Know What BCMD Was Upto in February

Posted by Tempa Wangdi, March 2nd, 2018

Conversation to Reflect Civil Society in Bhutan 

Sustainability remains a big issue with the young civil society in Bhutan 

Civil society in Bhutan might have taken a huge stride with receipt of a National Order of Merit (Gold) in 2016 from His Majesty The King, but sustainability remains a serious issue with most of the civil society organisations in the country today.

The Druk Journal holds a conversation with the release of every new issue. The last issue of The Druk Journal was on “Civil Society” in Bhutan.

“Sustainability” of CSOs was one of the main issues discussed during ‘The Druk Journal’ conversation held on February 9 at BCDM’s Media Lab at Nazhoen Pelri Complex. Over 41 people including the CSOs, representatives from Civil Society Organisation Authority, and educationists joined the conversation to share their ideas and thoughts on civil society.

The lively discussions also touched on the role of civil society, the historical development of civil society in Bhutan and the critical role of civil society as partners with government in ensuring that development reaches the last mile as described in the Sustainable Development Goals. The conversation touched on the need for Bhutan to maintain civility in our democracy.

“Always learn to say ‘Thank You’ no matter how big or small the contribution is,” Dechen Dorji

During the conversation sustainability and fundraising were two dominant issues on, which discourse was held at length. One of the writers of the journal’s sixth issue, “Civil Society in Bhutan,” Lam Dorji said that the biggest challenge for emerging CSOs is more to do with sustaining their activities.While proposals seem to be one of the ways to raise funds to sustain CSO activities, some of the prominent figures that worked in donor agencies have pointed out that the Bhutanese lag in writing compelling proposals.

WWF Country Representative, Dechen Dorji who also contributed an article said that the fundraising is science and requires a lot of skills. But he also shared that there are enough resources out there if people know how to leverage. “So it’s really about organisations yourselves and the way we do fundraising,” Dechen Dorji said.

The other simple trick for fundraising, he said is to be thankful. “Always learn to say “Thank You” no matter how big or small the contribution is,” Dechen Dorji said.

Speaking on the similar line, Bhutan Foundation Director of Development and External Relations, Tshering Yangzom reiterated the need to say “Thank You”. “That’s the biggest part we see missing from a lot of our CSO partners,” Tshering Yangzom.

“Even writing a simple note directly to the donor saying “Thank You” for the contribution you provided for helping Bhutan, I think that in itself makes a huge difference,” she said.One advantage that she said the Bhutanese CSOs have is that the donors come to Bhutan to look at their projects. “CSOs in Bhutan have the opportunity to show the donors of what they are doing on the ground,” she said.

But international consultant on sustainable development who currently lives in Bhutan, Pio Smith said that CSOs don’t just have to say “Thank You” though it’s very important. But the CSOs have to be in a place where people come and tell the CSOs “Thank You to You”. “That’s where the CSOs want to get to. That’s where the CSOs around the world want to get to,” Pio Smith said.

The Conversation was supported by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation.

Community Mapping Training at  Samdrup Jongkhar 

For a democracy to succeed, everything cannot be left for the government, but many people do not understand that democracy is also about responsibility as much as the rights of the people.

Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) has been initiating community mapping activities to instill civic consciousness among the Bhutanese people to help build community and sense of active citizenship. After the centre successfully trained and implemented a number of projects in Paro and Samdrup Jongkhar, another group of teachers, out-of-school youths, Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative, and dzongkhag officials were trained in community mapping in February.

The participants will propose their local action plan later this year

The four-day training to empower teachers, youths and locals in community development were held from 31 January to February 5 at Jigme Namgyel Engineering College in Dewathang, Samdrup Jongkhar. A total of 11 participants including the teachers attended the training on asset-based approach to community development. The training helps the participants discover assets and strengths in their community to resolve local issues.

As part of their training, the participants went around in their community and mapped the assets and developed Local Action Plan proposals. The participants will propose their local action plan in the next phase of similar training at Samdrup Jongkhar, which is tentatively scheduled from July-December, this year.

Following the training, a consultation meeting was also conducted on February 5 with the dzongkhag (district) heads, local leaders, residents, and other stakeholders on building community in Samdrup Jongkhar. The training was supported by Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Photography Refresher Course for Nuns and Monks

Nuns and monks from Thimphu who underwent “Basic Photography Training” last year were given a refresher course to enhance their photography skills.

Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy conducted the training in collaboration with UNICEF Bhutan at the centre’s Media Lab from 22-23 February. A total of 10 nuns from Drubthob Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery and Dechen Phodrang Monastery and a few other adolescents attended the refresher course facilitated by local photographers.

The refresher course is to help take better pictures 

“Most of the time the monks and nuns are left out of such training,
but when we are given an opportunity, we do our best…,” Rinchen Pal 

The participants underwent a basic training in October last year. During this refresher training, the facilitators helped the participants review the photographs from an exhibition in 2017 and went out for a shooting.

The photography training has come as an opportunity to monks and nuns, who normally are uninvolved in such activities. “Most of the time the monks and nuns are left out of such training but when we are given an opportunity we do our best. We will share what we have learned from this training with our friends,” Rinchen Pal, a nun from Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery said.

By enabling monks and nuns to learn photography, we are also giving them an opportunity for self-expression. The group with other adolescents will conduct their second exhibition in April. The refresher course was supported by UNICEF Bhutan.


#Radio Training @College of Language and Cultural Studies, March 5-7

#Training on News Writing @College of Natural Resources, March 9

#Newspaper Design Training @Paro College of Education, March 17-18, 2018.