Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - 11:16 PM
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From community mapping to positive change

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DSC_6729Ice breaker: Participants sing and dance to a nursery rhyme

30 participants (students and teachers) participated in a ten-day media nomad workshop

BCMD: Taking action to bring about change, a group of media nomads took the initiative to put waste bins at different locations at Kuenselphodrang in Thimphu, where waste management was increasingly becoming an issue.

The group constituted participants of the fourth media nomad: community mapping workshop organised by the Bhutan centre for media and democracy (BCMD).

Presenting their work at the closing ceremony yesterday a teacher trainee of Samtse college of education and member of the group, Bagawath Bhandari, 21, said they even managed to get the thromde officials to commit to maintain the waste bins.

Kuenselphodrang is outside the thromde boundary.

“It doesn’t have to be the government to bring such differences, although small, anyone can bring positive changes in their community,” Bagawath Bhandari said. “Such challenges are opportunities for us to bring change in communities.”

Participants said such positive changes added to their understanding of citizen action as being at the centre of a democracy.

A total of 30 participants, including students and teachers, who were divided into five groups, participated in the ten-day workshop.

After looking into the possibility of bringing positive changes, participants presented their solutions after exploring different parts of communities in Thimphu.

By mapping these communities, participants presented the issues and challenges faced by these community members, after documenting their stories and exploring ways to find solutions during the workshop.

The other groups’ works revolved around street hawkers, improvement of slums in Motithang, promotion of local produce as tsho (food offering) instead of packaged food, and the lack of city bus service at Changidaphu.

BCMD’s assistant program officer, Tshering Eudon, said this was the third time they were conducting the community mapping workshop.

“Community mapping is a simple process, where one needs basic interview, photography and research skills to explore communities,” Tshering Eudon said.

“By exploring the communities, youth discover that there are challenges community faces, which can be solved at the local level by involving residents,” Tshering Eudon said.

“We realised how powerful a tool community mapping process can be in bringing positive change to community,” Tshering Eudon said. “We’re now planning to spread it to schools and colleges in different dzongkhags.”

For the mapping process, they were using a GIS (geographic information system) software, provided by UNICEF as a pilot project.

By Thinley Zangmo

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