Around 25 Bhutanese officials will be sent to Japan in October this year for a leadership course in local governance.
Since 2003, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been sending local government officials to Japan for leadership training courses to help enhance good governance skills and practices.
“The Japanese government initiated this local government and decentralization phase as a pilot study for the first time in 2003,” said the Chief Program officer of JICA Bhutan, Kinley Dorji.
The first phase of the local government and decentralization project was organized in 2004. The course focused on the infrastructural development in local government. It included infrastructural development of gups’ offices, monetary support to gewogs, enhancing gup’s capacity and cash grants for the local procurements.
The second phase of the training saw capacity building of the central, district and local governments through training people on new government rules.
However, the third phase was the follow up to the first two phases. It was also merged with another project called “Young Leaders Training Program”.
“For every Japanese fiscal year (April till March), 15 Bhutanese from the local government were sent since the initial year,” said Miharu Furukawa of JICA.
Program officer, JICA Volunteer Program, Tshering Palden said from 2011 till May 2012, there were around 42 Bhutanese who went to Japan for local government training.
According to an official from Department of Local Government (DLG), such training was effective in terms of developing rural areas, community facilitation and in possessing hands-on skills.
In addition, the officials get to interact with people from foreign countries like Africa and Nepal during such exchanges.
Project Consultant with DLG, Rinchen Tshering stated that local government officials were sent for a month on field attachment in Japan to enhance their leadership capacity.
Just last week, officials from DLG and representatives from JICA went to Chhukha to sensitize the local gewog leaders on local governance.