Youth Initiative Summer Camp on Exercising Rights with Responsibility
27 children from the different schools in Paro, Thimphu, and Haa congregated at the Paro College of Education for the 2023 Youth Initiative Summer Camp. The four-day camp engaged and empowered the participants about their rights and responsibilities under the Child’s Rights Convention.
The session raised awareness on exercising rights with responsibility. A participant shared “Why should we learn about our rights and how and when we should exercise it?” indicating the need to encourage these discussions in schools to empower children to take ownership of their voice and agency.
They engaged in discussions highlighting the essential role of various stakeholders, including businesses, in ensuring the well-being and safety of children, particularly when it comes to the responsible sale of alcohol and drugs to minors.
The Youth Initiative Summer Camp provides an empowering platform for young voices to be heard, encouraging them to play an active role in their community development.
We are grateful to UNICEF Bhutan for supporting this project.
Countering Disinformation Workshop for Local government, Samdrup Jongkhar
In a bid to strengthen the fight against misinformation, a 3-day workshop on countering disinformation and communication strategies commenced at Dewathang Primary School, Samdrup Jongkhar. The workshop brought together 27 local leaders from 7 Gewogs, aiming to equip them with essential skills to tackle disinformation effectively.
The focus of Day 1 was to enhance the participants’ understanding of the role of media in a democratic society and the significant impact of information dissemination. Elected leaders and administrators engaged in insightful discussions about the influential nature of information and its potential consequences when misused.
For many attendees, including Tshogpas, this workshop served as their first experience in a capacity-building program. They expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to learn and acquire vital skills to counter disinformation effectively.
One Tshogpa shared the value of the skills gained in the workshop, emphasising how these newfound abilities would not only benefit themselves but also their communities. They now understand the importance of thorough assessment before disseminating news or information to the people they serve, ensuring accuracy and reliability.
Another participant, Mangmi, candidly admitted that he relied solely on social media as a news source, unaware of the potential misinformation that could mislead both him and his community. However, after learning about the VIA approach (Verification, Independency, and Accountability), he expressed newfound confidence in distinguishing between fake news and real news, thus becoming a more responsible information consumer.
We would like to thank The Asia Foundation for supporting this project.
Engaging conversations, exploring key issues and inspiring collective actions – The Druk Journal Podcast
The Druk Journal launched its official podcast channel on Spotify! The very first episode of the Druk Journal Podcast was released on 17th July with a captivating conversation with Aum Tashi Pem (Country Director of Helvetas, Bhutan) focusing on the theme of Local Government.
In this episode of The Druk Journal Podcast, we explore the challenges faced by decision makers when the pragmatic approach of ‘efficiency and cost reduction’ through consolidating Gewogs (counties) comes in conflict with the historical and cultural identity of the local communities.
Click here to listen to our first episode https://open.spotify.com/episode/6oub9jl8OIoEf81jg6SX7C?si=TqAZGBDSQsSYyH50ojBYPw
Capacitating one district at a time on GNH-Based Participatory Planning
Building on the success of the Training of Trainers (TOT) held at Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC) in Dewathang back in May, BCMD continued its mission to empower local leaders in Samdrup Jongkhar. A group of 40 leaders from 11 gewogs and Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde participated in a transformative six-day workshop on GNH-Based Community Analysis and Participatory Planning.
Gups shared their perspectives, expressing the significance of the training for their communities’ decision-making and planning. They recognised the tool’s usefulness in identifying community issues and ensuring inclusivity during the planning processes.
Langchenphu Gup shared, with considerable experience in community service, gained valuable insight into the challenges faced during gewog planning and decision-making processes. The GNH-Based toolkit provided him with the means to address community issues through productive discussions and recommendations, fostering unity among local leaders for the greater good.
In closing remarks, Dasho Pema Dorji, the Dzongrab of Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag, highlighted the substantial advantages of this workshop for local leaders, especially with the imminent arrival of the 13th five-year plan. The workshop’s impact was evident, as leaders shifted their focus from infrastructure development to address the social issues impacting their communities and the well-being of their people. Dasho also expressed joy at witnessing the enthusiastic participation of several youths in the workshop, highlighting the importance of engaging the younger generation in community development.
We would like to thank The Asia Foundation for supporting this project.
Nurturing Creativity and Talent in Young Minds
To make this summer vacation a truly enriching experience, the Media Lab, BCMD organised an exciting photography camp for young enthusiasts. The camp aimed to foster creativity and provide a platform for 14 children aged 9 – 13 to explore their potential and embark on a remarkable journey of discovery and skill development.
During the first day, the students were introduced to the basics of photography, with a special focus on composition and framing. As the camp progressed, they delved into the art of storytelling through photographs and also received valuable lessons in digital literacy.
The culmination of the camp was marked by a captivating photo exhibition, where the children proudly showcased their impressive work. The event turned into a joyous celebration of learning and talent, attended by their proud parents, who shared in the young photographers’ achievements.
Spreading Spiritualism through Photography: A Workshop for Monks
The Media Lab of BCMD organised a special two-day basic photography workshop for seventeen monks from Chokyi Gyatso Institute and Lhomon Education. Going beyond technical skills, the workshop’s primary focus was on utilising photography as a powerful medium to spread the teachings of Buddhism through captivating storytelling.
During the workshop, the monks delved into their spiritual journeys, capturing the profound wisdom of their faith in each frame. They explored various aspects of photography, including composition, light, and perspective, unlocking the transformative power of the camera lens for spiritual communication.
Tenzin Nidup, a monk at the institute, shared his experience and emotions behind a particular photograph he captured during the workshop. He narrated, “With a touch of creative inspiration, this photograph was captured, expressing the essence of the Triple Gem.” In his description, he beautifully depicted the profound scene where a statue of Buddha radiated serene tranquillity at the centre of the frame. A humble monk kneeled in devout prostration before the sacred statue, capturing a moment of deep humility frozen in time.
The photograph symbolised the Sangha, encircling the image like a halo of profound wisdom. Within this circular canvas, carefully chosen words adorned the frame, expressing the essence of the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. The visual resonated with the profound journey towards enlightenment, speaking of devotion, community, and the eternal quest for spiritual truth.
Through this workshop, the monks discovered the potential of photography as a powerful tool to share their spiritual beliefs, touching the hearts of many with their visual expressions.
Community Empowerment Program on Citizen Participation Concludes in Samdrup Jongkhar
In a landmark initiative, the local government leaders of Samdrup Jongkhar recently completed a six-day workshop on GNH-based community analysis and participatory planning. Following its success, the “Community Empowerment ” program was launched in six gewogs – Wangphu, Gomdhar, Orong, Dewathang, Phuntshothang, and Pemathang – and concluded on 26th of July, 2023.
The workshop uses contents from a workbook titled “Educating for Citizenship : Asset-Based Community Mapping ”. The program saw enthusiastic participation from a diverse group, ranging from elderly members to energetic youths. They engaged in a series of activities focused in understanding their greater role in decentralisation and in promoting democracy, including the importance of representing voices in zomdues.
During the program, one attendee shared their transformational experience, emphasising that the impact went far beyond identifying and prioritising issues. They gained a new understanding of the significance of involving the youth in zomdues (local meetings), and also gained insights into the challenges faced by marginalised groups within the community.
We would like to thank The Asia Foundation for supporting the project.
Coming Together to Understanding Writing Better
15 participants attended a day-long workshop on content writing at the Media Lab in July. The workshop oriented the participants to the art of writing and capturing the audience’s attention.
The participants then assessed different articles to understand the elements of good writing and how they can incorporate these good practices. Reflecting on the current exodus in the country, participants worked on drafting different articles to share their perspectives on the pertinent topic.
Participants shared that they found the practical sessions very engaging, useful and different compared to other workshops that they attended. Most also found the interactive session on using AI in improving their content as a key takeaway from the day’s training.
As the workshop was oversubscribed, the Lab will be organising another workshop on 1 August 2023.
55th Board Meeting.
The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy recently convened its 55th board meeting updating the board on the program and budget for the 2nd quarter of 2023 among other agenda.
BCMD expresses their heartfelt gratitude to the board members for their unwavering support and invaluable guidance.