May eNews

Posted by Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, June 1st, 2023

Building Inclusive Communities: Empowering Youth Voices

28 young people from four different schools in Samdrup Jongkhar were engaged in a five-day experiential leaning process to explore their identity as young people and their role in the community development.

Concurrently, 15 local leaders and relevant sector heads from the Dzongkhag administration were engaged in a Training of Trainers to orient them to promote young people’s participation in community development. 

Nima Tshering, Orong Tshogpa, a newly elected young local leader said, “We continue to follow the steps of our predecessors. We consulted only those who are above 18 years.” He believes that a “cultural shift” has to take place for the LG consultations to be inclusive of youths.

Additionally, Sonam Wangdi, the Administrative Officer of Dewathang Gewog, plans to have youth representatives at the Gewog Tshogdu as observers. 

The Summit created a supportive environment that empowered young individuals to express their viewpoints.

The project was supported by UNICEF Bhutan. 

Inclusive and Participatory Planning for LG leaders of Samdrup Jongkhar

In partnership with the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI), BCMD  extended its capacity building efforts for local government to Samdrup Jongkhar to transform LG consultation and planning to participatory and inclusive processes. 

BCMD has successfully trained a group of 17 officials  from Samdrup Jongkhar district, thromde and the gewog administrations, including members of the civil society organisations.  These individuals have been equipped with the skills to serve as trainers in GNH-based participatory community analysis. 

Selected members from this cohort will support capacity building programs for the local government in Samdrup Jongkhar in the months to come

The program is supported by The Asia Foundation.

Enhancing Effective Communications and Media Literacy in Samdrup Jongkhar  

During the Training of Trainers on Communication Strategy and Combating Disinformation, conducted in Samdrup Jongkhar, a lecturer expressed challenges in discerning the accuracy and authenticity of news and information, which has become an overwhelming task.

A senior armed forces member, who previously served as a media officer for the Royal Bhutan Police, acknowledged the importance of communication plans in effectively disseminating information to targeted audiences. Motivated by the workshop, the participant expressed a desire to implement a communication plan within their unit located in Samdrup Jongkhar.

A rural community teacher, who had been overseeing a democracy club primarily engaged in organising student leadership elections, found the activities limited in scope. However, attending the workshop proved enlightening , igniting  fresh ideas. The teacher expressed great enthusiasm for expanding the club’s initiatives by incorporating programs that emphasise the critical roles of media and citizens in a democracy.

The Training of Trainers involved  a diverse group of 13 participants from different sectors, including officials from Dzongkhag and Thromde administrations, teachers, lecturers, civil society organisations, and representatives from the Royal Bhutan Police.

The project was supported by The Asia Foundation. 

Strengthening Good Governance and an Inclusive Democracy 

BCMD organised two focus group discussions with 12 participants including women, educators and members of the Local Government at the Paro College of Education on 23rd and 24th May 2023. These discussions will serve as  an integral part of our upcoming project to develop resources on strengthening good governance and inclusive democracy.  

This project is funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. 

Evolution of Democracies – A Talk with Educators 

During his visit to Bhutan, Dr Steve Harris, engaged in meaningful discussions with BCMD on the remarkable success of Project Mikhung over the past few years.

In addition, he spoke at the  Paro College of Education, with over 45 teachers delving into the history of democracy’s evolution in Western countries and the pivotal role of education and media in nurturing and sustaining democracy.  

He emphasised the critical role education plays in empowering individuals to actively engage in shaping the future of our nation.

The BCMD board thanks Ms. Rosemary Phalen (adviser), Dr. Steve Harris and Bhutan Foundation for their support to BCMD and its mission.