Shem Women's Group - empowering Tibetan women and their communities through grassroots development

Reports

project manager

This project is to provide 42 solar cookers for 42 households in Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village to reduce women’s labor; protect the forest, and prevent further climate change.

Naljor Prison Dharma Service funded this project

Rinchen Jyi is from Medo Lhangwa Village, Qiaqia Town, Gonghe County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and Qinghai Province, China. She has studied English for almost three years. Now she is studying for an Associated Degree at Qinghai Normal University Nationalities Department English Training Program.

What? 42 Solar Cookers for Ragongma and Dzelungtang Villages

Who? 42 households from Ragongma and Dzelungtang Villages, Chabucha town, Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai Province, China. Ragongma Dzelungtang Village is near Qiabuqia Town, which is 5 km away from Gonghe County. It is about 150 km away from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province.

Photos of project implementation

the-road.jpg

This is the location of the Ragongma Village. It is spring, but the land and the mountains are relatively barren until May.

the-woman-standing.jpg

This woman is Tsomo, from Dzelungtang V illage. She said that she doesn’t need to spend the whole morning collecting firewood since receiving a solar cooker.

pink-jacket.jpg

She is a seventeen year old girl from Dzelungtang Village. She was never able to attend school because of her family’s low income. She said that her whole family is very happy with the solar cooker.

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Huadan is from Ragongma Village. He said that now he doesn’t need to worry about collecting fuel since he received a solar cooker.

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Her name is Sermo Tso. She came to Dzelungtang Village after marrying her husband. She used to spend much time gathering fuel every morning. Now, after receiving a solar cooker, she has a lot more time to do other necessary tasks.

hand.jpg

She is Dorgar Tso, from Ragongma Village. She was very happy to receive a solar cooker. Now, she has more time to spend on other things such as washing clothes.

Project summary

Project Title: Solar Cooker Project for Ragongma and Dzelungtang Village

Project Goals: The immediate goal of this project is to purchase 42 solar cookers for 42 households in Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village.

The overarching goal of this project is to reduce women’s labor as well as that of school-aged children; to protect the forest, and prevent further environmental degradation.

Location of the project: This project is located in Ragongma Village, ChabuchaTown, Gonghe County, Hainan Prefecture, Qinghai Province, China. Ragongma Village is near Qiabuqia Town Township, which is 5km away from Gonghe County. It is about 150km away from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai province.

Project Beneficiaries: This project directly benefited 61 people from Ragongma Village and 192 people from Dzeluntang Village.

Implementation organization/individual:

The two villages’ leaders whose names are Dorma Dongzhi and Huadan, Renchen jyi (project manager) and Shem Women’s Group,

Contact group: Shem Women’s Group

Fund received: Amount, date and date received

On April 12th, Rinchen Jyi received 5,460 RMB from Shem Women’s Group.

Details of project activities

Originally planned project activities:

1. Contact one of the Ragongma Villagers on the phone and discuss the urgent village needs with them.

2. Hold a meeting with all Ragongma villagers and plan the project. Chose three men whose names are Huadan, Nanguo and Jiaoba dongzhi, and three women whose names are Dorga tso, Pengmao tso and Qingtso. They will be responsible for transporting and setting up solar cookers.

3. Contact Dahejia Solar Cooker Factory in Gansu Province and find out the price of each solar cooker including the transportation fee.

4. Write the proposal.

5. Secure the donor funding.

6. Choose a time to purchase the solar cookers.

7. Teach the six previously selected villagers how to use and set up solar cookers, so that then they will teach other villagers.

8. Project implementation.

9. Take photos.

10. Interview women and men.

11. Complete the final report.

12. Submit the final report to donor with receipts and photos.

Actual project activities:

1. On May 20th, 2007, Rinchen Jyi began to write the proposal.

2. On January 15th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi completed the proposal.

3. On March 24th, 2008, Naljor Prison Dharma Service agreed to fund this project

4. On March 27th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi redesigned the proposal for two villages – Ragongma and Dzelungtang Villages – due to perceived needs.

5. On March 1st to 9th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi contacted the Liuji Solar Cooker Factory to determine the price, the return policy and the date for transporting the cookers to the village.

6. On April 10th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi completed the proposal.

7. On April 11th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi received 5,460 RMB from Shem Women’s Group.

8. On April 12th, 2008, the 42 solar cookers were sent to Ragongma and Dzelungtang Villages.

9. On April 16th and 17th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi returned to the project site and interviewed some women and men who received cookers.

10. On April 16th and 20th, 2008, Rinchen Jyi wrote the final report.

Project Finances

Original budget

Actual budget

Receipt # Item Donor Contri
bution in rmb
Local Contri
bution in rmb
Shem in rmb Total in rmb Donor Contri
bution in rmb
Local Contri
bution in rmb
Shem in rmb total in rmb Differ
ence(b
eween
origianl and ac
tual bu
dgets)
in rmb
# 1
# 2
42 solar cookers (inclu
ding transp
ortation fee)

5,46
0

2,10
0

0

7,56
0

5,46
0

2,940

0

8,400

-840

  Project mana
gement expens
es

0

150

0

150

0

0

0

0

0

  Project mana
geme
ntpay
ment

0

0

500

500

0

0

500

500

0

Total  

5,46
0

2,25
0

500

8,21
0

5,46
0

2,940

500

8,900

1)-840

Note: on the original proposal each solar cooker costs 180 RMB including transportation fee. When the project was funded, Rinchen Jyi made a phone call to Liuji Solar Cooker Factory to contract the purchase and transport of 42 solar cookers to Ragongma and Dzelungtang Villages. After bargaining with the factory manager, he agreed to 200RMB per solar cooker, including transportation fee.

The factory told Rinchen Jyi that the price went up in 2008, and therefore the project expenses exceeded those of the original proposal. Each family needed to contribute an additional 20rmb in order to cover the costs. In total Rinchen Jyi collected an additional 840rmb over the originally proposed local contribution 2,100rmb.

*The project manager estimated 150rmb for the project management expenses in the original budget, during the project, she donated this amount of money back to the local villagers.

List of recipients

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Transcription of name list:

Gyasto Tserang Dugu Gonbu Dorjee
Songnan Phalko Sangjee Jigmed Dorjee
Hangxiu Dronpum Guru Sermo Tso
Banma Rigzin Jitar Gyalyi Phaldan Dorjee
Demo Tso Gako Chosmo Tso Tsomo Jyi
Losang Phaldan Gonchog Lhamo Jee Drongar Jyi
Jiaoba Tar Dorko Dondron Donko
Tashi Yangmu Tserang Phaldan Lupum
Dorjee Songnan Gya Lumo Jyi Tsehang
Lasham Gyal Chostso Lhamo Sangnam Dorjee
Jigmed Rimdrol Kuazhuo    

Difficulties and lessons learned

Difficulties

On March 24th, 2008, as soon as Shem Women’s Group announced that my project was funded by Naljor Prison Dharma Service, I (Rinchen Jyi ) made a phone call to Ragongma Village. They told me that most of the families received a solar cooker from the government but the village still needed ten solar cookers. I was disappointed at first, but I discussed this problem with one of Shem’s members and she suggested that I could find another village that needed solar cookers.

Getting help from Ragongma Village leader and my relatives in Ragongma Village, I found out Dzelungtang Village also need solar cookers. A second problem emerged when I asked Liuji Solar Cooker Factory to transport 42 solar cookers. The manager said that the price of each item had gone up. By bargaining with the manager of the solar cooker factory he agreed to sell 42 solar cookers with 8,300RMB, including the transportation fee.

Lessons learned

During implementation of my project I learned some important and valuable lessons that will help me in the future should I have the opportunity to do more projects, such as how to communicate with local people and business managers, and how to use cameras.

Interviews of the project beneficiaries

1) Demo Tso

On April 16, 2008, I interviewed Demo Tso, who is forty years old. There are seven people in her family. They are an old woman and three young children, and three of them attend different schools in Chabcha County town. She said that since she got the solar cooker, it’s very convenient when she does anything at home. She mentioned that when she was a child, the entire village used yak dung to heat tea and it was very difficult to collect. Now, she doesn’t need to spend so much time collecting yak dung and making fire in the stove.

2) Songma Dorjee

On April 16, 2008, I interviewed Songnan Dorjee, a carpenter who is fifty-eight years old. There are six people in his family; he said that when he was a little kid, one of his family members always collected yak dung from nearby villages. His mother always stayed at home to prepare tea for lunch; she always had difficulties making fire in the stove, because she had to breathe in smoke while blowing under the kettle everyday. Fortunately, he received a solar cooker and it’s solved many of his and his mother’s problems. He said that solar cooker is very useful to him, because now he can drink tea whenever he needs it.

3) Losang Phaldan

On April 17th, 2008, I interviewed Losang Phaldan, who is thirty-five years old. There are

five people in his family. He said he has had a very difficult life. He was very happy that he received a solar cooker from Naljor Prison Dharma Service Fund because his family had no solar cooker for a long time and he also could not afford a solar cooker. Formerly, he spent one or two days each week collecting animal dung from three miles away. Now that he has a solar cooker he can use it to cook and dry cheese whenever he wants to. His family has more time to do necessary things for the family, instead of collecting fuel and making fire and so on. Consequently, his family members thanked the Naljor Prison Dharma Service Fund and people who had worked on this project.

4) Chosmo Tso

On April 17th, 2008, I interviewed Chosmo Tso, a fifty-year-old woman who has a slight illness. She has four children. She tried her best to work outside of the village and earn money to support her family while also having to collect yak dung for cooking. Now, she said that she doesn’t need to collect so much yak dung. She can use her solar cooker and no longer spends lots of time collecting yak dung.

5) Tsomo Jyi

On April 17th, 2008, I interviewed Tsomo Jyi. She thanked me for managing this project and giving her a solar cooker. She is the poorest woman in the Ragongma Village. Then she thanked Naljor Prison Dharma Service Fund for helping her and solving a lot of her problems, saving her valuable time that she can now use working in the fields, instead of collecting yak dung and cooking before family members come back home from working. Now, she can heat water to wash clothes and wash hair whenever she has time at noon. She has more time to spend doing other necessary housework as well.
Letter of appreciation

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Translation of the thanks letter

Dear Naljor Prison Dharma Service,

This is the new community leader of Ragongma and Dzelungtang, my name is Dorma Dongzhi. First, I represent all the villagers and as a leader, I really appreciate your kindness and generosity in donating for this project and solving the serious problem that we have in our villages.

For such a long time these two villages have had difficulties collecting yak dung up to four or five kilometers away. The women, men and children spent lots of time collecting dung and firewood. This solar cooker project also was needed to improve environmental conditions. So again I want to say thanks to the foundation and managers who helped to complete this project.

    Sincerely,

The village leader: Dorma Dongzhi

April 13rd 2008.

Receipts

#1

_1.jpg

The total transportation fee was 2,100RMB.

#2

_2.jpg

The total cost for solar cookers was 6,300RMB.

Original Proposal

Project Location
This project will be located in Ragongma village and Dzelangtang village ( it takes 10 minutes walking between these two villages), Chabucha town, Gonghe County, Hainan prefecture, Qinghai Province, China. Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village are near Qiabuqia Town Township, about 5 km away from Gonghe County. Gonghe County is about 150 km away from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai province.

Climate
Like most areas in Qinghai province, the wintertime is longer than summer. The wintertime lasts almost 5 months. During the spring and winter the wind is very strong. These extreme weather conditions make agricultural practices difficult.

Population
There are 42 households in Ragongma Village, comprised of 67 men, 55 women, and 80 children. In total there are 202 people in Ragongma Village. 20 percent of the village people are elders in their sixties and are unable to work to help their families.There are 47 households in Dzelangtang Village, comprised of 73 men, 58 women and 94 children. In total there are 225 people in Dzelangtang village.

Education
In Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village, 78% of adults cannot read or write. They never went to school when they were young, due to the culture revolution. Now in Ragongma village there are 25 children attending primary school, 18 boys and 7 girls. The rest of 55 children stay at home (15 of them graduated from primary school, but stayed at home after primary school. 40 children have never received any education). Now there are 8 middle school students, (5 boys and 3 girls); 5 high school students (4 boys and 1 girl) and 4 university students (3 boys and 1 girl) in Ragongma Village.

In Dzeluntang village almost the same number of children is attending school. There are 29 children joining primary school, 18 boys and 11 girls. About 65 kids are normally helping their family to increase income; and a total number of 16 middle school and high school students (9 boys and 7 girls). There are only 2 male college students in Dzeluntang village.

Agriculture
Of average, Ragongma and Dzelangtang each Village owns 900 mu ( Mu is a Chinese way for measuring land 1mu= 1acre) of land for planting crops. In summer, it only rains two or three times in the villages. People in Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village plant wheat, beans, potatoes and oilseed and each family owns 20 mu . Each mu of land produces 100 kg of wheat and 50 kg of oilseed each year. In total per family produces 1500-2000 kg of wheat each year. This is only enough for the next year’s food supply.

Herding
In both Villages, the richest 40 families own around 150 sheep each, allowing them to sell wool for around 850 RMB per family; the 18 families only own 1 cow or 1 mule. And the rest of the 30 families own an average of 50 sheep and 15 goats for an income of about 500 RMB. On average, each those 30 families earn 303 RMB per year from herding. The production such as milk and butter from cow are usually not sold to others, they are kept as daily food.

Cash income
Twenty years ago, Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village used to herd livestock and plant crops. In the summer, they would cut the sheep’s wool and sell it, with each family averaging 303 RMB from the sheep wool. Now, the young people leave villages to work at construction sites as laborers, helping to pass bricks, cement and mix mud. They work for two months, earning 20 RMB per day. Each family earns an average of 1500-2000 RMB per year. But the family’s basic needs, such as clothing, medicine, salt and electricity cost more than 2,000 RMB. Families that have middle school students, high school students and university students spend additional money on tuition. For example, middle school students need 500-1000 RMB per year, high school students need 1000-2500 RMB for a year and university students need 3500-6000 RMB per year to cover school costs. In Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village, school expenses are difficult to afford, forcing many children to drop out of school to help their families to save extra money.

Project goals
The immediate goal of this project is to buy 42 solar cookers for 42 households in Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village. The overarching goal of this project is to reduce women’s labor and to reduce the labor of school-aged children; to protect the forest, and prevent further climate change. This project will directly benefit 61 people from Ragongma village and 192 people from Dzeluntang Village.

 

Problems

1. Health problem
People in these villages burn wood, straw and yak dung for making fire, so the villagers, mostly women need to travel for 3 km to collect yak dung. These fuel sources create lots of smoke in the kitchen. The smoky cooking fire irritates the lungs and eyes of the villagers who are constantly working in the kitchen, and these tasks are mostly done by women.

2. Villages’ environmental damage
In recent years deforestation around Ragongma and Dzeluntang Village have increased drastically. This has caused an increase in soil erosion, which impacts the quality of soil and contributes to the problem of sandstorms. In 2002, a windstorm devastated the crop fields and swept sand into farmers’ houses. Meanwhile, the lack of rain and subsequent drought has caused many livestock to starve to death. Last year, Gonghe County government announced that people must stop cutting wood because of global warming. In fact, the temperature in Ragongma and Dzelangtang village is rising 0.05 degrees Celsius every year and rainfall is declining 3-10 percent every season. Therefore, the climate is becoming more and more arid. From 2002 – 2005, Ragongma and Dzeluntang Village have yielded inadequate harvests resulting from environmental damage.

3. Economic burden of fuel costs
As villagers are not legally allowed to cut down firewood for the fuel, many villagers must find different fuel sources. In addition to sending women to collect yak dung, sometimes families must purchase coal for fuel. So some families with low income sell some of their products (such as wheat and oilseed) in order to buy coal fuel.
During the winter time villagers have to drive a tractor to nomadic areas to collect yak dung. Driving a tractor is another economic burden, because each trip costs about 75 RMB in gas. On average families spend 750 RMB on gas for the whole winter.

Benefits

1. Improve villagers’ health
The most important result of this project is to improve villagers’ health. One sixty-five year old woman living in Ragongma Village is unable to see clearly, because she used to be a cook in the village when she was young. Now she has poor eyesight due to smoke damage. With the solar cookers both villagers will spend less time cooking over smoky fires and will suffer from fewer smoke-related health issues. Beside improve the villagers’ health; this project will save lots of time for women to do other house chores.

2. Protect environment
Using solar cookers protect the environment in the following ways: first, villagers will no longer need to cut down trees and break the government law. So, solar cookers will help with the problem of deforestation. This will in turn help other environmental problems associated with deforestation, such as soil erosion, sand storms, and climate change. Finally, solar cookers will decrease the number of smoke-emitting fires; therefore, reduce the amount of smoke in the environment.

3. Decreased fuel costs
Sunlight for a solar cooker is free which will decrease monetary costs of both local Villages. With this project, women will not need to put much energy on collecting wood and yak dung, and families won’t need to spend much money on buying coal fuel. Also, villagers can save gas if they don’t need to drive the tractor to collect fuel.

Gender equality
The solar cooker project mostly benefits women because women are responsible for doing most of the housework, including collecting yak dung and firewood. Therefore, women are integral in planning and implementing this project with me and the village leaders. This project will encourage other young girls to take leadership roles. This project will also show villagers that education for young girls can lead to practical and positive change. Meanwhile, this project will improve the whole community.

Effect on Children
In Ragongma and Dzelangtang Villages, since the adults have a lot of work to do, the children are usually responsible for helping their parents to collect yak dung and go to forest and cut wood for the family. Cutting wood is dangerous for children because they might injure themselves or get caught by the government officials. Many children stay out late collecting fuel and do not have time to finish their homework and study. If this project is funded, the children will spend less time laboring for the family and will have more time to focus on their studies. They will have time to do their homework on the weekends and to read books for fun. In addition, the children will not have to take risks to cut wood.

Governmental Support
on May 2, 2007, Rinchen Jyi, the project manager talked to Songji (Chabucha town leader) who gave a very specific statement that he would support this project.

The Project Activities

1. Contact with both village leaders on the phone and discuss the urgent village needs with them. (Completed)

2. Hold a meeting with all villagers and plan the project (choose 3 men whose names are Huadan, Nanguo and Jiaoba dongzhi, and 3 women whose names are Dorga tso, Pengmao tso and Qingtso. They will be responsible for transporting and setting up solar cookers). (Completed)

3. Contact Dahejia solar cooker factory in Gansu and find out the price of each solar cooker including transportation fee. (Completed)

4. Write the proposal. (Completed)

5. Secure the donor funding.

6. Choose a time to purchase the solar cookers.

7. Teach the six previously selected villagers how to use and set up solar cookers, so that then they will teach other villagers.

8. Project implementation.

9. Take photos.

10. Interview women, men and children in both villages.

11. Complete the final report.

12. Submit the final report to donor with receipts and photos.

Time frame
This project will need 11 days to complete: if the project funded, I need to contact with the solar cooker factory, purchase and take the solar cookers to Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village for 5 days. And then set up solar cookers for two days. After interview the villagers for three days, I will back to Xining by bus in one day and write a finishing final report.

Detailed Budget

Item Price for
Per Item
in rmb
Number
of Items
Donor con
tribu
tion in rmb
Local
contribut
ion in rmb
Other resources (Shem)in rmb Total Cost in rmb
Solar Cookers (including transportation
fee)
180 42 5,460 2,100 0 7,560
ManagementExpense     0 150 0 150
ManagementPayment     0 0 500 500
Total     5,460 2,250 500 8,210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: for per item cost 180 RMB, includes transportation fee. Each family contributes 50 RMB for one solar cooker.
Donor Contribution: 5,460rmb
Local Contribution: 2,250 rmb
Shem Women’s Group: 500rmb

Sustainability

If any the solar cookers have problems with the quality or broke during transporting to the villages, Dahejia factory will, guarantee the return policy or they are responsible for fixing it. If the cookers damaged accidentally by villagers, the villagers will pay for the maintenance cost.

The village leader and other villagers will be responsible for this project, and they will be responsible for its sustainability. They will take good care of the solar cooker when they use it. If the solar cooker needs to be repaired, then those 6 village men and women who are chosen to responsible for setting cookers will fix it. Meanwhile, some of the villagers will be responsible for carrying and setting up the solar cookers for each family. Because they have such hardships without them, the women in Ragongma and Dzelangtang Village will be very happy to have solar cookers and will be committed to providing excellent maintenance for them. Under the villagers’ good care for the cookers, this project will provide benefits for more than five years, because the project manager have talked to other solar cooker managers and they mentioned that the solar cookers are purchased from Dahejia solar cooker factory can last more than 5 years, and they still getting benefits from them.

Past experiences
Rinchen Jyi (Audrey) started her English studies in September 2004. In the winters of 2004 and 2007 she completed two second-hand clothing projects in Medo Lhangwa Village that were supported by Sue Bishsop at the British Consulate in Shanghai.

Map of the project siteMap of the project site
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