Sherubtse College aims to uplift the rural poor

Sherubtse College under Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) will prepare a new module for all the colleges under RUB called environment, climate change and poverty mainstreaming (ECPM) module to uplift the rural poor.

The new module would most  likely be an awareness tool for fragile environment, which is vulnerable to climate change and to mainstream poverty policies.

An ECPM report stated that majority of rural population of Bhutan falls under national poverty line. And the main objective of this module is to familiarize learners with concepts and issues related to environment, climate change and poverty.

It will clarify the linkages between environment, climate change and poverty with an emphasis on poverty alleviation. It will further enhance the understanding and will contribute towards sound environmental policies favoring the rural poor.

The urban population is also not secured in terms of food consumption. In the midst of visible impacts of climate change and economic instability, making citizens aware of environment, climate change and poverty mainstreaming policies, plans and the programs in the country are essential.

Workable climate change adaptation strategies to the future citizens of the country can have huge impact on the living standard of the Bhutanese people.

Therefore Sherubtse College located at the heart of Eastern Dzongkhags, with over 1000 students and more than 100 faculty members considers the area to be appropriate for the interaction with local communities of the Eastern Bhutan, coincidentally majority of the population live under the national poverty line.

In addition the report states that poverty is mostly a rural phenomenon prevailing in Eastern region with few gewogs under extreme poverty.

Thus, after implementing ECPM concept in the modules, day-to-day activities of those rural communities can be studied and intervened.

The ECPM modules and other related activities would be offered to BA Economics and Environmental sciences, Geography and Planning, Population and Developmental studies and Life science programs.

“This core module for Environmental studies and would be implemented by June 2013,” said the Focal Person and the Lecturer of Sherubtse college, Phurpa.

According to the report the college has series of plans to develop the module and series of workshops and meetings would be organized for it.

The focal person said the faculties from various departments would be trained to handle the ECPM modules and broaden the horizon of knowledge.

They will visit and attend workshops, seminars, conferences related to environment and climate change and its impact on agriculture and poverty.

“The module is similar to research based studies so students would mainly go to the field and collect data on how poverty and environment is linked,” said the focal person.

Students will engage in field visits to poverty inflicted places and create awareness on the impacts of climate change on agricultural system practiced in rural areas. As per the report the students would explore options to combat these impacts and make a scientific report.

“Further, students can make climate change vulnerability assessment of the selected places and can make a comprehensive report to the policy makers,” said the focal person.

Soon the module would be offered to various ministries, agencies, Non- governmental organizations and to local communities.

The workshop is a part of Joint Support Programs funded by Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) under the Poverty Environment Initiative Programs organized by United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

It was attended by ECPM committee members, lecturers, subject specialist, Deans and Program leader of Environmental science.

The report stated that group of expert under this project was sent to attend 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change as self sponsored delegate from Bhutan.

The experiences and lessons learned on issues faced by countries all over the world is incorporated in this module.

The workshop was conducted on 17 September and ended yesterday.

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2 comments

  1. Awareness is not required in rural Bhutan coz our villagers they dont contributed to any factor governing climate change. And its good initiative…contributing while learning…

  2. Awareness to the villagers and a scientific report to the policy makers? Is it not what we have been doing till now. Well, let’s see how the ECPM can have a different impact.

    With an arable land coverage of 8-10%, extremely unfriendly terrain and human wild life conflicts, we are already losing a long-felt battle. Rapid rural-urban migration has added fuel to fire, we have more than 70% (a rough estimate) of our food imported from India and other countries and a private sector which thrives at the mercy of Indian industries.

    Its time to rethink and realign our agricultural policies and goals, a pristine environment and strong culture alone cannot make us retain our sovereignty. Sustainability and self- sufficiency will soon be accounted for by the global community and we must seriously start articulating our answers. I hope the ECPM will help add on to a national response. The world is watching and we must act now.

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