Sherab Lhamo

An initiative aimed at bolstering Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country, Europen Union funded project was launched yesterday at Terma Linca in Thimphu.

Titled “Towards Empowering Bhutanese CSOs for Good Governance and Inclusive Development.”

The joint launch was led by the National Assembly Speaker and National Council Chairperson. The primary goal is to collaborate with key stakeholders, including the Parliament (both National Assembly and National Council), CSOs, and media houses, to empower CSOs as independent agents for promoting good governance and inclusive development.

Lungten Dorji, the National Assembly Speaker, Said that through this initiative, CSOs can foster collaboration, engage in policy discussions, and facilitate citizen participation in decision-making processes.

Parliamentarians, CSO officials, and officials from community-based organisations discuss the scope of the project

He underscored the significance of coordinated efforts among civil society, government, and parliament to achieve good governance and inclusive development in Bhutan.

CSOs have been encountering challenges such as limited capacity, resources, understanding, access to decision-makers, and funding constraints.

The project, led by Save the Children, Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW), and Bhutan Transparency Initiative, aims to address these challenges.

The European Union has allocated 875,000 euros for the project, which commenced in January 2024 and will conclude by June 2027.

Sangay Dorji, Chairperson of the National Council, highlighted that the project seeks to overcome existing challenges faced by CSOs and strengthen them, fostering a resilient society that leaves no one behind.

Save the Children and other partners will conduct baseline assessments, support research, provide financial aid, and organize learning programs to enhance CSO capacities. The Bhutan Transparency Initiative plans to enhance CSO engagement with parliamentary committees and government agencies, promote digital platforms for civic engagement, and facilitate CSO-media collaboration.

RENEW’s activities focus on empowering CSOs, youth, women, and community networks by building capacities in parliamentary processes, good governance, and citizen engagement. They also aim to increase media coverage on social issues and implement advocacy campaigns.

The launch event was attended by parliamentarians, CSO officials, Community-Based Organization representatives, and members of various media outlets.