Give Bhutanese Youth Voice through Digital Media

 
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Jul 19, 2013

Progress Report #4: The Lab Starts to Flourish

Sawan practices his speech at the Google workshop
Sawan practices his speech at the Google workshop

Dear Friends, Donors, and Supporters: 

Since the March 29 launch, the Media Lab has started to shape up as the intentional learning space that we'd originally envisioned. Week after week, we've been able to hold a number of innovative media trainings and community building events for over 150 youth. Our experience of the past 3 months has confirmed our intuitions - that Bhutanese youth have immense creative potentials and civic awareness that can be harnessed for the good of Bhutan's democracy.

A brief overview of what we've been able to accomplish:

  • Creating a Responsive-Learning Environment. In May, we initiated two 6-week long introductory courses in photography and public speaking, both of which resulted from our consultations with youth. 25 youth from high schools are participating in the courses, which are going into their final week. (Check out some of their photos!)
  • Training Advocates and Citizen Journalists: From July 1st to 11th, we undertook an ambitious community mapping project in Thimphu - a process of exploring the issues confronting communities, as well as the strengths that keep them afloat. These stories, which include audio and photographic material, were then uploaded onto a digital map where the can be publicly viewed. 21 youth from high schools and colleges throughout Bhutan participated in the project, which resulted in a public presentation to leaders and policymakers. The data is currently being used to explore interventions that may improve the community.  
  • Offering Trainings from Visiting Professionals: In May, visiting professionals from Google led a two-day workshop on the Creative Skills for Innovation (CSI) process to improve the creative thinking skills of 15 youth in Thimphu. In June, two professional filmmakers led an intensive workshop on creating Micro-documentaries - 1-2 minute inspiring documentary video stories that connect audiences to solutions that lead to the world they envision.
  • Building Community: We regularly host Open Mic nights and discussion forums to give youth an opportunity to express themselves, share stories, and discuss important issues.

Looking ahead, we plan to further develop the Media Lab to enable youth to access the facilities on a consistent basis and take ownership of what goes on. Currently, we are in the process of hiring a Media Lab coordinator - someone who we will train and employ to keep the Lab open 6 days a week (as opposed to being open only on the weekends, as it currently is). The coordinator will help us develop the curriculum for our Media Guild program, a structured program geared towards training empowered, media literate citizens.

Your continued support will make it possible for us to hire the coordinator and reach even more youth!

Thank you and Tashi Delek :-)

Kelzang edits his micro-documentary on a Lab Mac
Kelzang edits his micro-documentary on a Lab Mac
Youth play Pac-Man using Makey-Makey
Youth play Pac-Man using Makey-Makey
Interviewing Election Commissioner for a story
Interviewing Election Commissioner for a story
Groups present findings from community mapping
Groups present findings from community mapping
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Project Leader

Siok Sian Pek-Dorji

Executive Professional Director
Thimphu, N/A Bhutan

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