September eNews 2022

Posted by Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, October 24th, 2022

Looking at social protection issues through collaborative policy review

 In partnership with Bhutan-Canada Foundation and fellow civil society organisations – RENEW and Phensem – BCMD organised a workshop to review policies for better social protection through the Design Thinking process. 

Over twenty public officials and members representing vulnerable groups (women, People With Disabilities, LGBT+ and youth) underwent a week-long Design Thinking workshop and reviewed several policy documents. 

Many participants shared reflections that suggest confidence in reviewing policies and a shift in thinking about policy formulation processes.

“As a civil servant, we rely on our experience and qualification to develop policies, but this doesn’t necessarily encompass the experiences of the vulnerable groups. The Design Thinking workshop made me realise how dangerous it is to look at the world from our desks alone” said Kezang Dukpa, from Pema Secretariat.

This project is supported by the Fund for Innovation and Transformation and Bhutan-Canada Foundation. 


Promoting Child-Friendly Local Governance

The 2022 Youth Summit focused on promoting youth and child participation in realising the ideals of Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG). Thirty two youths and 12 local leaders, including district administrators, attended the 5-day Youth Summit in Tsirang.

 During the Summit, the participants pointed out a lack of avenues for actively involving youths in the decision-making process. The Summit saw the budding of a trusting relationship between the LG leaders and the young participants. The LG leaders also realised the need to reach out actively to young people.

 Check out this article by the Kuensel covering the event: Empowering youth to build child-friendly LG | Kuensel Online

Here is the link to the news covered by Bhutan Broadcasting Service (Dzongkha news: 1:11:36 – 1:14:55 English news: 3:14:35 – 3:17:58) 

The project was supported by UNICEF Bhutan. 


Gross National Happiness-based planning at the grassroots

Merak and Lumang gewogs in Trashigang brought community residents beyond the regular gho-shey nyen-shey to discuss community development. The consultation used the GNH-based participatory planning toolkit to enhance community development plans.

A Tshogpa from Lumang stated that it was the first of its kind in the region and helped the community ideate new developmental plans for their Gewog while keeping in mind the ideals of Gross National Happiness.  

We thank Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Bhutan for supporting this project. 


Developing habits for safe online spaces

Cyberbullying, phishing, misinformation and personal data breaches are growing concerns in the digital world. Forty two local leaders from Thimphu and Paro attended a 3-day workshop to raise awareness on such issues and to prepare the local communities to navigate the digital world more safely.

The workshop trained the Tshogpas to be cautious users of social media platforms, verify sources of news and information, and protect themselves and their loved-one by using privacy settings and parental monitoring controls. 

Lamkey, a Tshogpa from Doteng Gewog shared his intent to use the skills acquired to guide his children and the need to educate parents on monitoring their children in online digital space. 

We thank UNDEF for its support.

Tendrel – Citizen Engagement Platform

Following the success of the Youth Conversation Platform that engaged over 7000 people on the topic of climate change early this year, the National Council and UNDP launched Citizen Engagement Platform on October 15th. 

BCMD, in partnership with UNDP and the National Council, consulted 30 youths to generate solutions to kickstart the conversations in August on the dilemma of balancing environmental conservation with economic growth. The consolidated responses from the Camp are on the Platform for a nation-wide poll.

The Platform is live on advocacy campaign #MakeYourVoiceCount

With support from UNDP, Bhutan



Upcoming: A haven for writers to harness creative nonfiction writing 

BCMD’s Druk Journal is organising a 3-day creative non-fiction writing workshop in October with Eric Weiner, an award-winning author.