Project Manager: Rinchen Tso (Ava)
This project is to buy 15 cows for the 15 poorest households in order to improve the health, education and living conditions of the villagers in Xunwa Village.
Funds needed: $6,080 (41,500rmb)
Rinchen Tso is from Xunwa Village, Daowei Township，Xunhua County, Haidong Region, Qinghai Province, China. She is currently working at the Qinghai Normal University Sustainable Development Education Center as an English teacher.
This project is located in Xunwa Village at two different geographical sites: one called Xunwa and the othercalled Kouxiang. Xunwa Village is in Daowei Township, which is about 30 kilometers from Xunhua County Town, which is situated in Haidong Region, Qinghai Province, China. Xunhua County is about 150 kilometers from Xining city, the capital of Qinghai Province. All the people in this area are Tibetan.
There are approximately 220 people and 38 households in Xunwa Village: 69 men, 70 women, and 81 children.
In this village, 10% (not including students) of the people are literate and among these numbers, 8% of the people received a primary school education and 2% of people got a middle school education. Students make up 20% of the population. There are 16 university students (7 girls and 9 boys), 14 high school students (8 girls and 6 boys), 10 middle school students (3 girls and 7 boys), and 21 primary school students (9 girls and 12 boys) in the village. There are about 7 school-aged children in the village who do not attend school (3 girls and 4 boys). On average, one child in each family currently attends school. Some families do not want to send their children to school, because they believe that education is a waste of money and time.
Xunwa Village is mainly made up of farmers who grow barley, wheat, and potatoes. Rich families, who own 14 mu (1 mu=666.6m2), can sell their excess barley and earn about 2,000 RMB each year. Most families have 12-13 mu of land, which is enough for them and their animals to live off and is enough to sell excess barley.
A second way that villagers earn money is from livestock, as most families usually own cows. From the cow’s milk, villagers produce butter and cheese to generate extra income. Because people do not eat butter or cheese very often, most of it can be sold. A family can earn about 1,000 RMB per year by selling butter and cheese. Most households can make about 12 kilograms of butter and 12 kilograms of cheese each year.
The third way of generating cash income is working as a migrant laborer. Adults who are able to work usually dig caterpillar fungus, which is very difficult to find. Each caterpillar fungus can sell for around 10 to 15 RMB. People usually go to dig the fungus at the beginning of May and come back in the middle of June. During good seasons, each person can earn about 1,500 RMB, but good seasons are happening less and less frequently. All of the money earned in this way is spent on school children’s tuition fees, and family costs, such as New Year festivities. In one year, a village family spends about 700 RMB on food and 400 RMB on clothing. In one month, a household will spend another 100 RMB on electricity and other essentials. In the summer, villagers need to buy fertilizer, which costs 800-900 RMB.
In total, the average family can make about 4,500 RMB in cash income per year, and they have to spend around 2,500 RMB per year. This leaves the average family with around 2,000 RMB left over each year. If the family has a student who attends university, then they need to borrow money from others to afford the tuition.
Thirty-eight households make up Xunwa Village, and villagers grow barley, wheat and potatoes. One mu of agricultural land can produce around 350-400 kilograms of barley. Each household owns approximately 13 mu of wheat land, one mu of potato land and around two mu of barley land.
All of the villagers in Xunwa Village are farmers and each family has an average of four animals – one cow, one pig, and two sheep. The sheep and cows are used for milking and the products they produce, while the pigs are for eating. As stated previously, by selling butter and cheese, villagers can earn about 1,000 RMB per year, depending on how much butter and cheese a family can save. This money is used to buy everyday essentials, such as medicine and salt.
The overall goal of this project is to improve the health, education and living conditions of the villagers in Xunwa Village. The immediate goal of this project is to buy 15 cows for the 15 poorest households in Xunwa Village.
1. Low income leads the poverty
Xunwa Villagers are farmers and besides farming, they have no other sustainable income sources. According to the village leader, the villagers’ per capita income is about 2-3 RMB/per day, which in US currency is about .45-.50 cents per day.
As I mentioned above, people in Xunwa Village are farmers and they have to spend money on basic necessities like salt, sugar, tea, cloth, fertilizer, and school fees for children. Xunwa villagers make a very low income, and more than that many people are sick, especially during the winter time. Most of the household members get colds and other serious illnesses, but most of the villagers don’t have the money to go to a hospital and get good medical treatment from the doctors. This has reduced Xunwa villagers’ life expectancy, and increased the death rate.
And also without nutritious food to eat, most of the people are skinny, and especially for the children who are not drinking their mothers’ milk, they need nutritious food like milk or meat to support their bodies.
2. No enough fertilizer
Xunwa villagers, especially women and girls, always carry the cow dung and donkey gunge from the mountain top to their home, because they don’t have enough fertilizer in the fields. Because they can’t afford chemical fertilizer, villagers travel far from their homes to collect enough dung. If the Xunwa villagers can’t buy or collect enough fertilizer, then they won’t have a good harvest and will earn nothing from the fields. So people don’t care how hard they have to work, they always go on the mountain and collect the dung so they will have good harvest and earn some extra cash.
3. Low incomes limit people’s knowledge
since we have a nine-year compulsory education policy, many people send their children to primary school and middle school to get a basic education. After the nine year compulsory education, many parents let their children stay at home to help with agricultural work in the fields, or send the children to do migrant labor. Some children are still going to high school, but parents are not able to afford the tuition. School leaders repeatedly ask the student to pay their tuition, so the students feel shy and bad about school, and the school sends them home to ask their parents for the tuition money.
1. High income leads to good quality of life
Some of the families raise livestock such as cows and pigs so they can make some extra income by selling milk, butter, cheese, etc. However, many poor families do not have enough money to buy a cow even if they want one. If every household had a cow to produce milk and butter, then the villagers could both eat and save some to sell. If they drank milk and ate butter, villagers would be healtheir, and have more energy to do other work to earn cash income. This is especially important for babies, because if their mother doesn’t have enough milk to feed then at least they could have cow milk to drink and butter to support their young bodies.
2. Good yield is based on fertilizer
As I mentioned above, Xunwa villagers are farmers and they need a lot of fertilizer to help the crops. Xunwa villagers save the fertilizer from livestock and people, so if they have one more cow to produce fertilizer it will be very helpful for the crops. Usually villagers can get 700-800 jin (one jin=0.5kg) of wheat from one mu; if they have enough fertilizer, villagers could get 1,000 jin of wheat from one mu. If the family has enough fertilizer from livestock and people then they don’t need to spend money buying fertilizer from the county town. And also, women and girls won’t need to go far away to collect the cow dung, so they can do something else in that period of time to help their family.
3. Get education
From selling milk, butter and cheese, villagers earn some income and support their children’s studies. If they have more money to support their studies then those children will learn about the importance of education. The more they study, the more they will think about their future and family, and they will also have more abilities to do jobs besides farming.
This project will directly benefit 15 households in the first year, which is about 80 villagers. Every two years a different 15 households will benefit from this project. After six years, the whole village will benefit from this project. Besides, this project will indirectly benefit the whole village’s development by improving general health, education and income conditions.
The women and girls are the main beneficiaries. Women are the main laborers in the families, and their health is ignored by their families. More income could eradicate the health problems that women fAce. The young girls will get the same chance as the boys to attend school. At least, women’s prestige will be elevated by making a small income for their families.
And if this project happens, then this will encourage Xunwa villagers to recognize the importance of sending girls to school to get an education.
Local government leader Zhoujia and village leader Rinzen fully supported the project manager to buy 15 cows for poorest families in Xunwa Village.
Steps of project
1. Contacted the village leader and discussed urgent needs with them. (DONE)
2. Held a meeting with the villagers to plan the project (identifying what kinds of cows are needed, who will be responsible for the sustainability of the projects). (DONE)
3. Contacted cow sellers and found out the prices of the cows. (DONE)
4. Found out the transportation fee. (DONE)
5. Wrote project proposal. (DONE)
6. Secure donor funding.
7. Buy cows from Gangza Township
8. Transport cows
9. Distribute cows to the households.
10. Visit the households to interview families and villagers.
11. Take pictures and write the final report.
12. Send the final report with all pictures and receipts.
This project takes a total of 20 days to complete.
1 day: Visit village and meet with villagers to talk about how we will implement project
1 day: Preparing to buy cows with the villagers.
15 days: Hold a meeting with village and discuss how to purchase cows, purchase the cows from Gangza Township and transport cows to the village.
2 days: Distribute cows to the 15 poorest households and take pictures of the cows.
1 day: Interview the families.
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Note: Each cow cost at least 3,500 RMB in the Gangza Township. The local people contribute 800 RMB for each cow.
This project is going to benefit all families in Xunwa village after 6 years. Firstly, 15 cows will be distributed to the 15 poorest households from Xunwa Village. During our meeting we decided not to buy male cows, because Xunwa Village has two male cows to sire baby cows with those 15 female cows. After two years, those 15 poorest families will gave 15 baby cows to the second poorest 15 families, after six years each family will get a cow. If one of the cows dies after two years, that family has to give a two-year-old cow to the next family. Also, when we buy cows the project manager will take one of the members from those 15 households and let them choose the cow for their family. After choosing the cows, they will be responsible for it and every villager will be clear about the contract that we wrote together. All the villagers will sign the contract as soon as the project begins.
In order to make sure those cows stay in good health and the project is sustainable, the villagers are willing to make a contract with the project manager. The first 15 families will take good care of the cows and will be responsible for the health care. They are also responsible for contributing another 15 baby cows after two years.
Those 15 families will be responsible for all those 15 cows. If the cow is sick, then the families need to take it to the vet and take care for it; if the cow dies, then the family will gave 3,000 RMB to the project manager or give another baby cow to the next family. If project manager Rinchen Tso is not there when those families are distributing the cows to the next 15 families, Rinzen, the village leader, will be responsible for that, making sure those baby cows are healthy.
Rinchen Tso has successfully completed two second-hand clothes projects in Xunwa Village; one was completed on January 9th, 2006, and the other on August 8th, 2006. Both of these projects were supported by the British Consulate in Shanghai and the Kleisath family. In April 2008, Rinchen Tso was the project manager for an irrigation project for Xunwa Village, which was funded by Shambala Connection. This project helped 38 households from Xunwa Village and 3 households from Deman Village. Around 241 people directly benefited from this project. In March 2009, Rinchen Tso was the project manager for Book Project for Dordan School, which was funded by the Asia Foundation; this book project helped the whole Dordan School, including teachers, students, and householders. Approximately 1,100 people benefitted from this project directly.
Photos of the project
Map of the project location