You are here
On September 23, 2011, two representatives from Vale Award Committee including Ms. Carolyn Tang, Head of Corporate Affairs of Vale Minerals China and Ms. Zoe Hu, Research Vice President of CCiA visited The Pendeba Society’s Vale Project sites in Tingri County’s Enba and Chuxi Villages.
During the visit, our guests had direct impressions of our projects’ environmental and social settings as well as interactive conversations with participants of the projects such as leaders of both villages. Through the conversation and close observation on the spot, both Ms. Tang and Ms. Hu have enriched their understandings of our projects, and also raised some key issues that should be considered in the latter phase of the project implementation. In addition, we also showed our guests around the Exhibition Hall at the Training Center, giving brief introduction of QNNP’s geographical and social settings in front of QNNP’s topographical sand modes.
After the visit, the work of The Pendeba Society was well recognized by our guests, and we hope that the Vale Project will continue smoothly and we are sure we will make it a success for the environmental and social development in QNNP.
From September 18th to 20th, The Pendeba Society along with other awardee organizations attended a three-day experience sharing workshop in Chengdu featuring keynote dialogue, interactive workshops, free discussions and a field tour.
Through the workshop, The Pendeba Society was able to have in-depth conversations with other awardees and learn from each other. Among the awardees we have met representatives from government agencies such as Center for Environmental Education and Communications of Beijing and Guizhou Province, and Management Bureaus of Gaoligongshan and Hanzhong Crested Ibis National Nature Preserves; local NGOs like Chengdu Bird Watching Society and WWF Chengdu Office, and a student organization from Peking University. We also had opportunities to engage in comprehensive dialogues and talks with well-known experts and practitioners in the fields of environmental conservation, community development and other cross-discipline subjects including Mr. CHEN Taiyong, China Country Director of Heifer International, Mr. LI Shengzhi, Field Projects Director of the Shan Shui Conservation Centre, and Dr. HU Baijing, Director of Institute of Public Communication at Renmin Univeristy, and so on.
From September 6th to 12th, staff from The Pendeba Society including Tsering Norbu and LIU Rongkun were invited to attend a 5-day rural health festival held by the Surmang Foundation in Qinghai’s Yushu Prefecture.
The health festival aimed to transmit the inspiration of the community health workers and to extend their friendship to our new partners. The participants worked together to articulate common challenges to the biggest public health problems facing the ultra-poor and seeking improvement for themselves and their communities, to increase community participation and ownership, to connect indigenous philosophies and aspirations, social networks and economic realities. And various activities were organized such as classroom training, role-play performance, facilitated discussions and workshops on rural health. This event encompassed much of the Pendeba Program’s previous work, which attached significant attention to public health and mother-child healthcare in rural areas.
During the festival, staff of The Pendeba Society had chances to exchange ideas and work with experts from abroad in this field, from which we can draw best practice and lessons for our future work in QNNP. In the evening of September 7th, Norbu also gave a presentation about the Pendeba Program and The Pendeba Society to the attendants, which ignited interactive discussions about how to improve public healthcare in rural areas in the Tibetan region of Qinghai and TAR. Norbu also presented to community health workers knowledge on healthcare and vaccination based on experience in QNNP.
The Pendeba Society was very appreciative of the warm invitation from the Surmang Foundation to this festival. And we would very much like to deepen relationships between each other and explore possible collaboration opportunities in the near future.
The first sub-project of Vale Award Project, the Wetland Conservation Project in Chuxi Village was officially launched on August 31, 2011 in QNNP’s Tingri County. Mr. Tsering Norbu, Executive Director of The Pendeba Society, village leaders like Mr. Basang and Mr. Gesang, staff from The Pendeba Society and over 30 Chuxi villagers attended the project launch ceremony. Supported by the People's Government of Shegar Town where Chuxi Village belongs, The Pendeba Society has signed an agreement with Ms. Gama, Chief Executive of the Shegar Town about implementing the project in Chuxi Village. It is a living demostration of our work strategy, i.e. the "Three-way Partnership" which involves "top-down" support from government agencies, "bottom-up" initiative from communities, and "outside-in" training and support from organizations.
“This project protects both wetland and farmland of Chuxi village,” said Mr. Tsering Norbu, “moreover, it also prevents desertification and regulates small climate in the village by increasing the air humidity and green space around the village.” In the meantime, Norbu also introduced to the villagers the importance of protecting wetland and practicing rotational grazing. He also provided some suggestions on how to make sustainable use of arable land, especially that close to river banks. And we hope the project will also raise the awareness of environmental conservation within the community and enhance their knowledge and skills on sustainable land use.
From August 23rd to 25th, Mr. LIU Rongkun, Program Manager of The Pendeba Society attended a three- day Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific region for Rio +20 at ICIMOD Headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal.
About 40 plus participants from South East Asia, Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region, and the island nation of Papua New Guinea representing primarily governments, I/NGO sector, and multilateral organizations gathered at ICIMOD to:
• Discuss 15 commissioned case studies - 10 from HKH and 4 from SE Asia and the Pacific as well as identify good practices;
• Locate “missing links” for prioritizing regional issues; and
• Consolidate specific suggestions on status, challenges, progress and opportunities for sustainable mountain development in the context of Rio+20.
With the invitation of The Pendaba Society, a summer practice team consisting of six students from Peking University (PKU) visited Tingri for 4 days this August from 1st to 4th. The team aimed at finding out how an NGO contributes its strengths to the Qomolanga National Nature Preserve’s environmental protection in its unique way.
Mr. Tsering Norbu, Director of The Pendeba Society made a thorough presentation for the students, ranging from the natural and social statistics of the reserve area to The Pendaba Society’s history, completed projects and its future prospect. Throughout the presentation, there were questioned answered and opinions exchanged, creating a vigorous atmosphere. The students also discussed the present and future of Chinese NGO development with Norbu, and reached the consensus that NGOs should play an increasingly important role in promoting environmental protection and offering what the government fails to complete in China.
With the introduction of Norbu, the students also held seminars with Tingri County Land and Resources Bureau and QNNP Management Bureau Tingri Branch, which served as a valuable supplement to their research. They were happy to see how well-received The Pendaba Society is among both the government and the villagers within the area.
When the visit came to an end, the students from PKU expressed their gratitude of The Pendeba Society’s invitation and their admiration of the Society’s goal and current projects. They hope to carry the environmental-friendly and volunteering spirit of The Pendaba Society back to Beijing and share with their peers so that more people can support the organization and do more for the protection and development of the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve.
“Large areas of wetlands have been excavated for mud clods to build sheep pens, and it is extremely devastating to the wetlands and the ecosystem that depends on them. Alongside the river bank and lake, most of the corrals for keeping dzos, horses and sheep are made of sod. Using the sod for making corrals has two obvious disadvantages. Firstly, it destructs wetlands and grasslands by digging sod every year to construct/repair corrals and, secondly, it requires heavy drudgery for the herding community to construct and repaire the corrals every year,” said Tsering Norbu, Executive Director of The Pendeba Society, about how people build sheep pens in Enba Village of Tingri County.
To better conserve the wetlands along Pengqu River that flows across Tingri County into Nepal, The Pendeba Society staff met with Mr. Sonam Tsering, Village Leader of Enba Village on July 17, 2011 to discuss about a conservation project of transforming the old sheep pens into ones that are more sustainable and endurable.
The old sheep pens were built by laying earth clods one by one to form an enclosure. They are loosely laid together without any fortification measures. When there are heavy rains, these earth enclosures will break down and need to be rebuilt by excavated new clods from the wetlands again. It is extremely difficult for grass to recover in high-altitude areas, not to mention that the grass is even disrooted. Therefore, the harm to the wetlands from building sheep pens in this traditional way is continuous and irrevocable.
Near Chuxi Village of Tingri County there is a piece of beautiful wetland. Although it is small, it has affluent grass for livestock and a running spring that provides water for animals and human, and agricultural irrigation as well. The wetland also helps increase humidity for the village where many other villages in the region faces dry weather all year round. Usually villagers graze their horses, goats and sheep on this wetland in spring. Horses are always tethered to a picket to prevent them from running away, and horses are therefore can only feed on a small area of grassland. This will give huge pressures on the grassland and animals sometimes would dig the land for grass roots. As a consequence, the grasslands are destroyed and cannot be easily recovered at this altitude of 4300 meters high. If the horses break the tie, they will then run into neighboring farmland and destroy the crop.
To help the village better protect their precious wetland and meadow for houses, sheep and goats, and prevent livestock from treading farmland nearby, The Pendeba Society visited Chuxi Village on July 16, 2011 to identify feasibility of implementing a conservation project. The project aims to protect this valuable land by setting enclosures around the wetland, letting animals feed freely and promoting rotational grazing on the land. It will protect around 1 hectares of farmlands and around 10 hectares wetlands as well as water resources and fodder that depend on them, benefiting over 400 villagers and more than 2000 livestock in Chuxi Village.
With the prize of 25,000 RMB from Vale Award, The Pendeba Society is currently in the midst of thinking about how to make the best use of the project fund. And we have come up with several good ideas that can impose long-term positive impacts on local communities’ well-being and environmental sustainability.
One of our identified project sites is Langga Village located near the 318 National Road and close to Baiba Village where The Pendeba Society is based. Langga Village has long been suffering from difficulties in obtaining safe drinking water for both human and livestock. Villagers need to walk long way to fetch water from hidden streams and springs in the neighboring mountains. Additionally, the water quality will get even worse during the rainy season since the flood and mud will dirty the water. On July 15, 2011, The Pendeba Society organized a survey in Langga Village to measure the feasibility of laying a water pipe from the nearest spring to the village, and the result was very promising. With assistance from an expert in drinking water project for human and livestock, and information from both senior villagers and ground-based survey, we have drafted a plan that can solve the village’s drinking water problems in the coming months. The project can benefit more than 190 villagers and over 3000 livestock including cattle, houses, goats and sheep.
On June 30, 2011, Mr. Tsering Norbu, Director of The Pendeba Society was invited to People's Daily Online discussing the Vale Award that we just received and sharing experience with other participants and interested netizens.
During the interview, Norbu introduced our awarded project in terms of what we have been doing in QNNP, and approaches that we applied to make our project successful. "We strive for a balance between environmental protection and social development, and we follow closely this path. That's why we made a success and could go this far," said Norbu.
He also mentioned our work strategies of "Three Partnership" where government guidance, community involvement and expertise support are well blended in the course of the project implementation. Without these, our project would not be running so smoothly and impactfully for the past twenty years. And we hope that with this Award, we can do better and we must do better.