Kinley Wangchuk and Loten Zangmo

The Department of Local Governance has launched an online CEP (Community Engagement Platform) handbook to form CEPs across the country.

The idea is to support the community engagement in local governance.

The platform was tested in some gewogs of Dagana, Punakha, and Mongar. Thirty-one CEPs were formed in its pilot phase.

Kado Zangpo, director of DLG, said: “In the rural areas, zomdus are organised for different purposes. However, its frequency, larger size of attendees and sometimes poor attendance and lack of proper agenda posed a challenge for effective zomdu. A few vocal and influential individuals dominate the discussions, leading to decisions that are often not in line with the community’s interest. People have also developed fatigue, resulting poor or passive participation.”

The answer, he said was in forming smaller groups and thus, the CEPs.

The Project Manager with DLG, Passang Wangchuk, said: “CEP’s Nangzom, an informal gathering, offers a conducive platform for people to delve deep into the issues facing the communities.”

The effective tools used are the T-shape Analysis and Drongsep Yardrak programme to stimulate the passive CEPs.

The T-shape Analysis evaluates the sustainability of the community from the demographic point of view.

The Drongsep Yardrak consists of tools like Seasonal Calendar, Happiness Tree Analysis and Community Scanning, Mapping and Action Plan Formulation.

“The aim is to transform rural people from ‘Working Farmers’ to ‘Thinking Farmers’ to ‘Visioning Farmers,” said Passang Wangchuk.

Rinchen Wangdi, a Gewog Administrative Officer, said, “CEP has brought many positive impacts in the chiwogs and has increased community participation in planning and decision-making processes.”