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Minor Projects

Apart from Sector Programmes, Danida has funded diverse projects with funds from the Local Grant Authority.Below are presented two such projects.

Kuensel Online

Kuensel started as a fortnightly news bulletin in the mid 1960s has been rapidly expanding both in frequency and volume. In order to meet its goal of increasing the frequency of the newspaper and available to a wider section of the society including increasingly computer literate Bhutanese society Denmark provided financial support of Nu.2.2 million to make Kuensel an Internet daily.

Through the project, www.kuenselonline.com has been established as a regular updated daily news site, including introduction of digital advertising and electronic archiving. Most importantly, www.kuenselonline.com has become the first free media in Bhutan, and there are vibrant discussions on current issues with participation of, among others, Bhutanese studying abroad as well as foreigners.

 

Documentation of the first National Elections, "Drukyul Decides".

One part of Danida’s support to the democratization process in Bhutan has been the support for the documentation of Bhutan’s first national election. One example is the support of the printing and publication of the book “Drukyul Decides – In the minds of Bhutan’s first voters” by Gyambo Sithey and Dr. Tandi Dorji that was published in 2009. Below you can read an excerpt from the preface of the book.

 
Preface

 
“If a generation is calculated to be 25 years, the story of the Kingdom of Bhutan spans four generations; a story, well-scripted to a glorious climax by the fourth king, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck. As the Kingdom celebrated 100 years of monarchy, the country became a democracy, with the king himself ushering in changes and discussing the draft Constitution with the people. The voter turn-out for the election to the National Assembly was a remarkable 79.3%. The voters included many 100-years olds and also students who turned 18 last year, making them the youngest voters.

At the time of publishing this book, Bhutan has already celebrated the first year of democratic governance. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, led by Lyonchen Jigme Y. Thinley, steers the direction of this country with the world’s smallest opposition party of just two members in parliament.

Writing this book has been challenging. A generally reluctant population was unwilling to speak their minds. Since the whole government machinery including the Election Commission of Bhutan was engrossed in running the elections to success, the need to document the other side of the voting fabric was not well attended to. Therefore it took a gruelling 14-months research, (April 2008-May2009) cross tabulating the data, talking, learning and writing, to come up with this work.