Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Thirty-two women who are aspiring to contest in the upcoming local government (LG) election from Mongar and Lhuentse are attending a leadership training in Mongar.

Conducted by Bhutan Network of Empowering Women (BNEW), in collaboration with National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), women are practising public speaking skills and learning to deliver campaign speeches during the three-day workshop. The trainer provides feedback and recommendations.

Of the 32 women, six are aspiring candidates for gup, 10 for mangmi and 16 for tshogpa in the upcoming LG election.

An aspiring mangmi candidate of Tsamang gewog, Deki Pelden, said the workshop has helped boost her confidence. “Initially, I was timid and couldn’t speak confidently. I can feel the difference now.”

The workshop mainly focuses on public speaking skills, such as maintaining body gestures to eye contact to content development, which are essential skills for election campaigning.

A resource person, Kuenley Gyeltshen, who is the proprietor of Language and Culture Institute, said good communication skills are a must to connect with voters.”

BNEW’s programme officer, Ugyen Choki, said women representation in national leadership is less compared to men. “It’s the same even in local government, and we’re working towards increasing the number of women in leadership positions in local government.”

She said that in the last LG election, only two women were elected as gup, and 24 as mangmi, from 205 gewogs.

Ugyen Choki also said women gain confidence once they master the art of public speaking. “This workshop is aimed at building a good network among the women candidates so that they can help each other.”

BNEW will conduct similar workshops in Trashigang for aspiring candidates from Trashigang and Trashiyangtse.

Ugyen Choki said they will conduct the workshop in all dzongkhags before LG elections begin.

Edited by Tashi Dema