e-Newsletter December 2018

Posted by Tempa Wangdi, January 7th, 2019

Special Needs Teachers Learns Media Literacy

Teachers learn to judge information and news critically.

As we learn to become more inclusive as a society, 17 teachers for Special Needs Education from Drugyal School for Deaf (Wangsel Institute) in Paro and National Institute for Visually Impaired (Muenseling) in Khaling, Trashigang were trained in News and Democracy Literacy from 29-30 December last year.
A member of Ability Bhutan Society also attended the training on becoming ‘smart consumer of information’.
The News and Democracy Literacy was conducted to educate and impart critical skills and knowledge to teachers to enable their students, family members, and friends to become smart while consuming information and news. The training enabled teachers how to access, analyse, evaluate, and produce responsible content on social media and the importance of improving online behaviour.
“I now know that being a citizen is not always about rights but with it comes responsibilities, too,” said Chencho Om from Drugyel School for Deaf. “There are certain things that we should look for when we read news that whether it’s verified and written independently.”

Paro Launch Mission Vision and Strategy

Members of Paro town committee tries an exercise to learn interdependence.
“By the community, for the community” – the Paro Throm vision, mission and strategy was launched jointly by Dasho Dzongdag (Governor) and the Executive Professional Director, Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy on 5 December last year.
In a truer sense of inclusive and democratic citizen participation, the Paro Throm (Town) vision, mission and strategy were formulated through a day-long visioning exercise in summer of 2018 with over ninety local residents’ government officials, civil society members and business community of Paro.
The launch marks a celebration of the “Building Community Initiative” project milestone that Paro dzongkhag and BCMD has been collaborating since 2017 with support from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). The project aims to strengthen democratic participation through empowering youth and citizens as change agents and modeling an inclusive approach to civic engagement in town committees.

Impact of Community Building Initiative in Samdrup Jongkhar 

The new look of once a polluted wasteland.

To take lessons from the Community Building Initiative and to maximise its effect in community building and development, Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) conducted a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for Local Action Projects (LAP) Samdrup Jongkhar for the year 2018.

The M&E was conducted from 3-5 December last year to understand and gauge relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and way forward of the project. The M&E covered LAPs in Rikhay, Menchari, and Samdrup Jongkhar.
In Rikhay a vegetable shed was constructed while in Menchari – a farm road was repaired. Mappers in Samdrup Jongkhar adopted a contaminated groundwater that residents of Samdrup Jongkhar used for consumption.
The construction of vegetable shed in Rikhay has benefited 68 households to market their vegetable produce and diversify their products, such as, selling fast food. “My wife does not have to carry the vegetable to Dewathang and it’s also more profitable now compared to before when we didn’t make much profit because we had to pay for the cab,” said a villager from Rikhay Tshering Darjay
Adoption of spring water by mappers in Samdrup Jongkhar has enabled creation of once a polluted wasteland into a mini park with canopy. “Our groundwater adoption led to residents stopping from further consuming the contaminated water from there,” said the Samdrup Jongkhar LAP coordinator, Zangmo.
Repair of farm road at Menchari has eased travel for people from one of the most underserved villages in Orong Gewog (block). “We no longer have to carry our farm produce and sick on our back since vehicles can be now driven to the village,” said a young mapper from Menchari, Sherub. UNDP supported the M&E and the mapping was conducted in collaboration with Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative.

Samdrup Jongkhar Town Hall Committee Strengthens

The members of Town Hall Committee in Samdrup Jongkhar during the training.

Community Mapping in Samdrup Jongkhar has been further strengthened after Thromde (municipality) committed three representatives from there during a stakeholder consultation meeting from 3-4 December last year.
“Community Mapping is a useful initiative to instil civic consciousness, sense of ownership and responsibility among the people,” said Samdrup Jongkhar thrompon (mayor), Karma Sherub Tobgyel. “Because the Community Mapping focuses on civic education and sense of belongingness, thromde (municipality) is ever prepared to work with Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI) and BCMD. I would like to inform that thromde will immediately nominate three representatives formally in Town Hall Committee in written,” said the thrompon.
SJI Programme Director Cheku Dorji said that this is a milestone in community development at Samdrup Jongkhar. “Getting thromde on board was what we needed to strengthen Town Hall Committee for its effectiveness. Now that its supporting us, community mapping is really going to help us build communities through their engagement,” Cheku Dorji said.
Dzongkhag (district administrative office) also expressed its support to expand community mapping in Samdrup Jongkhar. “We are also piloting a similar project for community development which share similar approach to community mapping and there’s so much skills and knowledge in the mapping that dzongkhag can use,” said dzongrub (senior administrator in district) Pema Dorji said.
UNDP supported the Building Community Initiative in Samdrup Jongkhar.

The Druk Journal Publishes its Eighth Issue

The Druk Journal has published its 8th issue “Transforming Bhutan’s Economy” which will be used as the basis to build conversations at Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation (BEFIT) 2019.
BEFIT is a forum inspired by His Majesty The King’s vision that Bhutan’s successful transition to democracy should be accompanied by economic transformation based on just, equal, and harmonious society.
This particular issues focuses on Bhutan’s economy, its aspirations, policies, and realities. It looks at how the Bhutanese economy needs to respond to changes within and outside the country. The focus here in on how to diversify economic activities by involving youth in a wide range of programmes using creativity and innovation.
This issue contains 19 articles from some renowned international writers, thinkers, academicians, and the Bhutanese writers from different walks of like including, journalists, civil servants, and senior leaders. This issue is the thickest so far with 184 pages. Royal Monetary Authority with UNDP and The Asian Foundation supported this issue.