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On August 28, 2012, staff of the Pendeba Society went on a survey to Zhaguo Town of Tingri County to identify project site where conventional sheep corrals will be transformed. After consulting with local township officials, not only had we received support from local government, we also got to know the villages that have large areas of conventional sheep corrals needed to be transformed. We surveyed some of the villages including Zhaguo, Jialong, Meimu, and Chaga Villages, and identified two project sites, namely Meimu and Chaga, where there are urgent needs to transform their conventional sheep corrals.
In the morning, accompanied by village chiefs of Meimu, we went to the riverside to examine the sheep corrals, during which we introduced our project and the importance of wetlands, we also got to know there are 18 sheep corrals in the village that require transformation. Though some of the corrals have been transformed into ones half-stone and half-earth brick, they still need reinforcement. Nonetheless, many sheep corrals are still constructed conventionally by digging out wetland earth blocks, and they are collapsing due to poor maintenance. After consulting with village chiefs and listening to their needs, we have designed a project plan that owners of the corrals provide labor for corral transformation while the Pendeba Society provides materials such as winter fabric covering the corrals so that they can provide better protection for livestock to get through cold winter. In the meantime, we also came out with an incentive plan that those who do a good job in the project will be rewarded after the final evaluation. This will also motivate villagers, and help achieve the results in a successful manner. The project will transform 18 sheep corrals, from which over 400 villagers and 4600 livestock will benefit.
In the afternoon, we went on to the other village, Chaga. In the course of talking with village chiefs, we also introduced our visit and project, and consulted about the village’s needs. The chiefs were all in favor of our projects, and stated their needs, i.e., building a watercourse that feeds water into hillside farmlands behind the village for irrigation during spring sowing season. Due to unfavorable climate and geological conditions, this area faces floods during the raining season, while the sandy soil cannot hold water from wellspring in mountains. Together with lacking of irrigation infrastructures, they impose negative impacts on the village’s agricultural production. During the spring sowing season in particular, there is less rain and the sandy soil will have absorbed the water from wellspring before it reaches the farmland, causing water shortage for irrigation.
Though there are irrigation infrastructures and a large reservoir under construction near the village, it still needs more funds for the village to build a watercourse that can feeds water into small reservoirs near the hillside farmlands. Also, summer floods can be better controlled and channeled off to the large reservoir for storage, providing water for the farmlands downstream. And the staff of the Pendeba Society did a survey to the hillside farmlands, and together with the village chiefs carefully planed the project. Finally, we agreed to transform 10 conventional sheep corrals while building a irrigation watercourse for the village’s hillside farmlands. This project will ensure irrigation water for around 100 mu (around 6.7 ha) farmlands to safeguard agricultural production, and transform conventional sheep corrals to protect wetlands, from which over 260 villagers and 3000 livestock will benefit.
We truly appreciate the generous support from LAO NIU Foundation, while in the meantime, we also thank Zhaguo Government and concerned communities for their continued support and cooperation on these projects.
In the afternoon of August 13, 2012, TAR’s Department of Civil Affairs held a meeting on progress report of State-funded social welfare projects and a ceremony to confer Social Organization Grade Evaluation certificates on outstanding social organizations of Tibet Autonomous Region. Mr. XIAO Bai, Vice Department chief chaired the meeting, and Mr. JIA Xiaojiu, Vice Director of State Bureau of NGO Administration, attended the meeting and gave a keynote speech. In his speech, Mr. JIA mentioned that social organizations are government’s right hand, and it signifies much to cultivate and oster social organizations. He also delivered six requirements to the organizations that received state grants to implement social welfare projects, namely, 1) projects need to solve the most urgent needs of local communities, and benefit local people; 2) implementing scale and scope of the projects should be well handled; 3) Subletting and inappropriate bonus rewards are prohibited; 4); all documents related to the projects should be well kept; 5) project closing should be well managed; and 6) let projects play a leading role in promoting social welfare. Mr. JIA also introduced the background of the State Social Welfare Project Grants Program, and emphasized the importance of this program, which is in accordance to central government’s direction on cultivating and fostering social organizations. If this program has succeeded and reached its goals, and local people have really benefited, it is very possible that this grants program will be incorporated into the central government’s annual budget, which will ensure grants, and more local people, especially local Tibetan communities will benefit.
Mr. Sonam Louguo, Director of TAR’s Bureau of NGO Administration, introduced the establishment of TAR’s social organizations, current challenges and future improvement measures. Mr. YU Yonglong, Vice Director of State Bureau of NGO Administration attended this meeting as well. Five social organizations from TAR that are conferred 5 A Grade (top grade) of Social Organization Grade Evaluation of TAR were invited to attend the meeting. Representatives of these five organizations also presented their project progress to all the attendees. At last, Mr. JIA and Mr. XIAO conferred the 5 A Grade certificates upon the Pendeba Society, TAR Charity Federation, Tibet Ecology and Environment Foundation and other two organizations. They also encouraged these organizations to keep up with great work, and contribute more to better future of TAR. Mr. Tsering Norbu, on behalf of the Pendeba Society, received the certificate.
The wetlands along Pengqu River are some of the most important wetlands in QNNP, and they are also natural grassland for livestock. These wetlands conserve rich biological and ecological diversity as the preserve’s natural resources. Complex environmental and climatic conditions also result in diverse flora various types of grassland, which demonstrate a microprint of QNNP’s grassland, and feed for livestock in the region. It means much for better conserving and utilizing these wetlands given the place’s important green gene bank as well as beautiful nature endowments. However, there are many corrals along the river that are made of mud dug from the wetlands. There are no measures to reinforce these conventional corrals and the mud does not bind tight. When there are heavy rains in summer, these corrals would fall apart easily. It is very difficult for grassland of high altitude to restore balance, not to mention that these grasses were eradicated. Hence, damages due to these conventional corrals are lasting and irrevocable. In the meantime, rebuilding and repairing these corrals also require much labor input from local communities, which may repeat year after year.
In this regard, the Pendeba Society, with generous support from Lao Niu Foundation, plans to transform conventional corrals along Pengqu River into earth brick or stone corrals, which will better protect the wetland ecosystems in QNNP. Therefore, from August 1st to 8th, 2012, staff from the Pendeba Society went on a survey about conventional corrals in Chazi, Didong, Cangmuda, Dongba and Enba Villages in Tingri County and Daqu and Nailong Village in Nyalam County. Coordinated by village chiefs and leaders, with some of them being our Pendebas, our staff had a close investigation of conservation conditions of wetlands along the river, and examined usage changes of grassland resources as well as soil erosion and degradation. Through the survey, we have found that damages to the wetlands have been severe. Though it has been banned for years to dig wetlands, there are still large areas of destroyed wetlands in the region, which imposes enormous pressure on wetland conservation in QNNP.
The Pendeba Society is pleased to announce that our nomination for the Equator Prize 2012 was selected as one the Prize’s finalists. The Equator Prize is awarded biennially to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage.
This year’s Technical Advisory Committee reviewed 812 nominations from 113 countries in ten languages and found the level of competition very high. Of these, the Pendeba Society’s nomination had the distinction of being selected as one of only 103 finalists. Though we did not make it to the final award, we are still appreciative of the honor of being an Equator Prize 2012 finalist, which shows a positive recognition and support of our work on the planet’s “Third Pole”. We will certainly keep up our work and hopefully will gain the Prize in the near future. By this chance, we would like to thank all those people who have consistently supported us and helped us grow. Tashi Telek!
More information about the the Equator Initiative:
The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. The Equator Initiative seeks to:
- Recognize the success of local and indigenous initiatives,
- Create opportunities and platforms to share knowledge and good practice,
- Inform policy to foster an enabling environment for local and indigenous community action, and
- Develop the capacity of local and indigenous initiatives to scale-up their impact.
To those who care about the Pendeba Society and Tibet’s environmental development:
The Pendeba Society is delighted to receive a 1 million yuan RMB grant from Lao Niu Foundation, which will be specifically designated for a two-year project focused on ecological conservation and community Pendeba capacity building. A series of sub-projects will be implemented including renovation of the Pendeba Training Center, transformation of traditional sheep corrals along Pengqu River and three sessions of Pendeba capacity building trainings.
As part of “Charity Fair,” the First China Public Welfare Project Contest was carried out. The “Pendeba Nature Conservation and Community Development” Project was finally awarded a Silver Award after a serious processes including application, first and second round of contests and critical comments from judge panel.
In the evening of July 12, an Award Ceremony was held in Shenzhen Xiangmihu Theater, with the Minister of Civil Affairs, Mr. LI Liguo and CPC Secretary of Shenzhen City, Mr. WANG Rong attending the event. At the ceremony, Executive Director, Mr. Tsering Norbu, on behalf of the Society received the award with other awardee organizations, as well as good rounds of applause from the audience.
Here is the video of the First China Public Welfare Project Contest Award Show (In Chinese only)
In the ceremony of the First China Charity Fair held in Shenzhen Exhibition Center on July 12, 2012, Pendeba Society’s executive director and program manager, on behalf of the Society attended the Fair of great national significance. Many concerned government officials also attended the ceremony including Secretary of Guangdong CPC, Mr.WANG Yang, Vice President of CPPCC, Mr. HUANG Mengfu, and Minister of Civil Affairs, Mr. LI Liguo, etc.
This is the first national charity fair, organized by the Ministry of Civil Affairs along with the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce together with the Shenzhen and Guangdong governments. With a theme of the fair of “Development, Integration and Transparency,” the purpose of the Charity Fair is to provide a platform to showcase effective charitable programs and organizations, encourage open communications within and beyond the social sector and help increase understandings toward charity work from the public.
The exhibition fair demonstrates all of China’s latest achievements, management and innovative social construction, and at the same time to promote development of charitable organizations and enterprises as well as opening new channels for the public to participate in charitable activities. The exhibition fair is covering 15,000 square meters and will have forums, celebrations, online exchanges and charity festivals.
From June 23-28, 2012, Pendeba Society staff went on a field visit to Asan and Chundu Villages in Nyalam County to examine the completion of Vale Award projects carried out in these two villages.
The farmland enclosure project in Asan Village of Suozuo Township was successfully completed. Through setting up farmland enclosures, this project not only helps protect farmland from being destroyed by wild animals, but it also helps build a sustainable development path and increase life abilities for wild animals. Over 98% of villagers, more than 600 people can benefit from the project, meeting the urgent needs of the community.
So was the farmland enclosure project in Chundu Village of Menbu Township. Through this project, it helps protect farmland from being destroyed by wild animals and livestock; rather it solves the conflicts over the grasslands between Chundu and Gucuo Villages due to historical problems. It eases the management work for local village government, duly meets the needs of the community, stimulates social stability and economic development in the village.
On June 22, 2012, the sixth Vale Award sub-project, Flood control dam project for Sea-buckthorn shrub and farmland was launched in Langga Village, Tingri County. This project is expected to be finished in mid-July.
The project aims to protect 30 mu’s Sea-buckthorn shrub and farmland from being destroyed by summer floods of Luoluoqu River passing by Langga Village. It helps mitigate soil erosion and farmland conservation, which in return ensures food security, enhances environmental conservation and promote sustainable use of land.
Due to observable climate change and other natural factors, the rainfall has been unstable and summer floods emerge frequently in recent years. Even the national road has been destroyed by the mighty floods of Luoluoqu River. The floods have imposed very negative impact and threat toward the village’s farmlands and many areas of them have been flushed away. Although some Sea-buckthorn shrubs near the farmland have played a role in protecting the farmland by cushioning the floods, it is still not enough given lacking of firm measures on flood control and the Sea-buckthorn shrubs are also facing risks being flushed away. Hence, we plan to build rock dams fastened by strong wire netting to combat summer floods, where Sea-buckthorn shrubs can be better conserved to help reduce soil erosion, and farmland be protected from being destroyed. It safeguards food production, and benefits more than 190 villagers by meeting the urgent needs of the community.
The project was initially planned to help the village build a water pipeline, fetching water from water source to the village. However, after several surveys by technicians, the structure of the hill behind the village where sources the water, and the hill slope are not suitable for paving water pipeline. Therefore, after consulting with community leaders and local government officials, the project was changed to build flood control dam to protect Sea-buckthorn shrub and farmland in the village.
In March 2012, the fifth Vale Award sub-project, Asan Village Farmland Enclosure Project was launched in Suozuo Township, Nyalam County. The project was completed in June. Gangjiu Natural Village consists of 56 poorest households in Asan Village. Although in recent years, the government has built and strengthened farming irrigation systems and pond, which has largely improved local irrigation facilities, enhanced its ability to resist natural disasters, ensuring agricultural production.
However, one of the most critical problems arose, which is wild animal, especially Procapra gutturosa, destroying crops. Asan has 290 thousand mu of grassland, and there is no major conflict between human and wild animal or livestock and wild animals for the grassland. There is no hunting or wild animal killing in the village. Due to wild animal conservation efforts, Procapra gutturosa has enjoyed an increased number, where many Procapra gutturosa can be seen around the village. It is estimated that more than 50 Procapra gutturosa are living around Asan. After spring sowing, Procapra gutturosa usually come down to farmland to feed on fresh barley crops when grass has yet grown on hills. It is understandable. But even when the grass is well grown in summer, Procapra gutturosa still feed on crops, which largely undermines poor farmers’ interests, resulting in reduced production. The solution is to set up farmland enclosures to prevent wild animals from destroying crops.
When the project is completed, it has several benefits. First, it protects farmland from being destroyed by wild animals; Second, it helps build a sustainable development path and increase life abilities for wild animals; Third, over 98% of villagers, more than 600 people can benefit from the project, meeting the urgent needs of the community.