Zhemgang Field Office in collaboration with the Bjoka Block RNR Extension Forest Office and Bjoka Bamboo Craft Cooperative Group organized three-day training on Technical Skills on Bamboo and Cane Products to the women members of Bjoka Bamboo Craft Cooperative Group from 11th March till 22nd March, 2014. It is a part of ADB funded project on “Improving Gender-Inclusive Access to Clean and Renewable Energy in Bhutan”.
The opening of the training was graced by Mr. Tshering Wangchuk, Bjoka Gup (Block Head). The main objectives of this training are to enhance energy-based livelihoods for rural women, and build capacities to improve local service delivery and strengthen the operational sustainability of local resources. And some of the specific objectives are:
The women participants were trained in for batches. As part of in-house training, the women participants were educated on importance of sustainable resource management for future generations, importance of bamboo to livelihoods and ecology, scope of income generation for better livelihoods, market potentials to sell the products with the connection of national highways, and potentials for using electric machines to increase the production and improvement in the quality of the products with the connection of grid-electricity through pictorial presentation by RSPN Zhemgang Field Coordinator.
As a practical training, the women participants were trained on splitting and drying of bamboo pieces to have better quality products, dying/colouring the split bamboo pieces to have brighter colours quality, making end-ring to have quality finish products, and weaving of new Bangchung (bamboo container) as part of product diversification. These practical trainings were provided by two local bamboo expert from the east (Kangpara, Trashigang District) targeted to improve the quality of final bamboo and cane products to earn more income to the households of Bjoka Block.
Outcomes: Women participants could understand the importance of sustainable management of bamboo and cane resources in the wild for their future generations. They could also learn the importance of maintaining quality products to earn more income for their better livelihoods. More importantly, the women could weave the new Bangchung (Bamboo Container) locally called “Sem-Rig Bangchung” at the end of the training day.
Challenges: Women turn-up for the training is 12% less than the targeted objective despite our constant request and publicity on benefits of the training. It was assumed that many women are engaged on household works and with mindset of local people that such trainings should be attended by men only. In addition, most of the members were illiterate, which made it very difficult to train in technical methods, and most of the women participants are shy and they hardly speak and share their views, traditional skills and knowledge.
The training was designed to allow maximum interaction and participation of trainees. The trainees were involved in most of the training sections to present their traditional knowledge to absorb introduced knowledge, to assess, and to make decisions. About 110 women attended the three days training.
Reported by: Tsheten Dorji, Field Coordonator, Zhemgang Field Office