46 3.53 19.60 1.39 100.00
Farming Regions 76.90 2.58 2.11 16.82 1.59 100.00
Farming-Pastoral Regions 71.19 4.79 5.30 17.63 1.09 100.00
Pastoral Regions 29.92 16.67 8.71 43.94 0.76 100.00
ment of water and toilets in rural areas), the rate of using tap
water in rural areas of A Ba has clearly increased. In the past,
people in A Ba’s endemic areas had to drink high-fluorine wa-
ter or substandard water. This problem was included in the
livelihood project of A Ba in 2008, together with the invest-
ments on poverty-relief development and the integrated control
of the Kaschin-Beck disease. By the end of November 2008,
521 safe drinking water projects had been completed, providing
safe drinking water to 85,000 local people (The Web Portals of
the Government of A Ba Prefecture, 2009).
3) Challenges of Safe Drinking Water Supply for Rural
Residents. In recent years, 75% of the households have gained
access to safe drinking water through poverty-relief develop-
ment. However, 24.4% of the households still do not have ac-
cess to safe drinking water, 3.53% drink water from wells no
deeper than five meters, 19.60% drink water from rivers and
ponds, and 1.39% drink rainwater.
4) Pastoral Regions—The Area of Focus in the Improve-
ment of Safe Drinking Water Supply. Table 1 shows that a
connection exists between drinking water and residential re-
gions. Only 29.9% of the households in pastoral regions have
access to tap water while 53.4% have to endure unsafe water
sources (wells no deeper than five meters, rivers, ponds, and
rainwater). This is a serious problem in A Ba prefecture be-
cause safe drinking water has a close connection with health.
5) Qiang and Tibetan—The Minority Nationalities fo-
cused on in the Improvement of Safe Drinking Water. Ta-
ble 2 shows that the condition of safe drinking water in the Han
and Hui residential regions is better than those in Qiang and
Tibetan. A total 37.5% and 24.53% of households in the resi-
dential regions of Qiang and areas of Tibet, respectively, have
unsafe drinking water. In Han area, the condition is better, with
only 12.79% of households taking unsafe drinking water. The
Hui area has the best condition, with only 11.42% of the
households taking unsafe drinking water.
Hygiene Facilities and Health
1) A small proportion of rural households in A Ba Pre-
fecture use safe hygiene facilities. Table 3 shows that the
rural households with safe hygiene facilities only take up 12.4%,
i.e., 87.6% households have no hygiene facilities. Compared
with the data of different residential regions, more households
in farming regions adopt safe hygiene facilities than those in
pastoral and farming-pastoral regions. However, the general
condition of A Ba Prefecture is not satisfactory, and it faces a
difficult task of improving toilets in rural areas. Altogether,
87.6% of the households need improvement of toilets, and the
rate becomes 96.1% in pastoral regions.
2) In terms of unsafe hygiene facilities, Tibetan residents
have the highest rate while Qiang residents have the lowest.
The ra t e s o f us i ng un s afe hygiene facilities in Tibetan, Hui, Han,
and Qiang residential regions are 91.21%, 84.29%, 82.54%, and
79.19%, respectively. For most urban residents, flush toilets are
already a part of their lives, but not for rural residents in A Ba
Prefecture. The United Nations regards unsafe hygiene facility
as an important factor that endangers health. Therefore, the rate
of unsustainable access to basic hygiene facilities in MDG
should be halved by 2015. Unfortunately, the use of unsafe
hygiene facilities is often underestimated in the public policies
of poverty-stricken areas. Unsafe hygiene facility, like unsafe
drinking water, is also a main factor that causes epidemic dis-
eases such as malaria and dysentery.
3) There is a positive correlation between the type of toi-
lets and the health condition of rural residents in A Ba Pre-
fecture. Table 5 shows the comparison of the self-assessment
of rural residents on their own health based on the types of
toilets used. The table shows that the group who chose “very
good” for their health conditions has the highest proportion
(10.6%) of using indoor flush toilets. In contrast, those who
chose “very bad” for their health conditions have the highest
proportion of using open latrine earth pits (16.0%) or have no
toilets at all (58.0%). Among the 169 households who chose
“very bad” for their health conditions, none uses indoor flush
toilets. This phenomenon is connected with the economic con-
dition, i.e., better-off households tend to use “indoor flush toi-
lets.” Therefore, there is a certain connection between the type
of toilets and the health condition of rural residents, which
proves that government intervention is needed in the improve-
ment of lavatories of impoverished rural residents.
Lighting and Fuel
1) Electricity for lighting is not available to a quarter of
rural residents in pastoral regions of A Ba Prefecture. Ta-
ble 6 shows that 95.5% of rural ouseholds in A Ba Prefecture h
Table 2.
Sources of drinking water in A Ba Prefecture in terms of nationalities.
Sources of Safe Drinking Water Sources of Unsa fe Drinking Wa ter
Type Tap Water Wells (>5 Me ters)Wells (<5 Meters)Rivers and PondsRainwate r Total
Number of Households 4071 253 197 1106 78 5705
Tibetan 2525 190 156 684 42 3597
Qiang 577 22 14 308 32 953
Hui 110 14 8 8 0 140
Han 854 26 19 106 4 1009
Others 5 1 0 0 0 6
Percentage (%) 71.36 4.43 3.45 19.39 1.37 100.00
Tibetan 70.20 2.28 4.34 19.02 1.17 100.00
Qiang 60.55 2.31 1.47 32.32 3.36 100.00
Hui 78.57 10.00 5.71 5.71 0.00 100.00
Han 84.64 2.58 1.88 10.51 0.40 100.00
Others 83.33 16.67 0.00 0.00 0.00 100.00
Table 3.
The use of hygiene facilities (toilets) in various residential areas of A Ba Prefecture.
Number of Households Percentage (%)
Type Unsafe Safe Total Unsafe Safe Total
Farming Regions 3151 559 3710 84.9 15.1 100.0
Farming-Pastoral Regions 1278 118 1396 91.6 8.5 100.0
Pastoral Regions 511 21 532 96.1 4.0 100.0
A Ba 4940 698 5638 87.6 12.4 100.0
Table 4.
The use of hygiene facilities (toilets) of rural residents in A Ba Prefecture in terms of nationalities.
Number of Households Percentage (%)
Type Unsafe Safe Total Unsafe Safe Total
Tibetan 3320 320 3640 91.21 8.79 100.0
Qiang 784 206 990 79.19 20.81 100.0
Hui 118 22 140 84.29 15.71 100.0
Han 837 177 1014 82.54 17.46 100.0
Others 5 1 6
Total 5064 726 5790
Table 5.
The crosstab of self-assessment on health and the toilet types in A Ba Prefecture (%).
Condition None Indoor Flush
Toilets Indoor Toilets
(Without Water) Outdoor F lus h
Toilets Sanitary Toilets
(Without Water)Open Latrine
Pits of CementOpen Latrine
Pits of Earth Others Total
Very Good 7.2 10.6 0.8 5.3 5.9 20.2 44.4 5.6 100.0
Good 12.4 7.0 0.7 3.1 5.5 16.6 49.3 5.5 100.0
Ordinary 14.2 2.8 0.4 3.1 4.8 14.4 53.7 6.6 100.0
Bad 14.7 1.5 0.5 3.0 3.5 14.2 57.7 4.9 100.0
Very Bad 16.0 0.0 1.2 1.2 4.1 15.4 58.0 4 .1 100.0
Total 13.3 4.5 0.6 3.2 4.9 15.5 52.3 5.8 100.0
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 65
are provided with electric lamps for lighting. In pastoral regions,
however, 28.38% of households still use oil lamps for lighting.
Hence, the government should focus on the improvement of
rural household electricity in pastoral regions.
2) Tibetan is the nationality for whom lighting should
soon be improved. Table 7 reveals that electricity or biogas
lamps are not available to 248 out of 3392 Tibetan households,
which comprise 6.81% of the total A Ba population.
3) Firewood is used as the main fuel in cooking by rural
residents in A Ba Prefecture, and the improvement in
cooking using ovens should be made in rural areas in the
future. Traditional fuels like firewood and animal wastes are
used for cooking in farming, farming-pastoral, or pastoral re-
gions of A Ba Prefecture (Table 8). Therefore, the lifestyle of
most rural households in A Ba Prefecture is still quite tradi-
tional with regard to fuel. An improvement in cooking using
ovens should be made in A Ba Prefecture to protect the envi-
ronment and to save resources by popularizing the use of clean
energy sources.
1) The development of poverty reduction policies is severely
constrained by the traditional definition of poverty, which em-
phasizes the difference in income or expenditure. Therefore, in
traditional poverty reduction policies, the support in raising
income (e.g., the social security and assistance) is considered
more important than enhancing the basic capacities of local
people. Although income is an important factor in enhancing
capacities, other factors should also be considered. The empiri-
cal investigation in A Ba Prefecture proves that it is more prac-
tical at present to emphasize non-income factors like acquiring
safe drinking water, hygiene facilities, and clean energy.
2) In the services related to safe drinking water and environ-
mental sanitation, the “Trinity Mode” is applied, referring to
the three aspects of “water”, “environmental sanitation”, and
“health education” that are implemented at the same time.
“Water” refers to “safe drinking water”, which involves the im-
provement of water quality, water yield, convenient water
fetching, and coverage rate of tap water. “Environmental sani-
tation” means “basic individual hygiene facilities”, which cov-
ers newly built or rebuilt lavatories and the non-hazardous
treatment of excreta. “Health education” includes the populari-
zation of health knowledge about water and environmental
sanitation, which can lead to the change in individual behaviors.
Thus, the improvement of water and environmental sanitation
involves many interacting aspects, other than just the sole in-
crease of income. From the basic condition in A Ba Prefecture,
public policies, especially those improving livelihood and re-
ducing poverty, should focus on hygiene facilities and clean
energy. Public finance and cultural influence are needed in this
process. Only in this way can people live more happily with
Table 6.
Lighting types of rural households in vari ou s residential regions o f A Ba Prefecture (%).
Electric/Biogas Lamps Oil Lamps/Candles/etc.TotalElectric/Biogas Lamps (%)Oil Lamps/Candles/etc. (%)Total
Farming Regions 3653 57 371098.46 1.54 100.00
Farming-Pa storal Regions 1136 60 139695.70 4.30 100.00
Pastoral Regions 3 81 151 532 71.62 28.38 100.00
Total 5370 268 563895.25 4.75 100.00
Table 7.
Lighting types of rural households of various nationalities in A Ba Prefecture (%).
Electric/Biogas Lamps Oil Lamps/Candles/etc. Total Electric / Biogas Lamps (%)Oil L amps/Candles/etc. (%) Total
Tibetan 3392 248 3640 93.19 6.81 100.00
Qiang 983 7 990 99.29 0.71 100.00
Hui 140 0 140 100.00 0.00 100.00
Han 999 5 1014 98.52 1.48 100.00
Others 5 1 6 83.33 16.67
Total 5519 271 5790 95.32 4.68 100.00
Table 8.
Fuel types used by rural residents in A Ba Prefecture (%).
Type Coal Electricity Liquefied Gas/Natural Gas Biogas Firewood Others To tal
Farming Regions 1.43 14.37 1.73 2.33 78.13 2.00 100.00
Farming-Pastoral Regions 0.65 2.80 0.65 0.29 87.86 7.76 100.00
Pastoral Regions 2.08 0.38 2.46 0.00 39.13 55.95 100.00
Total 1.30 10.19 1.53 1.60 76.87 8.51 100.00
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
more dignity.
Against the background of economic globalization, the edu-
cational level and health condition of laborers in one country or
one region determine not only the material capital investment,
but also its market competitiveness. In developing countries,
poverty can be lessened with the improvement of the basic
capacities of entire laborers through income redistribution and
investment in basic education and medical services. The econ-
omy may grow with the general development of human re-
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