Li Zongrun is 15 years old, and has a job unlike many others his age – he leads a team of five young reporters in Zhongba village, which was decimated by the 8.0 Richter magnitude earthquake that ripped through the mountains of southwest China on May 12, 2008. Zongrun keeps his community informed of local events, a vital service in the wake of the earthquake.
CI and its local partner Shan Shui have been supporting the implementation of the Zhongba conservation agreement which commits the community to protect the forest and organize a patrolling system to keep illegal loggers, hunters and poachers out of the conservation area so that it remains intact habitat for Giant Pandas and other species. In return, the community receives patrolling wages, rights to manage the area and technical support to sustainably collect medicinal herbs and develop herb plantations.
To increase information access that was desperately needed after the earthquake, Shan Shui helped organize a group to run a community newsletter. An energetic teenager, Zongrun quickly took the lead. The newsletter is prominently displayed outside Zhongba’s cultural center. “My news is read by everyone,” he says proudly, “people are happy to be informed.”