In a move that would make scouts ‘Messengers of peace’, Bhutan Scouts Association is currently training scouts secretaries and rover scouts from 20 dzongkhags.

At the inaugural session on October 27, Asia Pacific Region’s director of development and support finance, Prassanna Shrivastava, said that as a scout, one is already ambassador of peace but the workshop would teach participants how to become messengers of peace.

He said that the workshop was correlated with the country’s development philosophy, Gross National Happiness.

Messenger of Peace is a global programme initiated by the world organisation of scouts’ movement. In 2007, when scouts were celebrating 100 years of scouting with participants from 110 countries, the work done in the community was highly regarded after which the King of Saudi Arabia said scouts are messengers of peace.

Later, in 2011, the programme ‘Messengers of Peace’ was formally launched.

While scouts are already working for the community to create peace, the director said the time had come when one needed to communicate with people and create network.

“Through this programme, scouts do their good work related to environment, community development and anything that creates happiness among people that finally brings peace,” he said.

Scouts are connected globally by an online network There are about 35 million scouts in the Asia Pacific region alone.

Although Bhutan joined the global network as ‘Messengers of Peace’ in 2012, much impact could not be made until 2016 at a conference held in Delhi where Bhutan shared stories of their good work.

Messenger of Peace coordinator Nawang Gyaltshen said, “As scouts in the country we do a lot of activities in serving the community, which bring positive impact in the community. Once you are a scout, you are a Messenger of peace.”

Currently, there are at least 40,406 scouts in the country, including community-based scouts.

Nawang Gyaltshen  said that over the years scouting has undergone tremendous changes under the leadership of His Majesty The King. The revitalisation of scouting programme began in 2013 with the introduction of Youth Leadership Training for scouts at the Military Training Centre in Tenchholing, Wangdue.

“Since then, the face and image of Scouting has changed,” Nawang Gyaltshen said.

He added that the revitalisation happened when scouting was on the verge of falling out. That was because a lot of programmes that scouts initiated were adult oriented, which did not attract youth. “Not many programmes were conducted for young people in scouts,” he said. “Now everything is on track.”

The five-day programme ends today.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang