To address the high youth unemployment rate that continues to straddle aspiring Bhutanese youth, YDF vigorously promotes skills development through training establishments like the Nazhoen Pelri Skills Training Centre, holistic community development projects like My Gakidh Village, and short term skills training in vocational trades and entrepreneurship.
The Nazhoen Pelri Skills and Training Centre (NSPTC)
The NSPTC was established in 2005 to create opportunities for vulnerable girls. Every year, thousands of students who have completed basic education (up to Grade 10) are looking for employment, some join state run vocational institutes but many end up with insecure futures. As of June 2010, over 90 girls from low socio-economic status backgrounds have graduated from the centre. Nearly all of the graduates have found gainful employment. Some of them are employed by organizations such as the Department of Adult and Higher Education as NFE instructors, NGOs and tailoring units, while few have started their own businesses.
The Bhutan Youth Development Fund helps the beneficiaries of this center establish community units, and encourages female enterprise and community development through the use of locally available raw materials. The curriculum prepares its participants to become entrepreneurs by offering training in small business development, production, marketing, and basic business accounting skills. Life skills training, extracurricular activities, sports and literary activities are also organized at the Centre.
- To promote income generation among young women through the provision of training in souvenir making.
- To encourage use of locally available materials.
- To promote community enterprises, especially in rural areas.
My Gakidh Village
My Gakidh Village is a joint initiative of Bhutan Youth Development Fund, Aide et Action International, and UNDP Bhutan, the first of its kind in Bhutan with the overall goal to curb rural-urban youth migration by providing sustainable livelihood skills and opportunities to unemployed youth within their own communities.
Within its first three years of the project duration, hundreds of youth across more than 20 villages in Toep Gewog, Punakha will participate in equitable, sustainable socio-economic development through community empowerment, employment and income generation opportunities.
The project focuses on three main areas, which are:
- Creating community-based eco-tourism and environmental conservation projects
- Reviving traditional arts and crafts through livelihood initiatives
- Providing IT literacy and livelihood skills development programs to 150 community youth
The initial funding of Nu. 8 million for the IT Literacy and Livelihood Skills area is being provided by Aide et Action International. Aide et Action International is a development organization founded in France and headquartered in Geneva, which funds and supports education projects in more than 28 countries across South East Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean.
With additional funding and technical support from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme in Bhutan, My Gakidh Village is developing and scaling ecotourism and environmental conservation projects alongside the livelihood initiatives for youth. These in turn will incentivize environmental conservation by empowering these rural communities to protect their forests and biodiversity for their own long-term livelihoods, especially through ecotourism and the sale of their crafts products to tourists. The communities will value preserving their natural environment and ecosystems because they see the economic benefits through ecotourism and become conscious of the need to sustain natural resources for the future.
Video on the Empowerment for Employment Program