Date: May 25, 2014

Venue: YDF Lawn

Time: 10:00 am – 02: 00 pm


  • Dechen Rabgyal
  • Kezang Dorji
  • Ngawang Gyeltshen
  • Sangay Bidha
  • Sonam Jamtsho
  • Yonten Phuntsho
  • Geden
  • Ziwang Gurung
  • Tshering Wangchuk
  • Tenzin Namgay
  • Sangay Thinley
  • Manny Fassihi
  • Phuntsho Namgay
  • Aum Pek
  • Riikka

Agenda for the Meeting

  • YI Evaluation Report
  • Managing YI Media
  • Updates on ongoing activities (advocacy)
  • Summer Session
  • Sustainability (continuation of current Youth Representatives)

Minutes by Dechen Rabgyal, President of the Youth Initiative

Prior to discussion on Agendas of the meeting, Aum Pek talked with the Representatives about two actions the YI should venture into:

  1. Identifying issues, and
  2. Taking local action

In that light, Aum emphasized on taking physical action, such as setting up a cooperative, ramp, etc. To better train the Representatives, Aum stressed on training on leadership and research, possibly in the month of August.

In line with local action, Aum delved into role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). She said, CSO is more than certification and the local action as an individual action aimed at benefitting the community.


  • YI Evaluation Report (January – April)

Rikka, a United Nations (UN) volunteer at Secretariat of New Development Paradigm (SNDP), who has been involved with the YI as a part of her study in civic engagement of youth presented an assessment report of YI activities. Her report was based on two surveys (pre-training and post training and sitting), two focus groups, observations of the YI meetings and trainings and interviews of Steering Committee.

Tracing it’s origin, Rikka gave a brief account of the YI – It’s change in name from Model Youth Parliament (MYP) to Youth Initiative for Debate, Deliberation and Development (YIDDD) and finally to the Youth Initiative (YI).

Initially, general public, government agencies and departments, including the Youth Participants were confused toward what end is the initiative for to the extent that it was seen as an anti-government. However, it is proving otherwise as the group is more focused on solutions to the problems identified. This is attributed to training, sitting and self-assessment of the Representatives. The outcomes are seen in, specifically two areas:

  1. 1.   Personal development

Over the course of time, Representatives after their engagement in YI, they have acquired skills in advocacy, infused with civic knowledge and engagement and thus, responsibility. In addition, their communication skills – presentation, speaking and more importantly listening have improved drastically.

  1. 2.   Community (societal) engagement

The YI as a group with representatives from diverse group have ensured and increased representation. Through collective and intentional action for social change, the group is progressing well; however there is long way to go.

On motivation to join the YI, she reported that Representatives want to voice out their views and opinions, explore solutions to problems, be involved in development taking shape in the community and make a difference in their respective communities.

Representative’s expectations are to know more on policy and democracy, research, debate and deliberate on different issues, motivate other youths and take the YI beyond Thimphu. In the same vein, the expectations of the Steering Committee from the Representatives are to develop confidence among the Representatives, talk to elders, research, gain the trust of the hierarchy, make inclusive decisions incorporating both rural and urban views and take local actions.

On the skills gained, communication and research were the two areas that most of the Representatives have improved and learned. It was followed by understanding diversity and empathy, listening and team work. Communication skills in particular has improved by manifold with the average score of 5.7 out of 10 before the training and sitting and 6.2 after. Creating an open atmosphere – honest and open on personal issues have helped in transforming from introverts to extroverts and open minds.

Commenting on societal outcomes, initiating and undertaking realistic actions at local level would help convince the general public. Besides this, it would help inspire oneself. Towards that end, supporting in advocacy in the areas of communications, presentations, talking to authorities, and having more guest speaker series are seen as an effective tool to better equip the Representatives to take the local action. In that light, Aum Pek asked if the Representatives could think of any doable actions in their schools and neighbourhood.

Action: YI Group to explore any local action under the scheme of BCMD’s Social Action Project.

Civil society initiative, specifically Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative initiatives of ‘no plastic’ in the Samdrup Jongkhar town and Dewathang community’s decision not to offer packaged food as Tshog (food and snacks offered during rituals and festivals in temples) were cited as an example to look into. Listing down the number of local citizen action and drawing motivation at the same time acknowledging their work will be worth venturing into.

Upon opening for questions and comments, Ziwang Gurung emphasized on the need of training on how to communicate with the authorities. Citing some examples of the difficulties he and his group faced in getting appointment for interview prior to January sitting. He stressed that training on communication would help the Representatives a lot. There, Aum Pek said that training in communications with special emphasis on interview is one way to solve the problem.

Rikka also pointed out that there is no gender balance in the group where male outnumbers female. Age gap is another obstacle to bring all representatives on the same page. Otherwise, the group is well represented.

Referring to the report on YI being conceived as an anti-government, Aum Pek asked Rikka if she could name specific agency which dubbed the YI as an anti-government. In response, Rikka said that general public in all were hesitated to the initiative, as they saw it more of a parliament than YI, which might potentially politicize youths. So, ability to explain the meaning of the YI in one sentence to the public would help convince them that the YI is for good. In continuation, Aum Pek said that YI is going beyond the Parliament where policies are made and decisions passed. She said, the YI identifies issues, explore solutions and implement it. And later, it would either become independent Civil Society Organization or a youth volunteer group. This would very much depend on how much the Representatives can commit and how much the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) expects.

Rikka enquired if all minutes and discussions of the group can be posted and shared for all in order to ensure transparency. Manny said that it is done through facebook group of the YI.

  • Managing YI Media

Manny pointed out that YI media is inactive and urged Tenzin Namgay and Sangay Thinley to make it more active, update on the activities and plans. Therein, Tenzin Namgay said that since people gave negative comments, he stopped posting. The group said that it should not hinder rather it should be taken as a lesson to learn from and insights to be taken.

  • Updates on ongoing activities (advocacy)

Sangay Bidha reported that visit to Drukgyel Higher Secondary School, Paro got cancelled as the Principal there informed her that scouting program was scheduled on the same day the YI advocacy was to take place. She informed the group that the Principal would give the group the opportunity the next time round.

Action: Sangay Bidha to inform the YI on the progress.


Advocacy video of the Community Welfare Committee on Potato chips has been completed and uploaded. Videos of two other committees will be completed by the end of this month by Dan. Possibility of broadcasting it through local media will be explored.

Action: Phuntsho will talk with BBS on possibility of broadcasting it when he meets with Mr. Sangay Chophel.


All the podcasts, 4 in total have been received – one each from Education and Social Justice Committee and two from Community Welfare Committee. Some are more than 3 minutes. Possibility of airing it through radio stations will be explored.

Action: Phuntsho will edit the podcasts and make it to 3 minutes and then upload in BCMD soundcloud.

Tshikhung, the biannual newsletter of the YI still needs to be redesigned. Representatives have also not sent additional articles which they have agreed to send during last monthly meeting. Manny suggested that some photos need to be added.

Action: Sangay Thinley to work on designing (Media Chimp) with support from the BCMD Staff.


In the areas of local action, Ngawang Gyeltshen has talked with the Principal of the Motithang Higher Secondary School (MHSS) and have banned the sale of lays in their school canteen. He has discussed with the management to sell local potato chips in place of lays. Farmer Sangay has expressed his ability to produce required amount of potato chips to be sold in the school canteen.

Action: Ngawang Gyeltshen and the Community Welfare Committee will make presentation before the management and students of the M.H.S.S. this Saturday. BCMD staff will also be there as an observer.


Possibility of having Live Discussions on BBS Television will be explored.

Less of no home work will be given and meetings will be reduced to one meeting in a month (monthly meeting) considering other primary engagements of the Representatives, viz. studies and job.

  • Summer Session

The weeklong training before the summer session will start from July 1, 2014 and end on July 7. The training will focus on deepening on January training, particularly in the areas of research and taking local action. To continue or change the Committee’s issue will depend upon respective committee’s decision; however they will have to make proposal, state achievements and defend their proposal. Each Committee will send 1 representatives each for second part of Community Mapping workshop, i.e. for field visits.

Action: Employed and RIM Representatives, who may not be able to attend the training on week days will have to go through presentation slides of their own.


The Summer Sitting will be on July 13, Sunday from 10: 00 am – 01: 00 pm at Youth Development Fund (YDF) hall. Possibility of broadcasting live through BBS will be explored. Observers from agencies, such as Department of Youth and Sports (DYS), Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Ministry of Education (MoE) and members of Parliament.

Action: Respective committee’s will invite their stakeholders as the observer.


  • Sustainability (continuation of current Youth Representatives)

When Representatives were queried on what could be done to motivate them to continue their engagement to the group, Tshering Wangchuk said that everything what we do now is enough to motivate the Representatives to continue. Kezang Dorji, on the other hand, said that achieving one of the issues identified would help the Representatives continue. Towards that end, undertaking Social Action Project would be one possible option. There, Ziwang said that issues that are raised by the Education Committee are, coincidently, being dealt by the Ministry of Education, for example, Teacher Human Resource Policy. In the same vein, the Community Welfare Committee expressed that same has happened for their committee as Farmer Sangay has launched his Potato chips, thus promoting local produce.

For the next year, the group decided that there should be 25 members. The recruitment procedure should be through campaigning and election in schools; however nomination in some cases should also be entertained. The constituencies to be represented will be high schools, colleges and differently abled.

Action: Allocation of seats for different constituency considering gender.


For the current Representatives to continue for second year and beyond, they will be entitled for leadership certificate training.

Education Committee, who saw its two Representative withdraw, have suggested for recruiting Representatives in place of them. Sangay Thinley has already identified two candidates. Ngawang Gyeltshen also suggested one. The group resolved that whoever comes in will be brought in as attachment and their full membership will commence only with the start of the year, i.e. next year.

Action: Education Committee will consider gender, commitment of the Representatives as well as they will assist them in getting along with the activities of the YI.



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