Recognizing the potential of young people to contribute to helping the government achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: the most ambitious global agenda that aims at ending poverty, reducing inequality and protecting our planet by 2030, the Youth Center Division of the Dept. of Youth and Sports, MoE had organized the 1st National SDG Conference in December 2017 in Thimphu. Themed ‘Youth and their Development Priorities’, the conference introduced young people to each of 17 SDGs and helped them explore ways in which they can be part of the national effort to achieve them. It was during this conference that youth volunteers from regional Youth Centers had developed action plans to contribute, in their own small way, towards achieving some of those goals.
In order to follow up on those action plans and to facilitate the exchange of experiences, good practices and challenges amongst the participants for future improvement, the 2nd round of workshops was initiated in 2018 for regional Youth Centers. The workshops were conducted in two clusters to ensure better interaction and more fruitful discussions. The 1st cluster was held in Paro from 8-9 September 2018 which was attended by 20 youth (four youth volunteers each from Harmony, Changjiji, Khasadrapchu, Phuntsholing and Paro Youth Centers). The 2nd cluster was held in Gelephu from 13-15 October 2018 for 24 youth (four youth volunteers each from Gelephu, Zhemgang, Bajothang, Mongar, Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar Youth Centers).
As intended, these follow-up workshops served as a platform for youth volunteers from different Youth Centers to share their experiences, key achievements and challenges with each other and discuss strategies for further improvement. It was encouraging to learn from the presentations that most of the activities included in the action plans have been implemented despite some challenges such as the inadequate support from parents and schools, lack of commitment from some youth volunteers, and lack of budget for implementing major activities.
On the final day of the workshop, the participants developed new action plans to continue their effort to contribute to achieving the SDGs of their choice. These action plans will be followed up next year. More importantly, the participants understood how they can contribute to realizing some of the goals just by taking as simple initiatives as Managing one’s own wastes, avoiding junk food, switching off lights and closing water-taps when not needed, not wasting food and refraining from indulging in unhealthy activities.
In addition to formal sessions, the participants also took part in a number of recreational activities in the evening to refresh themselves and strengthen their bond with each other. Facilitated by Youth Center managers, these activities contributed towards boosting their self-confidence that actually helped them interact with each other better during the workshop.
The 3-day workshop in Gelephu ended today graced by the Director General of DYS, MoE. In total, 44 youth (24 girls and 20 boys) attended this workshop. This entire program was supported by UNICEF .