Employment Promotion Project following the Earthquake in Mianzhu, Sichuan Province, China

In May 2008 an earthquake registering 8.0 on the Richter scale struck the Sichuan province in China. Official statistics state that over 45 million people were affected, including 69,163 deaths. Approximately 6.5 million homes were destroyed and many had to relocate. Around 30 million people lost the majority of their productive assets and almost 2 million people lost their livelihoods.

By July 2008 the ILO had launched an Emergency-Start and Improve Your Business project (E-SIYB) in Sichuan province. This one-year project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and executed by the ILO Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction (ILO/CRISIS), provided small business start-up training. The intervention established or reestablished over 2,400 small businesses, creating 14,107 jobs within one year. When, in 2009, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross engaged in supporting affected farmers who had been relocated to new areas in Mianzhu, Sichuan Province – one of the hardest hit in the Sichuan province - they turned to the ILO as a key partner for the provision of vocational and business training. Here, the ILO focused on developing new skills and increasing the access to finance among the relocated earthquake affected populations, so they could establish or rebuild livelihoods and generate income.

The programme provided financial support through micro-finance in combination with vocational and/or business training.