“Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD)” - Mr Tempa Wangdi, EUVP Alumnus 2023
While communities have been helping each other for a long time in Bhutan, since the arrival of democracy, many citizens have come forward to consolidate it. They did so in various ways, from social to environmental, health, or civic engagement, as well as education through civil society. One of the first registered Civil Society Organisations in Bhutan, the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) focuses on nurturing democracy through civic engagement, public discourse, and media literacy. It also produces Bhutan-centric resources based on Bhutan's experience, observations and lens.
A few years ago, it published two new toolkits to promote civic engagement and participation. "A GNH-based Toolkit for Participatory Community Analysis".
The toolkit uses the four pillars of Gross National Happiness, namely good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, preservation of culture and tradition, and conservation of environment as the framework of holistic analysis.
The toolkit aids leaders in local governments to strengthen citizen engagement through inclusive consultations and participatory planning with the use of simple and practical tools. The toolkit and training help build the capacity of local leaders to be democratic, inclusive, and open in public consultations for planning and decision-making.
The toolkit also serves as a supplemental resource to capacity-building training and manuals for the Department of Local Government and the Gross National Happiness Commission of Bhutan.
Similarly, the toolkit "Promoting Child Participation in Community Development" is designed for adults, children and youth. The toolkit aims to build the capacity of local leaders to create safe and inclusive communities that mainstream the rights of young people's well-being and rights into Local Government planning and development. Overall, the toolkit provides hope for young children. It promotes the participation of young people in communities to inform their local leaders of a responsive policy and proactive interventions in the development of their communities.
The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy aims to create a vibrant democracy with equally engaged and proactive citizens. Its mission is to nurture democracy in Bhutan through civic engagement, public discourse, and media literacy.
In its more than a decade-long service, the centre has engaged with a cross-section of society on civic engagement, creation of Bhutan-centric resources, and media literacy and worked on issues concerning youth, social, environment, governance and education using media as a modus operandi.
I am Tempa Wangdi from Bhutan, an EUVP alumnus who visited the EU on the 23rd of September, 2023 - 4th of October, 2023, writing the piece to share information about the works of BCMD where I worked from 2017 - 2020. With Bhutan preparing for its graduation from the group of Least Developed Countries, CSOs have a huge role to play in Bhutan's future and international partnerships with the EU can be of great help.