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.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like to know more about our work in Bhutan, click on each project for details.
P.O. Box 157 Dungkar Lam
Phone: +975 2 32 28 70
Fax: +975 2 323210