Social Development Programme
Tarayana Foundation’s goals of contributing to a prosperous Bhutan have resulted in the facilitation of services and products/goods in the rural, remote and unreached parts of the country. The Foundation has worked to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities through several innovative social development programmes. These have largely been implemented through Tarayana’s field staff and a large number of volunteers, thus reflecting Bhutan’s spirit of service and volunteerism.
Social Development Programme is one of the major programmes of the Tarayana Foundation focusing on reducing vulnerabilities in critical areas such as housing, food security and nutrition,social inclusion, and green technologies in the remotest corners of Bhutan.
Climate & Disaster Resilient Housing Improvement Programme:The housing improvement programme is Tarayana’s flagship programme aimed at reducing vulnerabilities in the rural communities of Bhutan. Since the inception of the Foundation in 2003, new and improved shelters with home repair and renovations were facilitated through this programme in partnership with various organizations both from abroad and within the country. In order to reduce carbon footprint, these are constructed utilising 70% locally available materials and earthquake resilient techniques are incorporated in the construction process as the country is located in one of the most seismically active zones in the world. Till now, the Foundation has facilitated the construction of 2547 houses enabling thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged families to live dignified and stable lives and empowering them to seek opportunities for a better tomorrow. Additionally, more than 50,000 community members have been trained in construction skills such as carpentry, masonry, etc. enabling them to earn a livelihood through this programme.
In 2021, World Habitat, an international charity organization awarded the Silver Award to the Tarayana Foundation’s Integrated Community Development for Poverty Reduction programme with a particular focus on its housing programme.
Climate Resilient WASH Programme; Sanitation and Hygiene are a huge concern in rural communities due to the absence of toilets and plumbing services, water scarcity issues and lack of income among the community members. Since its establishment, the Foundation has constructed more than 1,171 pour flush toilets, including 69 water reservoir tanks and 75 water taps. These initiatives have played a crucial role in enhancing the overall well-being and hygiene of communities.
in rural communities to address this issue. Through this programme, feminine hygiene and reproductive health were also addressed resulting in increased attendance of girls in school and safety for pregnant women. Senior citizens and people living with disabilities had an easier time accessing the toilet facilities and the local health units reported decreased incidence of water-borne and skin diseases.
Nutrition and Food Security; this is an essential component of the holistic rural development model Tarayana promotes. Since the inception of the Foundation, the Field Officers have been providing necessary support, guidance, and facilitation in promoting backyard gardens for every household in the respective sites. This initiative complements the tremendous effort made by the Department of Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests to make the village’s food self-sufficient. Support is provided in inputs, capacity building, and market facilitation. COVID-19 provided opportunities for farmers to utilize their barren lands as the vegetables and fruits available in the country became scarce. The Foundation has conducted studies to determine the cause of undernutrition among pregnant women and under-five children, formulated programmas to address these based on the findings, and implemented them in target communities.
Promotion of homestead nutrition gardens is carried out in the rural villages through which farmers are supported with solar greenhouses, solar fencing to address human-wildlife conflict, and training on mulching, drip irrigation, vermicomposting, etc to add value. Farmers are supported with post-harvest activities such as food processing and where necessary, marketing support is also rendered.
Youth Empowerment Programme; The Tarayana Foundation provides professional development opportunities for post-graduates under its young professionals programme. This programme enables them to gain field experience and improve their prospects in the job market. The Foundation encourages youth to take up innovative community-based actions which will enhance the youth’s skills as well as promote civic engagement in the communities they live and work in.
Through its Tarayana School Clubs, the Foundation promotes the spirit of volunteerism in youths. Currently, there are 131 school clubs with 5260 members across Bhutan at all levels of educational institutions ranging from primary schools to colleges of education. The activities of the clubs are based on the needs in their communities; hospital visits for patients with family support, support for a senior citizen couple with house renovation, helping a single mother with paddy harvesting, etc.
The Foundation is also engaging with many rural youth in creating livelihood options through establishing small enterprises, supporting skills development and market facilitation. Some of the activities are Food processing, mushroom cultivation, vegetable production, Daphne paper production, clay pottery, hydroponic, cane and bamboo crafts production, and wood turning.
Tarayana’s impact extends beyond infrastructure to include socio-educational initiatives. The foundation has established 40 Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres, creating a foundation for children’s education and well-being.