Students work in groups in youth summit
Youth Summit (Youth as Change Makers)
BCMD organised its annual Youth Summit: Youth as Change Makers from July 26-28 for youth across the country. Youths from various schools like Rangjung Central School and Sherubtse College in Trashigang, and Yebilaptsa Central School in Zhemgang attended the summit.
Students from College of Natural Resources, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Science (KGUMS), and other youths from nearby schools and graduates also took part in the Youth Summit. Few teachers from these schools and faculty members from some colleges also actively participated in the summit as facilitators.
During the three-day summit, the 91 youths who were divided into six different family groups proposed six step down action plans. All the six action plans are oriented to the communities around their colleges and schools.
Six action plans were proposed by six family groups, which were formed regionally for the ease of implementation of the projects.
Names of the six groups were derived from the word “Change” since this year’s summit was themed “Youth As Change Maker.” Each group had its name from a letter each of the word change.
Creative (Yebilaptsa Central School, proposed to protect drinking water source.
Hope (KGUMS): Make pre-hospital First Aid training to students.
Accessibility (CNR Graduates): Work towards reducing automobile workshops effluents from running into a stream at Metsina in Punakha.
Nightingale (CNR Students): Work towards reducing automobile workshops effluents from running into a stream at Metsina in Punakha.
Gender (Students from different schools and LGBT members): Teach English in nunneries.
Explorers (Sherube College and Rangjung Central School): Help the unattended old people in the villages of Trashigang with clothes, food and medical care.
Youth Initiative Camp Trains Youth
A teacher trainee from Paro College of Education wanted to use texts, audio, images, and video skills she acquired from YI Camp conducted from July 17-21 to improve her teaching skills.
Inspired by the training, she said that using multimedia skills could be one way to make classroom environment livelier. “I can use these skills to make teaching more attractive to students,” the teacher trainee said.
During the three-day training, participants were taught multimedia, which includes the use of texts, images, film, and audio. At the end of the training, each group produced a one-minute long programme on different subjects.
Other participants also had different ideas to use these skills to bring out struggles of farmers. Some college students wanted to hold a documentary competition to keep them in touch with their skills.
The YI Camp also covered sessions on News and Media Literacy. This session included news neighbourhood and power of information. Participants were also educated on judging news credibility and how verification, independence, and evaluation actually separate journalism from rest of the news outlets.
Participants also learnt about fairness and bias, the two vital aspects of journalism. Since social media is become an indispensable part of modern media, the session also covered the issue of social media and ethics surrounding it.
Multimedia Training of Trainers
Fourteen participants from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Youth Initiative (YI) members and teachers produced four two-minute audio-visual productions with the theme “local hero” during a training from July 12-14.
They featured four different characters that were locally inspirational. They included a specially disabled man practicing woodcarving, a man selling balloons for a living, and another physically challenged man pursuing body building and the life of a young musician, rapper.
All featured characters were from Thimphu city. The Training of Trainers included photography, scripting, story pitching, research and interview, among others.
BCMD trained 14 participants from Civil Society Organisations, Youth Initiative Members and teachers on multimedia production to enable them to conduct such trainings at their own respective organisations and schools in future.
TV Series, ‘Jurwa’ and Music Video ‘Dear Prime Minister’ Launched
Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) launched its first ever television series on “Jurwa” and released a music video “Dear Prime Minister” to commemorate the International Democracy Day on September 15, 2017, as the country’s young democracy entered its 9th year.
Representatives of all the five political parties and Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) came to talk about the state of Bhutanese democracy at the launch to mark the democracy day. The National Council members, government officials, foreign delegates, press, and members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) graced the occasion.
Teachers and students of democracy clubs from various schools in Thimphu also came to observe the launch to celebrate the democracy day. Both music video and Jurwa TV series were launched as independent productions on democracy to educate people about democracy and its values such as the rights, duties, and civic engagement.
“Jurwa, Changing Times” is a television series filmed in a rural setting of Gakithang village, a hamlet in the fringes of Thimphu. As the series unfurls, an election is around the corner. A young civil servant, Sangay Penjor, the lead character in the story sees an opportunity in politics.
But his political journey isn’t going be a walk in the park. Scepticism looms from the start as the news of Sangay’s wish to contest the elections spreads in a traditional village largely dominated by the elders. Sangay’s love, Yeshey Tshomo doesn’t seem to like the idea of him leaving a secure government job for murky politics, either.
Her father, Ap Doley’s distaste for Sangay further deepens when he hears about the former’s intentions to compete against the latter’s nephew and the incumbent Member of Parliament from Gakithang, Sonam. Sangay’s own childhood friend, Kuenga Rabten who is also in love with Yeshey Tshomo and is in the good books of Ap Doley is seething with jealousy when he hears the news of Sangay’s political aspirations.
But Yeshey’s mother feels otherwise. She thinks Sangay could prove to be a better leader despite his disadvantaged age. She feels Sangay could even be a better man than Kuenga Rabten for Yeshey Tshomo.
As democracy lets its frenzy times lose, the small close-knit community is gripped with tumultuous political events. Subsequent political events push everything including their relations with family, friends, and neighbours to the brink. Opinions are divided even among the family members. Chaotic is the new times of democracy.
As Sangay Penjor ventures into politics, his political voyage highlights some of the challenges Bhutan is facing as a young democracy, today. Much of his experience can be related to issues, political and social ills, we face in everyday life, since Bhutan’s venture to the new form of government in 2008. With elections bound next year, in 2018, there is only so much we can learn from Jurwa.
“Dear Prime Minister” is a music video informing people that our ties of family, relatives, friends, community, and nation are far more important to be divided by mere political differences.
As the song is played out – a number of questions are raised about democracy and politics, that everyone can relate to their lives. It relays a message that the Bhutanese democracy can be a vibrant and unique one, in a sense – it should rather blend people together as families, friends, community and nation than divide.
During the launch marking the International Democracy Day, ECB representatives and members of the five political parties spoke about the state of the Bhutanese democracy to over 200 participants.
Paro Town Committee Attend Local Action
Students from Paro College of Education (PCE) and four schools from Paro presented findings of their community mapping exercises to Paro Town Committee during a seminar on September 8.
The second town committee meeting in Paro was held with a seminar on “Supporting people-centred community development through action research” led by the Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University Professor Takayoshi Kusago. Dzongkhag sector heads, CSO members, teachers, students and residents attended the seminar of lessons on how action research community development has contributed to community building in Japan.
Following the seminar, teachers, and students from schools including, Shaba and Shari Higher Secondary Schools, Drugyal Central and Khangkhu Middle Secondary Schools, and the Paro College of Education shared their experience and knowledge of having engaged with the communities. They also presented findings from the mapping exercises to the Paro town committee.
The mappers have identified relevant and urgent issues in Paro communities and pitched ideas to address the problems. The schools are going to work on the following projects in coming months:
- Shaba Higher Secondary School – Conservation of Spring Water Source
- Khangkhu Middle Secondary School – Renovation of Canopy on the school campus
- Drugyal Central School – Construction of Drains in the school
- Paro College of Education – Construction of Public Toilet at Bondey
- Shari Higher Secondary School – Advocacy on Water Shortage at Shari.
Celebrating Civil Society
Little is known and covered about the contributions of Civil Society Organisation (CSO) to towards the nation-building. Many still misunderstand CSO as one of the government entities mostly either because of ignorance of the people or because it fairly is a new organisation to the country largely dominated by governmental support.
But CSO Fraternity is making a consistent effort to reach out to a larger audience and create awareness of civil society. Last year, CSO fraternity has come up with an annual event called CSO Fair. This year, maintaining the previous year's theme "Celebrating Civil Society," over 33 CSOs including the Mutual and Public Benefit Oganisations came together to mark the event on October 13-14, coinciding with the Royal Wedding Anniversary of Their Majesties.
During the two-day fair, CSOs displayed some of their products to generate some revenue through the sale of their products. While few CSOs like Bhutan centre for Media and Democracy put up on sale some of its publications including, The Druk Journal, Monarchy and Democracy in 21st Century, other CSOs like RENEW, Tarayana and YDF tried to sell some of their handicraft products. Lhomon displayed some of its bags and purses made from the recycled pet bottles and plastic wrappers.
The event also conducted a photography contest on the themed "Our Gyenkhu" translated in literal meaning as 'Our Responsibility.'
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay enjoys music video