Imagine civil society: a dialogue on civil society and Bhutan
Imagine Civil Society: A Dialogue on Civil Society and Bhutan, a convention on the importance of the Civil Society Organization (CSO) to the government and the people was held in the capital from 7th to 8th October 2014. The dialogue was attended by officials from Civil Society Organizations, non- CSO and students of Royal Thimphu College.
Aum Siok Sian Pek Dorji , Executive Professional Director of Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy said that the objective of the CSOs is networking and sharing thoughts and building alliance with the Government and the companies.
Dasho Neten Zangmo , Chairperson of AntiCorruption Commission expressed skewed view about the NGOs as being unreasonable, noisy and distrustful, but now feels that NGOs are more than “watch-dog”. She feels that CSO puts light into greater issues such as Justice and Security and helps in building trust, which is an important social capital and base of Gross National Happiness (GNH). But to grow out of the environment of distrust, government should take the first move and create confidence among the civil society actors and include them in problem solving processes of the nation, because government alone cannot reach all the issues. She also added that there is a need for transformation in thinking of leaders as an institution and members of the society, and quoted, “State should be gardener not fence”.
Another resource person from Tarayan Foundation Mr. Pelmo Gyalpo said that CSO is a new concept and before Tarayana Foundation was known as NGO and NPO, but now it is the third sector existing in Bhutan. He also said that the foundation works for transformation of people in rural areas to help them achieve marginal dignity of life and is successfully working in 102 villages over 10 districts.
Mr. Tashi Namgay , Executive Director from Bhutan Kidney Foundation said, “Civil society is a call for the change to the society through society. There should be mutual engagement between the government and the organization as Bhutanese to bring positive change in the country; and added, “Purpose of life is to be a good human being”.
One of the interesting twists in the meeting was Dilemma of Mr. Dawa, founder of help shoe Bhutan, who wanted to continue his help line to the people but not be registered as CSO. That question was what should he do? And a combine effort of the speakers led to an unclear answer that the need to register depends upon the situation, so it remained a dilemma.