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Showing posts from 2017

For 24/7 Water Supply

Every day we hear people complaining how they face water shortage in their locality. And for a small city like Thimphu, some people feel that our pipes should never run out of the water. While we can tolerate shortcoming sometimes, we should never have a situation wherein we are always after water. 
So what does it take to have water supply 24/7? I think this can be achieved only if we are good at managing it. In some places in Olakha and Babesa since the supply by the Municipality is inadequate, private landlords have installed their own pipes to ensure a steady supply to the tenants residing in their buildings. Because having to depend on Thromde’s supply is to have a set of highly frustrated tenants, who will soon move to the next building with better water supply. That’s why our landlords are only being wise. 
Now Thromde feels that these privately installed pipes need to go. Where were they when these private individuals were digging out and burying their pipes? How can they be i…

How long and tall will our trees stand?

Most of our rural villages now have electricity. Chiwogs under Shingkhar Gewog in Zhemgang Dzongkhag finally got theirs on November 11, 2015, coinciding with the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. 
It was the biggest gift of the century for the farmers in this part of the Kingdom. 
Although power outage is more frequent than wild boar visiting their farmlands, villagers have nothing but gratitude to the government for lighting their homes. But the biggest impact of electrification is on our environment. Pressures on our forest have significantly dropped now that farmers no more need to cut down trees for firewood. And also the need to burn kerosene fuel to light a home is next to nil. I am sure smokes from kerosene is harmful to people’s health.
Thanks to electricity, today not many people use wood-fed mud-stoves. They are now concerned more of how and where they would refill their LPG cylinders. It is a lifesaver, especially in summe…

Fluttering solution to our prayer-flag dilemma

Back in those days when trees were aplenty and permission to cut them down was not required (this was at least so in rural Bhutan), people would normally erect 108 prayer flags in the name of a dead person. Erecting prayer flags is believed to deliver the dead person's soul from the state of Bardo.
And still to this day most people insist on wooden poles. This comes at a time when we face difficulties in conserving our forest and keeping our constitutional promise to the future generation. But again the issue concerning the dead is a sensitive one that requires utmost care. On one hand, we need to respect the sentiments of those bereaved family members and on the other, it is important to protect our forest.
Realizing this, a few years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) encouraged people to use bamboo poles instead as they are stronger and more durable. The same poles, unlike their wooden cousins, can be reused multiple times. This was a perfect substitute and the wh…

Seeing and experiencing REAL Bhutan

Yes, we have deep respects for those tourists, who visit places and observe real festivals with the natives and enjoy them to the fullest. Such foreigners will get more out of Bhutan and their visits. In my opinion, most tourists would like to see something like that and experience real Bhutan and not the one that’s artificially created for them. They would like to spend some time interacting with our farmers. 
Our people need to maintain clean rooms and cook hygienic food. Such skills can be provided to the people in the rural villages. If only that happens we see the benefit of tourism being shared with all. Because right now only those who own big restaurants in urban centers and those who own major tour companies are the ultimate beneficiaries. That way we will have rich people getting richer while the poor will remain more or less mere spectator of this ever happening tourism sector.  We need to think of new tourist destinations. For now, almost every tour company sells almost th…

Going Beyond Elections

Women empowerment is a recent phenomenon in Bhutan. And unfortunately, many of us today have narrowed it down to having more women contest elections. Although it is true that empowered women are more likely to take part in the elections, empowering women is more than that. 
Because elections can have only so much women; at the most, we are talking about 72 women getting elected as members of the parliaments, 205 gupsmangmi and some 1,000 plus women tshogpas. But what about the others, who are not part of the process? 
It is important that we invest in educating our women and girls. Our NGO, READ Bhutan, believes education is the most critical component of women empowerment. So, all our efforts are targeted at providing opportunities for women to learn and educate them on all spheres of life. Possessing literacy skills is another element especially if someone is contesting elections in Bhutan. In Bhutan, aspiring candidates have to pass Functional Literacy Tests (FLT) to stand as cand…

Towards Thimphu Declaration

Coinciding with the International Women's Day 2017 (March 8), Bhutan hosted a three-day National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics with a Regional dimension at Terma Linca Resort in Thimphu. It was the second conference to be organized in Bhutan; the first one was conducted in April 2014. 
The conference was organized jointly by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) with funding support from DPID, International IDEA, and others. The conference was attended by delegates from Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan.
One of the most important outcomes of the conference was drafting of Thimphu Declaration, which aims to have at least 30% women candidates fielded by the political parties in the upcoming 2018 elections and increase the number of elected women leaders by 30% using fast track measures. It also envisions increasing women executives in the civil and public service by 25%. 
It is true that qualified and empo…
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