Improving Bhutanese livelihoods by promoting traditional crafts and textiles
19 March 2014, Thimphu; To mark the joyful occasion of the International Day of Happiness, UNDP signed a new project on the promotion of Brand Bhutan today. The project document was signed between the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and UNDP Bhutan.
In his statement, Thinley Namgyel, Director of the GNHC said, “The project could not have come at a better time. It fits in very well with Bhutan’s current development agenda where the government is promoting cultural industries as a means to alleviate poverty by helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).” He further added that the project will benefit all craftsmen in Bhutan with new facilities made available through supply of raw materials; production capacity; effective marketing; quality and designing; and access to technical and financial support.
The project will be carried out by UNDP with the Ministry of Economic Affairs as the lead implementing partner. A total of USD 348,840 is allocated for 2014-2015 activities by the Japanese Government.
UNDP’s Hideko Hadzialic says, “This project is a solution to the recommendations of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (2012) and the National Export Strategy (2012), where handicraft and textile are identified as priority areas for job creation to improve the income of local producers and artisans.” Further reiterating that Brand Bhutan’s promotion requires public-private partnerships and more involvement of young people for increased production capacity, innovative marketing and sales at a larger scale. She continued, “Through this project, we would like more young people to get excited about textile and handicraft industries and proud of Bhutanese products and culture.”
The project “Scaling up of income generation through traditional crafts and textiles production and marketing”, is designed for rural artisans to generate income and come out of poverty. It will ensure that Brand Bhutan maintains authenticity of Bhutanese products by making accessible micro-grants, refinement of design and marketing of the products. The project will also enhance public private partnership both in and outside the country.
The overall project objective is to create income generation activities in both urban and rural areas to address underemployment and youth unemployment, a priority area for the 11th Five Year Plan of the Royal Government (July 2013 – June 2018), as well as in the UN Bhutan One Programme/UNDAF (2014 – 2018).
The project is expected to commence by March 2014.