Since Bhutan's transition to democracy in 2008, Bhutanese youth - comprising 59% of the country's population - have been undeserved and excluded from the democratic process. They are negatively portrayed by the media; not consulted by policymakers for decisions; and have few outlets to voice their opinions in schools. Outside of school, there are few facilities for youth to pursue learning and to stay engaged. This has led to a rise in gang formation, drug abuse and violence in urban areas.
This project will take a three-pronged approach to empowering Bhutanese youth: (1) to develop a creative space where young people can go to freely access digital media technology; (2) to teach them how to document and portray issues that impact their lives through documentary filmmaking, citizen journalism, digital photography, graphic design, podcast production; and (3) help them use these productions to advocate for positive solutions to these issues.
By developing this space, we hope to create a center for youth to learn collaboratively, develop their skills in creativity and media-making, incubate ideas that they can then implement, and, most importantly, to care about their stake in Bhutan's democracy. As youth continue to use their voice in a creative and responsible manner, public perception about youth will become more positive, and decision-makers will incorporate their input into decision-making.