Chhimi Dema

A project, Bhutanese Knowledge for Indigenous Development (B-KIND), will begin in three focused dzongkhags to document and study the impacts of climate change faced by Bhutanese communities and find adaption strategies in consultation with policy-makers to benefit the communities.

The dzongkhags are Gasa, Punakha, and Wangdue.

B-KIND’s programme coordinator, Ritu Verma (PhD), said that the project carried out in rural communities would showcase people’s stories and everyday life experiences of climate change in systematic evidence-based research.

She said that the project would hold community consultations and document people’s needs.

After studying the socio-cultural practices and the biophysical conditions–based on meteorological data and other climate vulnerability assessments–the project would establish the impacts of climate change in these localities.

Ritu Verma said that the project’s aim is to deepen capacities for evidence-based policymaking.

“If its [decision is] based on strong data and evidence, then it could benefit communities because it is based on their realities, which are double-checked through evidence,” she said.

The research project will provide training based on the community’s requirements and small action research projects.

The project held its inception workshop from June 16 to 17 to share project documents such as the research and data management plan; research ethics; monitoring, and evaluation of the project.

Ritu Verma said that the inception workshop allows the team from the two partner organisations, the Tarayana Foundation and the College of Natural Resources to share the status of the various themes of the project.

The research project will focus on themes such as sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, gender equality and transformative change, indigenous knowledge, rural and international development, wellbeing and Gross National Happiness, and holistic food systems.

Ritu Verma said that the workshop assessed the project’s impact on communities and how the public can increase their knowledge about issues in these communities.

The project was launched on August 17 last year.

After its launch, Ritu Verma said, the project started setting up social media handles, buying equipment, and students who received scholarships through the project started their course work.

The project team conducted field visits and held community consultations with the farmers.

In the coming months, the researchers with the project will make field visits to collect data and two students will leave in September to study in Canada.

Ritu Verma said that the project’s outputs range from researching and publishing articles in academic international peer-reviewed journals; hosting photo exhibitions, workshops and training; and making policy briefs.

The programme received a grant of approximately USD one million from the Government of Canada through the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).