© Helvetas


Bhutan is a remote mountainous country in a state of transition. Now that more and more people here have access to education, more and more young educated Bhutanese need jobs. With Helvetas' support, young women and men acquire a practically oriented vocational education with job prospects. In addition, we seek to shore up civil society in the new role it has to play in this fledgling democracy.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    38,394 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    8% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 132 out of 188
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Governance, Peace & Migration
    Skills Development and Education
    Gender and Social Equity
    Urban Engagement
* Source: UN Data

Helvetas has been active in Bhutan since 1975. We have successfully completed projects in dairy farming, agriculture and forestry and in building suspension footbridges, as well as a teacher training project that has significantly increased school enrollment among Bhutan’s children. The illiteracy rate here has plummeted from 90% to under 40% in a single generation. Now these well-educated school leavers need jobs. On the other hand, many educated young people in Bhutan would rather go on to college: skilled trades are not (yet) highly regarded. Hence there is a lack of skilled workers in the country.

Experience from Nepal help in Bhutan

This is why Helvetas is supporting the government in its efforts to improve vocational training. The Swiss apprenticeship model and the experience we have gained from a successful training project in Nepal are being applied in Bhutan. Young women are being trained to become plumbers, for example, who go on to install new toilets in monasteries.

Promotion of citizens' initiatives

The democratization process in Bhutan is making headway. The first democratic elections were held in 2007/2008. And yet the people are still marked by their traditional role as “subjects” of the former feudal system. Political self-determination and active participation in society are still unfamiliar concepts to many Bhutanese. Helvetas reinforces civil society in its new role. For example, citizens advocate for the media to play an active role in democracy and urge people through radio programs to get involved.

Giving the disadvantaged more of a say

Helvetas works nationwide with local groups, organizations, cooperatives and the government, focusing in particular on communities in the poorest regions of the country. In various training programs, the people of Bhutan are learning how they can effectively help shape the future of their country.

Visit the website of Helvetas Bhutan.

Our Projects in Bhutan

 If you would like to know more about our work in Bhutan, click on each project for details.

© Helvetas
Bhutan Skills Development and Education

Building Trades with a Future for Young Men and Women

© Helvetas / Markus Wild
Bhutan Sustainable and Inclusive Economies

Market Access: A Way Out of Poverty for Farmers

© Helvetas
Bhutan Governance, Peace & Migration

Partnership for Diverse Civil Society Actions

© HelvetasBhutan
Bhutan Governance, Peace & Migration

Bringing Decision-Making to Local Communities

Governance, Peace & Migration

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

Skills Development and Education

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

Sustainable and Inclusive Economies

Economic growth does not always benefit the poor and poverty is bad for growth. We need to make a proactive effort to break this vicious cycle.

P.O. Box 157
11001 Thimphu

Phone: +975 2 32 28 70
Fax: +975 2 323210
E-Mail: bhutan@helvetas.org