A two-day workshop was held to coordinate, align and strengthen plan activities

 SJI: The Samdrupjongkhar Initiative (SJI) conducted a two-day  Samdrupjongkhar district development strategy workshop for 11 gewog officials, so that they are better able to coordinate, align and strengthen plan activities.

The participants discussed specific needs and priorities, saying there was a need for the gewogs to collaborate with SJI.

Tshewang Dhendup, SJI’s executive director, said collaboration between SJI and the gewogs could be a fruitful partnership.

“The SJI would like to learn from the local government’s experience of implementing projects at the gewog level. We’d also like to explore other areas of collaboration,” Tshewang Dhendup said.

Gups at the workshop said knowledge-sharing among gewogs on agriculture and waste management is lacking.  The participants agreed to allocate Nu 50,000 from the gewog development grant for the improvement of agriculture activities in the gewogs.  The decision was reached after consultations with villagers during the gewog tshogde.

Tshewang Dhendup said a proposal has been submitted to IFAD for funds.  If it comes through, the fund would be used, together with development grant, to carry out climate smart agriculture.

“The SJI will initiate training, facilitate group formation, conduct field festivals, and train farmers on organic farming,” he said. “We’re also exploring other funders.”

However, some of the participants said, as per the GDG guidelines, it doesn’t allow the fund to be used as donation, contributions or for any projects, which is why it is important to look into the matter again, and decide how to use the grant.

“The workshop is a timely exercise to base SJI’s future activities, which allowed it to gain a sound understanding of needs and priorities of the local government. It’s also important to have such dialogue, so that there’s no duplication of activities,” Tshewang Dhendup said.

The International Development Research Centre of Canada funded the strategy workshop.

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar