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New Pendeba Society in Tibet, China

As a student in Future Generations Master’s Degree Program in Applied Community Change and Conservation, Tsering Norbu led in the creation of a new non-profit organization, obtaining legal status through Lhasa’s Civil Affairs Bureau with government support from the Shigatse QNNP Management Bureau. Enthusiasm for the Pendeba Society has come from Mr. Gonglou Duioji, the first Tibetan to have climbed Mt. Everest.

Within the Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Preserve (QNNP), the Pendeba Society will support 276 Tibetan volunteer conservation stewards and community service workers. This new locally registered non-profit organization, the first of its kind to be created in Shigatse Prefecture, will strengthen community and government partnerships to alleviate poverty and protect the environment.

For more than a decade, Future Generations has been training Tibetans in villages across the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve (QNNP) to be conservation stewards and community service workers. Known as Pendebas, Tibetan for “workers who benefit the village,” these volunteers promote environmental stewardship and improve health and well-being within the 348 isolated villages of the QNNP, which includes two of the poorest counties in all of China. The purpose of the Pendeba Program is to ensure that conservation also benefited the local people.

The Pendeba Society, with government approval, creates a legal structure to support Pendebas. It will:

  •     Provide a forum for Pendebas to share their learning and work together 
  •     Set up a systematized program of their training and supervision
  •     Use the power of collective action to arrange financing
  •     Raise funds to support their community-based work
  •     Support ecotourism activities, such as more examples of well-managed family hotels run by local people