November e-Newsletter

Posted by Tempa Wangdi, December 2nd, 2018

Students promote reusable sanitary pads

Students receive sanitary pads from Karma Academy.

Students of Karma Academy in Paro provided reusable sanitary pads to 31 girls of Shaba Higher Secondary School (SHSS) as part of their efforts to resolve the emerging issue of irresponsible disposal of sanitary pads.

Advocacy on reusable sanitary pads was a Local Action Plan Karma Academy students with three READ Bhutan staffs proposed during BCMD/ Paro Thromde’s Community Mapping exercise earlier this year. Students also wanted to promote the importance of hygienic use of sanitary pads.

Three staffs of READ Bhutan with students from Karma Academy conducted the advocacy programme. More than 60 girls aged 11-16 from SHSS attended the programme on the use of safe and hygienic sanitary pads.   

A teacher and coordinator from Karma Academy said that it was her first time being involved with students closely. “I am very impressed with our programme because I could see smiles on every student who attended the programme and received washable sanitary pads which meant we were able to do something productive for them,” Dechen said.

Said a happy  student: “I don’t have to worry about buying it from the shops.” International IDEA supported the project. 

Utpal Academy sensitises on waste management

Student community mappers of Drugyal Higher Secondary School (DHSS) in Paro sensitised 30 households of Drugyal on waste management to help tackle the mounting waste issue at local levels.

While Bhutan boasts a pristine environment with a 60 percent of forest coverage forever, waste is piling up in every corner of the country, whether in towns or villages or trails or roadsides. This has become a mounting issue with the onset of development and growing consumerism.

Residents receive dustbins from the Drugyal students.

Hence, the advocacy on waste management remains one of the most proposed Local Action Plans from the community mappers. This year Drugyal Higher Secondary School students in Paro, which is possibly the district most frequented by tourists, conducted an awareness programme on waste management. Health officials of Basic Health Unit gave students the technical assistance in the programme. International IDEA supported the project.


Menchari villagers repairs farm road

Villagers from Mechari in Samdrup Jongkhar will no longer have to carry their farm produce and milk on their back to reach the nearest market after their only farm road to the village has been repaired.

With the road recently repaired, small pickup trucks and cars can now be driven to the village to ferry farm produce and milk from Menchari. Thanks to the 20 villagers of Menchari for initiating the maintenance of a bad farm road through Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy’s (BCMD) Local Action Plan project conducted in partnership with the local Thromde and Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative. 

“We don’t have to now worry about having to carry our vegetables, milk, and construction materials on our backs,” a villager from Menchari said, adding an improved road condition also will spur economic activities in Menchari.

Cars plying on the road to Menchari after maintenance.

Besides discovering their strengths as a community, the mapping exercise also helped strengthen the communal bond and understand the importance of the network, collaboration, and cooperation. A group of youth has also agreed to look after the road’s condition in the future with the maintenance of proper drainage.

The villagers expressed their gratitude to the Department of Road (DoR), Samdrup Jongkhar for providing heavy moving equipment for three days for maintenance of the road. UNDP Bhutan supported the project.

Youths construct a spring water well

A group of girls from Samdrup Jongkhar with the help of thromde (municipality) and town residents has successfully managed to adopt a water spring next to the automobile workshop in the town.

Following the tests confirming contamination, residents have also been asked to refrain from drinking and cooking with the water. Health officials from Samdrup Jongkhar District Hospital conducted the laboratory tests that led to the cleaning of the spring.

Today, a clean well with a proper footpath has been constructed on what used to be a swampy area littered with garbage and automobile workshop discards. With town residents grappling with water shortage, many people also used to drink, wash, and use the water for cooking putting their health at risk.

The newly adopted spring water at Samdrup Jongkhar.

Not anymore after the adoption of the area and sensitising people to refrain from drinking the spring water. Volunteers from Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, municipality, cement and brick agents, quarry, and automobile workshops contributed in kind to support the project. UNDP supported the project.   


Media officials from Parliament learn photography

Aiming to improve photography, understand the code of ethics of using photographs, and caption writing skills, Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) trained four officials from the Parliament for four days at the Media Lab in Nazhoen Pelri Complex.

During the four-day training media officials learned composition, exposure frame, depth of field, shooting modes, white balance and focal length and all the important basics in photography. The training also enabled the participants to understand how to use photographs more effectively, how to improve their information-sharing and online presence with the use of better pictures and captions, and how to be aware of the sensitivities of using photographs in various situations. This included using photographs of children, in circumstances which call for more ethical decisions on using of pictures including the pitfalls and pros and cons of using photoshop and the fine line between using natural pictures and manipulation of images.

Officials takes tips on photography at the training.

The participants who were attending the photography for the first time found the training useful and practical. “I tried learning photography online from different sources but I could not relate to it, but after attending the training I feel like I know more and has encouraged me to continue learning and practicing photography,” said Tshering Wangmo from National Council.

The four-day training also covered sessions on photo caption, which made participants understand some basic rules of picture caption. “It’s not right to write a different caption from the real story in the picture,” said Sampa Dhendup from National Assembly. 

Participants also discussed the code of ethics and values of a ethical photography. The programme is funded by International IDEA.

Documenting the evolution of democracy in Bhutan

2018 marks a decade of democracy in Bhutan. To commemorate and to reflect on the evolution of democracy in the country, BCMD launched the project to document Bhutan’s democracy through diverse lenses — giving voices to all, including youth, women, elected leaders, and farmers.

The documentary will tentatively be launched in January 2019 and made accessible to schools, colleges and other institutions as resources on democracy. This project is supported by Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI).