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Planned development activities take time. Sometimes it is the lack of resources that impede the launch of certain planned projects. At other times, there are technical issues to be sorted and ways ironed out.

These could be frustrating to many villagers. Some far off villages in the country are yet get to be connected with roads and electricity. Some are grappling with the challenges of water shortage and inefficient irrigation channels.

But people themselves can also take initiatives rather than waiting for the government to do everything. Some villages are already setting example by taking ownership of developmental activities.

A village in Samdrupjongkhar last year built their own road and people volunteer to carry out regular maintenance. We have heard such initiatives by the villagers elsewhere too. These are positive development happening in the society.

Recently, Menchari village in Orong, also in Samdrupjongkhar, have worked out an arrangement with The Samdrupjongkhar Initiative to construct a 3.3km road that will connect the village to the gewog centre. Construction of the road is expected to begin next month.

Villagers often get lost in the complicated and often inscrutable bureaucratic maze and are left feeling defeated. The government, on the other hand, have its own challenges with planned development activities, resulting in deferment of projects.

We have many civil society organisations in the country. Their mandates could be different, but their purpose is to manifest interest and will of the citizens. We also have civil society organisations with primary focus to enhance development in the villages. Priorities of the villagers can be charted and means found to take development in the villages. It could be road; it could be electricity; it could be drinking water. Where the government is not able to come in, civil society organisations should step in to bring about necessary changes in the villages.

With a little help, villagers are willing to contribute the way they can. Roads are important for any kind of development. For many villages, it is the priority.

It is heartening to see that people are now beginning to act responsible. They are able to find ways to bring development that their communities most urgently require. They see themselves at the centre of development. Civil society organisations, therefore, have a larger role to play in helping develop communities, particularly in the remote pockets of the country.

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