Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD)

Inspiring engaged citizens and reaching the unreached youth in Bhutan

LocationBhutan

Issue AreaEducation

Amount NeededGeneral Support Needed

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Action for COVID-19

The coronavirus has had far-reaching effects beyond the spread of the illness itself to upsetting the social safety nets, and the economies of the world communities. It has revealed inequalities in societies including digital divide, racism and diplomatic frictions.  What became apparent in the case of Bhutan is the digital divide between the rural and the urban communities, dependency and fragility of our economy and the lack of technological advancement in our education system, to name a few.

Globally, the virus has affected all races and classes indiscriminately. However, it isn’t all that dark. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a teachable moment!  It is clear from the global crisis that we are all in this together. It has shown how even an action as simple as “staying home” and “verifying facts” as an individual have far-reaching effects in the community in curbing the spread of the virus and maintaining calm. It brings to light how coordinated actions from multiple stakeholders with one common goal can be achieved through effective leadership.

Citizenship education perhaps has never been felt so important than when the world is gripped in fear of the global pandemic. The current pandemic presents a real-time case study for the 2020 Youth Summit to discuss values of good citizens, leadership, the role of the youth in creating more inclusive and equitable democracy in the country. It is an opportune time for the young generation to reflect on current socio-economic realities, reprioritise and advocate for a better world by exploring solutions.

As the youths discover their innate talents and strengths at the Summit, they will learn to grow a sense of ownership and duty, which would in turn help in being responsible at home, in their communities and to engage productively under different conditions. Benefits of engaging youths in transformational programs like the Youth Summit expands beyond pandemics like COVID-19 as they learn to become more productive as citizens at an early age. This helps families, communities and states in building a stronger society that’s able to handle global inequities and challenges through a local lens and approach. It will help us create a stronger Bhutan.

The Media Lab: Giving Youth a Voice

The Media Lab is a dynamic learning space that fosters an innovative environment for youths to learn creative tools to advocate for social issues and nurture democracy through civic engagement, public discourse and media literacy so that they become responsible, socially conscious and active citizens. The Lab helps youth develop their innovation and interpersonal skills whilst also developing practical skills in photography, filmmaking and podcasting. The diverse range of Media Lab programmes enables interaction with citizens and organisations allowing for a holistic understanding and action on pertinent issues.

What is the problem?

Although there are opportunities for youth to access ICT in cafes or youth centres, there is very little done to motivate youths or offer capacity development to encourage civic engagement. Media classes offered in schools are theoretical, leaving students with limited practical skills; and school managements reach out to the Media Lab for assistance. There is a need for a creative approach to nurture civic engagement and inspire action which is core to the Lab’s mission. However, the lab is in dire need of the right equipment and support to realise its mission.

How will this project solve the problem?

BCMD will use multimedia and forums as a modus operandi to inspire civic consciousness and action through:

  1. Camps on photography, filming, and podcasting etc to shed light on issues that concern youths
  2. Forums on pertinent themes where youths can exercise voice to share and exchange views
  3. Workshops on news and media literacy to develop a discerning mind in the digital age

The multi-media training enables the students to explore their potential interests in Media and helps them realise the potential of using media as a tool to express themselves.

Long Term Impact

Media Lab creates free space for youth and citizens to learn new skills and knowledge, and grow as citizens through effective communication, and leadership skills. Their learning of important social issues through photography, podcasts, and films will empower youth, marginalised groups, and citizens to participate in policies and decisions affecting their lives and communities.

About this Organization

LocationBhutan
Issue AreaEducation

About Give2Asia

Give2Asia is a trusted partner for international philanthropy and the leader in donor-advised giving to the Asia-Pacific. Our mission is to strengthen communities in Asia by making cross-border giving easier and more effective. Since 2001, Give2Asia has facilitated more than $420 million of charitable grants across 23 countries. Give2Asia is a US-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California with offices in Beijing and in-country experts across the Asia-Pacific region.