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News & Blog > Blogs: "Perspectives, Provocations & Initiatives" > Alumni in Bhutan debut documentary on Domestic Violence

Alumni in Bhutan debut documentary on Domestic Violence

A documentary on gender based violence in Bhutan created by IDS and Chevening Alumni to be used in future sensitization efforts, from Project Gakyid (happiness).
Image: I-stock
Image: I-stock

Project Gakyid was the first project to be initiated by UK and Chevening Alumni in Bhutan with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom via the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund (CAPF) in 2019. The Project was named, ‘Gakyid’ which translates to ‘happiness’ in Dzongkha (Bhutan’s national language) to highlight the necessity of eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV), a transversal socio-economic and human rights violation, towards which targeted efforts are being made by the concerned agencies in Bhutan.

Despite commendable efforts and strides made, several cases continue to go unreported due to stigma, violence-accepting attitudes and misconception around the subject. In an effort to complement the work of organizations in the sector, the UK Alumni group produced an evidence-based documentary titled ‘Nang gi Taam- A Private Matter’ based on in-depth interviews with survivors. Given the vast nature of violence and the spaces in which it occurs, it focuses primarily on domestic violence. The 25-minute documentary is intended to sensitize viewers on the complexities, prevalence and prevention of domestic violence in our local context. It highlights the deeper consequences of violence including the negative impacts for survivors who experience it and for children who witness it as well as to national development as a whole.

The motivation for producing the documentary came from the fact that GBV was not explored in depth through such mediums in Bhutan prior to the project. The documentary film-making landscape was still in its nascent stages in the country and the alumni project team hoped that it could utilize and demonstrate the power of such genres as platforms in uncovering socially taboo and sensitive issues such as GBV, in an informative, relatable and interesting way.

By exploring and unpacking domestic violence in the Bhutanese context through stories of real survivors, the project aimed to put a face to the pervasive issue of abuse in a way that could resonate with a greater audience. It intended to bring the subject of domestic violence in the forefront to encourage those in situations of violence to recognize abuse and seek help; destigmatize survivors of abuse; and spark open discussion for greater understanding and awareness of violence.

As part of the Project, the team also coordinated a one- day event on the topic of ‘Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)’ in collaboration with local NGO, RENEW graced by HE Hon’ble Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji, MoLHR and the British High Commissioner to India, the Hon’ble Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG and a 150 participants comprising of Government officials, UN partners, CSOs, MSTF-CBSS members, teachers and students. The event was intended to premiere the documentary and sensitize the participants via a panel discussion among key stakeholders.

Following the end of the Project, the documentary was shared with relevant local agencies and service providers as a part of their regular, ongoing sensitization efforts to create awareness and inform the public of the pervasive issue of domestic violence.

Watch the documentary here. Please be aware that it covers distressing subject matters.

The project team included IDS Alumnae Yangchen Dolkar Dorjiof (MADev09) and Saldon Lhamo (MADev11) as well as other Chevening Alumni.

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