Archive for the ‘Workshop’ Category

Photos of Latest Workshops in Murun, Khatgal and Ulaanbaatar

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

NomadGreen continues to extend its footprints to other towns in Mongolia. During June 23 to July 3, NomadGreen’s project organizer Axiou Lin, chief editor Otgoo, and advisor and devoted environmentalist Boum visited the Khovsgol aimag which is the north-est aimag in Mongolia.

The team visited the biggest lake in Mongolia-Lake Khovsgol, and met with local environmentalist and nature protectors. The natural environment of this aimag is also under severe pressure from mining business and desertification, just like most other aimags in Mongolia.

Murun and Khatgal are the two major administrative and business towns in the aimag. We were very excited to spread our message this far and enroll new citizen journalists with high ambition.

And on July 3rd. The team return to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, to have one special workshop for kids!

This special workshop was designed by Taiwanese University students and NomadGreen editors together. Enkhuush, the marvelous Mongolian student who studies in National Taiwan University, is the key to this successful event.

We taught these kids how to become small citizen journalists by drawing what they saw in their daily life. Education is considered as one of the most crucial issues along with environmental protection. NomadGreen wishes to combine those two issues and make kids the initiator of change in their families.

You can check more photos by following the links.

Workshop in Murun, Khovsgol Aimag(Province) on June 29.

Workshop in Khatgal, Khovsgol Aimag(Province) on June 30.

Workshop at NomadGreen’s new office/Internet classroom in Ulaanbaatar on July 3rd.

New workshops in UB, Choibalsan, and Taipei

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


Hi, some new updates about Nomad Green here:

1. On 9/5, Nomad Green will have another workshop in Ulaanbaatar, and the topic is 「Green Urban Design」. A speaker who is an expert of this field will give workshop participants a 40 minutes talk and then we will visit a green construction site maintained by Mongolian Green Coalition, an environmental NGO that is trying to change the poor living condition of more than 60% of city population who live in yurt district. Until now we know 17 people are going to take part in this workshop in an Internet cafe (site detail to be confirmed).

2. On 9/8, one more workshop will be hosted in Choibaisan, the far eastern city in Mongolia. The topic is 「Agriculture」 since eastern aimags(province) of Mongolia are agriculture-based. We are still recruiting and our best expectation is to have 10 participants. Even though, that would be Nomad Green’s one very important step because we finally step out of the capital.

The above two workshops will be hosted by Otgoo and Odnoo, Nomad Green’s two magnificent editors since I am not going to Mongolia myself this time(budget is tight). As for me…

3. On 9/7, I will hold another workshop in Taipei with 15 Mongolian students who studies in Taiwan right now. Nomad Green is in need of more translators’ contribution. I hope I can motivate some of them to give NG a hand.

At the same time, Nomad Green is also organizing Taiwanese people/NGOs to visit Mongolia to strengthen the intercourse. Last time in late July a group of architects and urban planners had visit Mongolia and now a group of vegetarians are heading to Mongolia to promote vegetarian food. I myself am wondering how will they persuade Mongolian people who consume almost merely meat all their life to have some 「grass」 in their dish, but since we all know too much meat consumption is also one of the major factors causing global warming and climate change, it might be a good idea to try vegetarian twice a week for Mongolians. What do you think?

That is for now. More updates later after the workshops.

Updates on Nomad Green workshops

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Although it is half a month already since Nomad Green’s latest two workshops in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I still remember clearly the enthusiasm and passion I felt from new participants of Nomad Green (Mongolian Environmental Information Program, supported by Rising Voices and MTF Taiwan)

Three months passed after Nomad Green’s first 4 workshops in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. In early July, the core team of Nomad Green(Portnoy, Otgoo, Odnoo) finally decided to hold another two workshops on July 29 and 30. And this time, instead of covering broad range of Mongolian environmental issues, such as air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, mining…, we wanted to focus on special topics that matters very much to people who live in this over-crowded therefore fragile city.

So each of the two workshops has its own special topic with a relative bus trip to visit the exact area. The topic of the first workshop on 7/29 is “Tuul River”, the mother river that provide water usage to about 60% of Mongolian population(which is 1.5 million people) who lives in downtown Ulaanbaatar and the yurt district around the downtown. The other topic for the second workshop on 7/30 is “Waste management”, which is a major concern for such a fastly growing city.

Instead of separating one workshop into two days as last time we did in May, we decided to utilize a full day from 9:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening for each workshop because July is much warmer than May, and the sunset also comes a lot later until 9:00 in the evening, so we won’t have to ask our participants to come twice and it is safer for participants when they return home in late evening. (Some of them live very far away from the downtown.)

Each Nomad Green workshop can be divided into five major parts:
1. mission explanation
2. social web introduction and practice
3. speech on special topic
4. site exploration
5. discussion and presentation

Most parts were the same as the last four workshops in May, except that, first, we skipped facebook, youtube, flickr, but concentrated on wordpress(which is the platform Nomad Green is on) and twitter. The reason was that we only had limited time and twitter is the simplest one to teach. As a country of 2.8 million people, the participants of our workshops were all shocked to know that there are some people on twitter whose tweets are read by up to 2 million at the same time. (I used Shaq O’nell’s twitter account as the example)

Second, since we had decided two special and clear targets(Tuul river and waster management in UB) to report, so for each workshop we arranged a special talk by the expert of that topic and one bus to take participants together to the exact spot.

The two visits, one to the near-by basin of Tuul river, the other to the landfill site of UB, were really very helpful for all of us to grasp a fuller picture of each issue. We saw how the watercourse was changed by the mining company which caused serious decrease on water volume. We also witnessed how the constructions built in the basin was corroding the river. According to the estimation from UB city goverenment, the utmost amount of people that Tuul river can support is less than 2 million, and there are already 1.5 million. Since Tuul river and the underground water (that also come from the river) are the only water resources to support the whole population in UB, the protection of Tuul river is extremely vital.

The visit to UB landfill site was also an important experience to all participants since none of them had ever visited the place before and didn’t know where their trashes go. The landfill site was built with the support from Japanese governement so the facilities are all new and really good, however, the logistics of waste transportation, the system of recycling, the regulation to reduce urban trash, and the citizens’ awareness to the issue are not matured yet, so the waste management issue has been the most difficult problem to city government for many years and still is.

During our visit, we also met the people whose lifes are depending on collecting and sorting out trashes. Many of them are kids, and the only economical sources of their families. Nomad Green participants and future citizen journalists interviewed some of them under the supervision of the manager of landfill site. One leader of the group of trsh pickers told us that many people and media journalists regarded them as “trash eaters” because they never really know them and build stories based on their appearances, but in fact, picking trashes is just their job, and they are just like anyone else: they are clean in clean clothes when they go to the downtown UB. She was very diappointed whenever she read biased and stereotyped articles about them (trash pickers at the landfill site).

Many participants finished their reports soon after returning to the internet cafe. Some of their posts are already posted on Nomad Green.

Two major targets for Nomad Green to meet if we want to have bigger influence are 1. to translate Mongolian articles into English and Chinese, more 2. to kick off workshops in other cities of Mongolia. The editors’ team is working on the targets.

Flickr album of the latest two workshops:

Please follow the twitter account of Nomad Green:

Read the Mongolia you never know from Nomad Green

Friday, July 3rd, 2009
Nomad Green screenshot on 7/3

Nomad Green screenshot on 7/3

Nomad Green, the citizen media project supported by Taiwan’s Mongolian and Tibetan Foundation and Rising Voices, is getting on track. After the first series of workshops in Ulaanbaatar, we have recruited more than 60 participants. However, among them only 13 have published their posts. Many reasons are behind this situation, like lack of time and Internet connection to practice what was taught during the workshops. The editor’s team(including me) is encouraging participants to write their first post around themselves and their thoughts on greener and healthier Mongolia, and is also encouraging participants to give us hand written pieces or document file, in order to lower the worries of publishing on Internet.

39 posts have been published on Nomad Green. And here I would like to recommend two posts which are great pieces and are translated into English and Chinese from Mongolian already.

Bazu, who just finished his university degree and graduated, challenges the claimed damage caused by “pest insects”. In the post he showed us the real problem behind huge amount of waste of water resource allegedly caused by insects:

During the last seven years these insects have destroyed 29,000 square hectares of forest land in Mongolia containing 20,300,000 trees. Scientific inspection has revealed that one tree’s root system contains about 40,000 liters of water. Supposing the average Mongolian nomad’s tent uses 30 liters of water per day, one tree would contain enough water to last three to four years. Therefore, multiplying this by 20,300,000 it represents 812,000,000,000 liters of water – or enough water to last the entire city of Ulaanbaatar for four to five years! In other words, pests have already destroyed that much drinking water.
Obviously, pest insects are causing great damage, but ultimately that damage is being caused by human beings. One reason is that the animals and other creatures which feed on the pest insects are being hunted and killed by human beings. Another important reason is that humans are also providing an ideal environment for pest insects to multiply and thrive because of causing global warming.

Bazu translate his own post into English and then took on his trip to investigate natural environment and zoology in rural Mongolia with a team of researchers. He gave his promise to all other Nomad Green participants in our mailing list that he would bring bags and bags of interesting and first-hand material to write about for Nomad Green.

Aslan, who is a famous environmental activist in Mongolia, wrote about the fearful Minamata disease that’s happening in Mongolia right now. This post is so shocking and shockingly good. Please read it with patience:

This is a real disaster and fear, and the government and relevant authorities should know that the southern part of Mongolia is a safe place to live in the future or not. It seems so strange that Ministry of health and State Professional Inspection Agency still haven’t respond to any of the letters sent by the aimag’s Central hospital and aimag’s Professional Inspection Agency. Why are they no t taking any measurements?
In the beginning of 2009, 8 newborn babies were registered. 4 babies without kidney, brain, fingers of hand and foot, and baby whose eyes were too far from each other, 2 babies without palates and 2 babies whose ventral wall was not developed and stomach was outside their body, were recorded. May be you think that it is connected with increase in illegal extraction of gold. Even though Professional Inspection Agency of the region worked against it and stopped the cases of manual extraction of gold, the illegal extractions have been occurred once in a while. 70 percents of the area in our province poisoned from mercury and cyanide.

Please, read the full piece and leave a comment under. Aslan told me that he has more than 10,000 photos taken from polluted south Mongolia mining fields. So he will disclose more facts about the environmental problem which has reached the level of defecting national security.

Also, a team of NTV (Mongolian TV channel) reporters visited Taiwan last week to interview Taiwanese Mongolians who migrated to Taiwan during 1949. I(Portnoy Zheng) was also interviewed because of Nomad Green. They love Nomad Green and said they are going to visit our latest workshops.

Oh yes, our latest series of workshops will be held on July 28-31 in Ulaanbaatar. However, this time we will invite participants to visit near-by Tuul river, the mother river which has been mentioned many times during our past workshops. We will check the basin and interview local nomads about the changes in landscape near Tuul river in recent years. And, we will invite the other workshop’s participants to look around the waste dumping site in Ulaanbaatar. We will see how the city trash is collected, transported, buried or recycled, and of course, we want to write about how people living nearby the site survive by “utilizing trashes”.

Looking for more? Check our twitter account and facebook group.

Workshops on May 4-7, May 11-14 in Ulaanbaatar

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Nomad Green’s first series of workshops are launching on May 4. The goal of the first round of workshops is to encourage new bloggers to write down their first posts.

The workshops will be held at the computer classroom provided by Press Institute of Mongolia. Thank PIM for providing us this great venue with relatively low price and stable internet connection.

The plan of the workshops are as follows. We will re-arrange the plan based on the actual situation.

Day 1

16:00-16:15 Introduction of the project and the workshop/Self-introduction of everyone Portnoy
16:15-17:00 Nomad Green-the Concept(why) Axiou Lin
17:00-17:45 Nomad Green-the Practice(how) Portnoy
17:45-18:15 Dinner and discussion
18:15-19:10 Mongolian Environmental and public health Issues Otgoo, Boum
19:10-19:40 Journalism Basics Otgoo, Portnoy
19:40-20:00 Divide participants into 3 Groups+Each decide a environmental or public health topic to write about Portnoy, Otgoo
Day 2
16:00-16:30 Review Day 1 lessons by going through slides in a fast pace Portnoy, Otgoo
16:30-17:20 Introducing Worpress(Nomad Green), flickr, picasa, Youtube, and other social media Portnoy
17:20-18:50 Practice/Writing/ Reporting on Nomad Green
18:50-19:40 Dinner while Each group introduces their own report in 10 minutes Axiou, Portnoy, and Otgoo as commenters.
19:40-20:00 Giving awards and certificates to each workshop participants. Goodbye Portnoy