Message from the President

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am happy to see all of you here to help us celebrate Tarayana’s 16th Birthday. It has been the most rewarding journey so far. The collective effort to build more resilient communities, through our mission of empowering grassroots, continues to gain momentum. Your support is the ‘wind beneath our sails’ as we respond to the changing needs and aspirations of our rural communities.

Bhutan has been on the path of extraordinary growth and progress over the past six decades. The once unconnected, scattered, remote villages, that took us many days, of hard trek to reach, have been mostly connected by farm roads. Improved mobile service coverage has brought about better connectivity and a sense of renewed community.

These are exciting times as the government brings greater fiscal decentralization with the implementation of the 12th Five Year Plan. This also means added responsibility and accountability to local government and to the rural communities. Mobilizing and empowering grassroots is most relevant today as it can contribute towards the successful implementation of planned initiatives.

We in Bhutan, are most fortunate, to have the wise and compassionate counsel of His Majesty The King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and the political will of the government headed by the Prime Minister and the elected Parliament, in progressively focusing on people-centered development as a means to achieve happiness and well-being for all. We are indeed blessed, and this blessing is palpable in the improvements made on all development indicators, both in measurable indices as well as those that cannot be measured.

The time of our Annual Fair gives us the break needed to reflect on our progress and also prepare for the years ahead. As we take stock of the changing priorities of the rural communities, we realize that we are well into the third generation of socio-economic issues. We have transitioned from individual household level requirements to the broader community level, to now look beyond their respective communities.

Most of the communities are better prepared to engage with governments and donors in implementing projects where they have given their input. Many of the self-help groups have matured and they understand fiscal discipline. They now need support in scaling what they do and better market access for their products. They have also been sensitized in rights and responsibilities enshrined in the constitution.

Tarayana’s focus on improving food and nutrition security at the household and community level in some of the remotest corners of the country is slowly bearing fruit.

I am happy to share that the growth and dynamism in rural areas have enticed many youth to come back to the villages. The presence of the improved housing, telecommunication coverage, electricity, piped water and basic sanitation facilities, played an important part in reversing rural urban migration. Farmers and youth entrepreneurs are now better-informed and connected to markets, prices and other opportunities, than at any time in the past.

Tarayana will continue to facilitate in the rural areas and create synergies wherever possible, to ensure that communities are conversant in land, water and waste management, food and nutrition security, effects of climate change and suitable mitigation measures, as well as coping mechanism.

There is further need to engage with our youth so that their attitude to work and life is positive. Bhutan is a small country and often, the use of actual numbers may be more relevant in understanding both issues as well as opportunities.

Transformative change happens when people are motivated, valued and connected within a people centered development framework. Once the change is initiated it expands ensuing positive results of improved quality of life which brings much satisfaction.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all our Donors, Government Agencies, Volunteers, Sponsors and Friends for the unstinted support in helping the rural communities help themselves. Once again, I thank you, for your continued support and goodwill.

TASHI DELEK!

Her Majesty The Queen Mother Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck

Founder and President

(Delivered on 3rd May 2019, during the 16th Annual Tarayana Fair)