In a stride towards fostering awareness and empowering Bhutan’s youth, four vibrant and forward-looking youth groups—YPEER Bhutan, QUEER Voices of Bhutan, VAST Bhutan, and YDF-Young Volunteers in Action of Gelephu— have launched a transformative campaign for the country’s young people.

Part of “ShiftBhutan Programme”, an innovative campaign accelerator, pioneered by Save the Children, the nationwide campaign focuses on, among others, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and substance use disorders (SUD). With its targeted approach encompassing the age group of 14 to 25 years, this initiative recognises the pivotal period of adolescence and early adulthood.

By disseminating accurate, comprehensive, and age-appropriate information about SRHR and SUD, the youth groups are in action to foster a generation equipped with knowledge that will empower them to make informed decisions. In an era marked by rapid information exchange and technological advances, misinformation often thrives. The youths are particularly susceptible to misconceptions that can have far-reaching consequences. The “ShiftBhutan programme” combats this challenge head-on by providing a platform for honest conversations and education.

The campaign’s focus on SRHR underscores the importance of body autonomy, consent, and understanding relationships, enabling young Bhutanese to cultivate respectful and healthy interactions. Simultaneously, its emphasis on SUD delivers a critical message about the perils of substance abuse, fostering responsible choices that steer clear of potentially life-altering pitfalls.

It’s not just the message, but also the messenger that matters.

The collaboration among diverse youth groups demonstrates the potency of unity. With a unified voice, they amplify their impact, transcending boundaries and enabling a more comprehensive reach across the country. This collaboration sets an example of the power of collective action in tackling societal challenges, showcasing a nation where differences are embraced and harnessed for positive change.

The programme acts as a catalyst for cultural evolution, challenging norms and broadening perspectives.

The inclusion of QUEER Voices of Bhutan within the campaign speaks volumes about the commitment to inclusivity and representation. By addressing the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, this initiative takes a commendable step towards creating a more equitable society where everyone’s rights are recognised and respected.

Bhutan’s young people, armed with knowledge, can shape a future defined by health, equality, and informed decision-making. This innovative collaboration, therefore, deserves our praise, for the impact of knowledge-sharing, and the transformative potential of youth engagement.