In an effort to empower rural communities Tarayana has been helping villagers to overcome the shortage of basic livelihood necessities like electricity and roads.
One such project is the micro-hydro project in Dali Gewog in Zhemgang. It is a 2 year projected with budget of 0.2 m.
Previously the project was to establish a Pico-hydro plant but after a series of feasibility tests, it was proven unfeasible. After the feasibility for micro-hydro plant in place the ground work is almost done.
Project Manager Dhendup Tshering told The Bhutanese that the project is expected to be over by March next year. “But there might be some hinges in the project which could delay the expected time of completion,” he said. The challenges are mainly because the village being very remote and cut off from other places due to lack of roads results in uneasy transport during summer when the rivers expand.
According to him, the micro-hydro project is on a better track this dry season. The turbines are imported from Nepal and cement use is kept minimal as it is very heavy and difficult to transport to the already cut off village. Alternatively, the use of pipes will be incorporated through underground operations. Currently the channeling work has started and materials have already been procured.
Initially the plan was to just provide electricity for lighting purpose but with the community’s request, after the project is done the village will have electricity for both purposes. The 17kW electricity will light up 32 households.
“The villages we work with particularly regarding the pico or micro-hydro projects are those which have thousands of sites where people have a source of falling water but do not have electricity and electricity might take years to reach these places. For these rural communities, pico hydro is the lowest-cost technology for generating electricity as it operates through simple electrical mechanism.” said Roseleen Gurung, senior Program Officer for Tarayana Foundation. Lighting from this source is said to be cheaper and safer than using kerosene lamps.
The micro-hydro power after its completion will also have the option to be connected to the National grid if it arrives in the village. The community members will be encouraged to take ownership of the activity right from the start of the project. A committee formed by the community with the consultation of the stake holders will be in charge of the maintenance of the plant.
Apart from this, Tarayana Foundation has helped rural communities in improving their livelihoods through trainings and programs which include making earth bricks, biogas, solar dryers and Eco-san.
Among such initiatives is the Gravity Ropeway in Bara Gewog in Samtse which was successfully completed in 2013. The ropeway is a 980 meters long gravity goods ropeway which was commissioned in Norgaygang gewog, connecting Thrikha and Changju. It helps the people of the villages to transport products in and out of their villages which before the gravity ropeway installation would mean walking for about 8 hours carrying the loads.
The ropeway doesn’t carry humans but has made carrying of the products easier since it doesn’t require electricity or fuel and works on a simple gravitational principle with the help of an operator. Dhendup Tshering also said that they plan to assist other communities with similar low carbon technologies provided the budgets are adequate.