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Bhutan's Gross National Happiness & volunteering
26 October 2006, 15:11
by Junko Taguchi

This year, we started discussing it with other volunteer-involving organization (VIOs) including individual members, namely the Volunteers in Bhutan (VIB) in June.

This year’s IVD we will be holding an IVD Forum inviting high ranking officials to gain recognition from them, returned Bhutanese UNV volunteers to start networking and share experiences abroad, and winners of the essay contest.

The essay contest on the theme “How can you contribute to Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a volunteer?” was organized. GNH is the Bhutanese development philosophy that aligns well with the concept of poverty reduction and eliminating inequalities.

Divided into four age categories, some 80 entries were received by early October and more will be expected to enter. The best and runner-up entries will be selected. The winners will be invited to the IVD Forum to present their views on volunteerism. This sharing aims to provide the society clear visions of existing Bhutanese volunteerism culture and enable communities to recognize those who are engaged in volunteering in their communities. It will also enhance individual concerns towards their own communities and consequently will lead to the nation’s development.

The forum will be followed by a study tour for the essay winners. This will provide them an opportunity to visit some project sites, which have been implemented by the volunteers of VIB member organizations, to discuss issues and to exchange ideas & experiences.

With regard to “IYV 5 years on”, we will review which activities have been done over the past five years and seek the opinion of the Secretary of Royal Civil Service Commission, the key government body on volunteerism.