Environment and Renewable Energy

Tarayana works with some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country with high poverty incidences. These communities have very limited adaptive capacity and coping mechanisms for climate-induced risks. Most of the communities are also located in high climate vulnerability zones which further increases their risk of climate hazards. Due to climate change, the livelihood options of the communities are challenged with water scarcity, increased pests and diseases, decreased crop yield, and human-wildlife conflict further aggravating the food insecurity issues, waste management, and so on. Through different interventions, the Foundation builds and enhances the capacities of the communities to cope with the impacts and risks of climate change.

The Foundation has worked together with several partners to implement several green technologies in rural Bhutan including fuel-efficient stoves, biogas, solar dryers, solar lighting, rainwater harvesting, micro-hydro, gravity goods ropeway, and eco-friendly construction techniques. These interventions have improved people’s living standards as well as given them life skills and knowledge on climate issues ensuring sustained development and growth. Green technologies currently being promoted and adopted by the communities are:

i) Climate Adaptation Programme

  1. Technology Innovation  with College of Science & Technology:

Tarayana Foundation has established a partnership with the College of Science and Technology, Royal University of Bhutan, and conducts an annual contest among the final year engineering students to develop green technologies best suited to Bhutanese conditions. So far, the partnership has resulted in solar dryers, low-cost insulation material, low-cost solar fencing and low-cost solar water heating related to clean energy and energy efficiency. While the call was for both male and female students to take part in the Foundation saw fewer female participants as compared to male.

  1. Addressing essential sanitation needs, Tarayana has constructed 64 eco-san toilets, promoting hygienic practices and environmental sustainability.

  2. Tarayana has been actively involved in environmental initiatives such as rainwater harvesting, with 38 RWH installed to address water scarcity issues. The foundation has fostered community engagement through the formation of 43 water user groups, empowering local communities to manage and utilize water resources effectively. The Foundation is currently focusing on springshed management. 

ii) Climate Mitigation Programme

  1. Vermi Composting:

Vermicompost is the process of composting, using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetables or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicompost. Organic farming methods, incorporation of “on-farm” production of composts and vermicompost have been promoted in all the foundation’s targeted villages. Six groups in Kengkhar, Monggar, and one in Samtse have taken up the production of vermicompost to an enterprise level through packaging and selling it in the local markets.

  1. Improved Stove: The newly designed stoves have inherent attributes which can meet the needs of changing times such as high fuelwood efficiency, clean combustion, no indoor smoke and high heat retention capacity. All the eco-stoves are locally manufactured to create employment, provide skill development and promote the local economy. These stoves are made from mud and some metallic parts which require less maintenance. The Foundation has supplied 2554 Fuel Efficient Stoves, contributing to cleaner energy solutions and promoting sustainable practices in rural areas.

  1. Biomass Energy: Tarayana was one of the local implementing partners for the Sustainable Rural Biomass Energy (SRBE) Project, executed by the Department of Renewable Energy (DRE), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA). With the help of community stove technicians, trained by the Foundation with the support from MoEA, the Department of Renewable Energy, we are able to implement  1514 improved stoves by the end of December 2015 in the rural villages under Sarpang Dzongkhag. The foundation has also supplied 25 bio-gas units to community members, 

  1. Compressed Earth Block: Compressed Earth Block (CEB) is a building material made primarily from damp soil compressed at high pressure. The CEB technology offers a cost-effective, environmentally sound masonry system. The product has a wide application in construction for walling, roofing, arched openings, eco-stoves, pavement tiles, etc. The Self-Help Group at Dechen-Pelri community owns and operates the unit. The Unit has provided an alternate source of construction material in the Dzongkhag. A total of six houses were constructed in 2015 using the CEB in Dechen-Pelri. With a proper marketing strategy in place, demand is growing from the new construction sites in the nearby areas.

iii) Climate Resilience Programme

  1. Micro Hydro Rural Electrification

Tarayana piloted a 17Kw micro hydropower project to create access to clean energy and to enhance economic opportunities for the people of Dali in Zhemgang district through a community-managed sustainable programme and a participatory approach. Dali village was off the national grid and inaccessible during the monsoon season. It was a six-hour trek distance from the nearest road. This initiative provided lighting, reduced drudgery, prevented health hazards caused by smoke and enabled the community to operate household appliances as well as small agricultural machinery such as maize grinder and oil expeller for food security and income generation.

  1. Solar Energy /Renewable Energy

Solar Lighting: The Foundation was involved in facilitating training and installations of solar home lighting in the remotest communities to contribute to the government's goal to achieve 100% access to electricity. The Foundation facilitated the solar electrification of 504 households in 44 villages in 13 districts in collaboration with the Barefoot College of India, Rajasthan, and The Royal Government of Bhutan with support from the Asian Development Bank. Through this initiative, training of 35 semi-literate and illiterate women from rural areas at the Barefoot College. After the rigorous hands-on training, they came back as solar engineers and solar electrified their respective villages. They also built Rural Electronic Workshops (REW) for the repair and maintenance of solar lighting units installed at the village level. The focal point,was female staff from the Foundation and the women from the communities who were trained in the installation and maintenance of solar panels for home lighting and charging mobile phones. Through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, the Foundation using the same model trained 20 more women to become solar engineers and solar electrified 200 households in 20 villages across eight dzongkhags. The Bhutan Foundation also supported the Foundation in replicating this model for 55 households in Wangdue district. In total, more than close to 100 women were trained to become solar engineers in rural Bhutan and more than 255 households were electrified.

Solar Dryers: Solar dryers are introduced to foster sustainable development, which allows the communities to continue to derive income from agriculture using improved sustainable techniques of food preservation and reducing CO2. The dryers help the farmers preserve their excess produce for use during the lean season and have contributed to their food security and nutrition enhancement as well as income generation through the sale of solar-dried vegetables and fruits. The solar dryer fabrication unit of Dagana also assisted and introduced the use of solar dryers to the Women Self Help Group in Tsento, Paro. The Women group members were trained on the usage and management of these solar dryers. 

Solar Electric Fencing: The field officers of the Foundation also facilitated the installation of solar electric fencing in many rural villages through the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation to protect crops from wild animal damage. Tarayana has installed  a total of 215 kilometres of solar and electric fencing. 

  1. NAPA II Project: 

The Foundation was the only CSO partner in the Second National Adaptation Plan of Action(NAPA II), to address the Risk of Climate-Induced Disasters and Building National Resilience to Climate Change. The objective of the NAPA Project is to enhance national, local, and community capacity to prepare for and respond to climate-induced multi-hazards to reduce potential losses of human lives, national economic infrastructure, livelihoods, and livelihood assets. The project focused on the implementation of climate-resilient water harvesting in 35 villages in 4 districts. The interventions include community mobilization, training on watershed and land management, training on local organic climate change action and learning, planting of suitable plants around the water sources to improve water drainage, installation of rainwater harvesting tanks,  construction of water reservoir tanks, training on financial literacy and formation of community water user committee. After the completion of the project, the Foundation was able to scale these activities in 8 more districts. Since the springshed management, community water management and access to clean drinking water have become essential components of the Foundation’s Holistic Community Development Model. 

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