By using entrepreneurial abilities and capacity building of governance structures, Sonam Jorgyes is building ground-up and top-down systems to make markets robust in Ladakh.
Sonam has developed and introduced several technological innovations to expand the survival window of rural communities in Ladakhis, giving them more leeway to sell goods and generate income. For example, he extended the growing seasons with greenhouse technology and took advantage of the high altitude by using gravity-based irrigation systems to support water intensive agriculture. To create the original goods surplus, he also retrofitted the community micro-hydro electric plants with machines that can mill flour, run saws, and create jam during the day and supply energy to the community at night. By enabling individuals to use local resources efficiently, Sonam created ownership routines that allowed Ladakhis to stay in their communities longer and generate additional income.
In response to the 2010 flash floods in Ladakh that led to the ruin of 30-40 local villages, Sonam shifted his focus to rebuilding the affected villages. This experience showed Sonam the urgent necessity to build capacities and efficacy of the local government structures to look beyond infrastructure development to revitalize and strengthen the local rural markets. Towards this he now builds capabilities of local officials by running training sessions in planning, management, finance, and development and helps determine the development priorities of the specific locality. Once the needs are determined, Sonam helps the Ladakh Hill Development Council and Panchayats identify central government schemes to obtain funding and manage the money effectively. To provide additional support to these municipalities, through Tata Institute of Social Sciences he also, matches interns to assist LHDC with the creation of planning documents and budgets. Sonam plans to continue his work with the new officials.
Note: This was updated in March, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile.