Dungkar in Lhuentse is the ancestral home of the Kings of Bhutan. It is remote. It is beautiful.
This fabled village has limited access to television, radio, and newspaper. But the change is already at the door.
Most villagers (of the total 700) here own smartphones and WeChat is first form of media that people use to communicate, to inform, and to be informed.
This is what came to light during a media literacy workshop that the Journalists’ Association of Bhutan with support from United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) conducted in the village on October 7.
Villagers young and old use WeChat to communicate. In fact, the voice-messaging app is their only link to the world beyond Dungkar.
The villagers have formed WeChat groups for different purposes. The gewog administration has one.
The village was connected to 3G Internet service two years ago. Since then, the people here have been using WeChat to bridge communication gaps.
Dungkar Tshogpa Kungala said chipons of the villages no long walked door to door to deliver messages. They use WeChat. It saves time and energy.
“If we use WeChat in a positive way, there are many possibilities and opportunities,” Kungala said.
A few days ago, boars and sambar deer destroyed paddy in a village. The tshogpa was able to resolve the problem immediately with the local RNR officials using WeChat. Without WeChat, this would not have been possible.
Sixty villagers attended the day-long workshop. The majority of the participants were women.
Dungkhar village is two days’ drive from Thimphu. It is the third remote village JAB has visited for media literacy this year.