Fund: The Bhutan Foundation signed agreements on four on-going projects and a new one, together worth Nu 94.37 million, with Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC)and three implementing agencies on January 21 in Thimphu.

This is the first agreement signed with the GNHC. Earlier all project agreements were signed directly with the implementing agencies.

The projects are parts of the foundation’s five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Gross National Happiness Commission to improve special education, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation signed in August 2015.

The foundation through the MoU provides financial and technical assistance to meet critical gaps in the government’s plans and programmes.

Under a new project, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) will receive funds to monitor forest cover change in the country, in order to identify and design a reliable geospatial method using Landsat data to map forest changes.

UWICE has two ongoing projects including the tiger conservation works and building capacity of Bhutanese conservationists.

With the financial support, UWICE will help Bhutanese scientists and youth better understand climate change.

“Over 20 weather stations have been established in schools and in remote locations across varying altitudes throughout the country, engaging more than 340 students and 34 teachers,” a press release from the foundation stated.

The home ministry will restore Wangduechhoeling Palace in Bumthang by September 2017. Works include documenting, restoring, research and collection, and adaptive re-use of the cultural heritage as a public space.

One of the projects is for the special education programme with the early childhood care and development division and special education division in the education ministry.

Over the past seven years, the programme has trained Bhutanese teachers to provide assistance to children with special needs, in 12 schools across the country, identified by the ministry.

The Bhutan Foundation has supported the ministry in drafting a National Special Education Policy for to make education in the country inclusive.