As a means to strengthen conservation interventions, RSPN has always given high priority to community involvement in conservation. In relation to this, RSPN has successfully instituted community groups like the Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC) and Phobjikha women’s group, mainly as a platform for local involvement in conservation. Over the years PEMC has grown and matured as a group and has been playing a significant role in bringing together the community and conservation interests. Black-necked Crane Festival is one example where the PEMC’s role as a committee has featured significantly. For the past few years, the committee has played a major role in organizing the festival and bringing together various section of the community like school and monk body to partake in the festival. The presence of a community-based entity such as PEMC has served as a community outreach for RSPN, enabling better understanding of community interests and perspective in conservation.
Similarly, formation of women’s group in Phobjikha is demonstrative of how a gender specific group can help strengthen community’s role in conservation. Women’s group in Phobjikha has been taking an important role in management of energy related programs like improved stoves and even organizing ecotourism services that may eventually lead to sustainable energy use and biodiversity conservation.
As a support to the group, community fund for both the PEMC and women’s group have been established. This has helped strengthen the group’s role and contribution to the community and environment.
Due to the successful experience in Phobjikha, similar group has been established in Kangpara, in the eastern part of Bhutan where RSPN has recently started working.