April eNews 2022
Growing a Cohort of Change-Makers at the Local Government
In a true sense of inclusivity, 13 participants from government agencies, and civil society organisations including a member each from the blind and the queer community attended the Participatory Planning workshop from 24th to 28th April.
While challenges to participatory planning are aplenty at the Local Government level, the participants reflected on how the use of the tools can strengthen situational analysis and consultation that will help inform the 13th Five Year Plan. A planning officer observed that the use of the tools would help gather the “actual needs” of the citizens and shift plans from infrastructure development to include social issues that are often missing from the current practices of local government planning.
We thank the Asia Foundation for funding this project.
Media Literacy in Schools
Over the last two years, the increasing incidences of disinformation and disruption from the pandemic have provided a relatable context to teach teachers and students about authenticating news and being critical consumers of news and information.
Without losing momentum, the teachers from Thimphu, Tsirang and Trashigang who were trained last winter on Media and Democracy literacy conducted step-down training in their respective schools sharing the knowledge and skills further with colleagues and students.
Moni Bdr. Rai, a teacher from Meldrelgang Central School shared how timely the training was in “opening his eyes” to “how deceptive and persuasive that media can be” and how he is now “able to filter information.”
Mendrelgang, Damphu and Genekha Central schools have conducted step-down training on Media and Democracy Literacy for 130 teachers and students.
We thank UNDEF for funding this project.
Youth Conversations Platform: Moving Climate Change Discussion Online
The poll on “What can Bhutan do to tackle climate change?” has ended and an impressive 7,359 people engaged on the Youth Conversations Platform with a total of 138,355 votes cast.
The data from the poll will be analysed and shared in the coming months that will help make policies and programmatic decisions.
The Youth Conversations Platform is a project that paves way for inclusive consultation by nurturing an enabling space for people to share their voices, be informed, and actively participate in decision-making.
We thank UNDP for supporting this platform.
Spring Issue of The Druk Journal
Look out for the 15th issue of The Druk Journal titled “Democracy Today”. The issue brings 15 articles looking at the situation of democracy in Bhutan after 14 years of democratic governance.
The spring issue delves deeper into political parties and the absence of ideologies, and the functioning of the electoral process and also brings reflections on Bhutan’s democracy from politicians, parliamentarians and citizens.
BCMD at GNHC
At the invitation of the Local Development Division, Gross National Happiness Commission, BCMD participated in a 2-day peer-learning session from 18th to 19th of April along with other stakeholders including Helvetas and the Department of Local Governance.
The shared goal of strengthening the capacity of the Local Governments and embedding the culture of participatory planning brought the three parties together to engage in a professional session. BCMD presented the GNH-based Participatory Planning Toolkit and demonstrated the use of some of the tools for mapping and analysing communities.
The session ended with a call for greater collaboration amongst stakeholders such as government and civil society organisations.
Enhancing Personal Development
Continuous professional learning is key to organisational growth. In keeping with this conviction, BCMD staff revisited its vision, the purpose of its existence, and the role it plays as a member of the civil society of Bhutan.
The session provided a space for the members to reflect and think of ways to continuously improve and contribute to organisational efficiency and effectiveness.