Chevening Alumni work to eliminate domestic violence in Bhutan

Gender based violence has never before been explored like this in Bhutan. We speak with Chevening Alumnus Yangchen Dolkar Dorji to find out more.

Despite commendable efforts, Bhutan is not exempt from gender-based violence. Many cases continue to go unreported due to stigma, violence-accepting attitudes, and misconception around the subject. We speak with Chevening Alumnus Yangchen Dolkar Dorji about his efforts to change this.

What is Project Gakyid?

Project Gakyid exists to support the elimination of gender-based violence by complementing and amplifying the work of other organizations tackling gender-based violence. It is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office via the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund (CAPF).

In 2020, we produced an evidence-based documentary titled ‘Nang gi Taam – a private matter’ based on in-depth interviews with domestic violence survivors.

The 25-minute documentary is intended to educate viewers on the complexities, prevalence, and prevention of domestic violence in our local context. It highlights the deeper consequences of violence on the lives of the women who experience it, the children who witness it, and Bhutan’s national development.

‘Gakyid’ translates to ‘happiness’ in Dzongkha (Bhutan’s national language), aptly named to highlight the necessity of eliminating gender-based violence to ensure the safety of women and children in Bhutan.

What has been the impact of Project Gakyid?

Gender based violence (GBV) has never before been explored like this in Bhutan. The documentary film-making landscape is still in its nascent stages in Bhutan, so we wanted to demonstrate the power of such genres as platforms in uncovering socially taboo and sensitive issues such as GBV, in an informative, relatable and interesting way.

By exploring and unpacking domestic violence in the Bhutanese context through stories of real survivors, we are putting a face to the pervasive issue of abuse in a way that will resonate with a larger audience. Our documentary has already:

  1. Encouraged those in situations of violence to recognize abuse and seek help
  2. Destigmatized survivors of abuse
  3. Sparked open discussion for greater understanding and awareness of violence.

As part of the project, we also coordinated a forum on the topic of ‘Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)’ in collaboration with local NGO, RENEW, to facilitate dialogue about GBV between key stakeholders and to premiere the documentary.

The documentary continues to be used by relevant local NGOs and service providers as a part of their regular, ongoing efforts to create awareness and inform the public of the pervasive issue of domestic violence.

Watch the documentary.

Please be aware that it covers distressing subject matters.

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