Empowering women educators in Bhutan

10 Jan 2022

WoGIT testimonial 1

This piece is part of a series of reflective blogs written by women from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan who attended SERVIR-HKH’s trainings on GIT specifically for women. A larger piece on the trainings can be found here.

I was fortunate to be part of a group of 51 young, academically sound Bhutanese women for a first-of-its-kind training on empowering women in GIT. The entire training was enriching as it provided participants with theoretical knowledge as well as hands-on experiences on open-source Earth observation (EO) and geospatial information technology (GIT) tools and data, and their use in natural resource management, landscape mapping and forest cover change analysis, drought monitoring etc. Over the four-day training, we pondered over how such technologies can be used to quantify and investigate pressing issues like glacial melt and water shortages, which have been further compounded by climate change. Despite facing some technical glitches while organizing the training virtually, I very much appreciate the organizer’s prompt response in ensuring that all training materials were accessible through various platforms.

Overall, the training was well structured and organized, and a very productive use of my time during our mid-term vacation. I personally found working with satellite data and its interpretation and analysis the most exciting topic as it is very much relevant to my profession and will help me to further connect space to village. For a secondary school teacher like me, this training will help me better understand EO and GIT concepts, which will prove useful while teaching geography in our school curriculum. It has deeply inspired me to share knowledge with Bhutan’s future generations.

As I joined other women with diverse academic backgrounds in forestry, mining, hydrology, education, and engineering, it opened up a space for multidisciplinary discussions around pressing environmental concerns specific to Bhutan. This also allowed professional networking among women from diverse professions.

Students learning QGIS
Students learning QGIS at Shaba Higher Secondary School’s lab (Photo: Choki Wangmo, Shaba Higher Secondary School School

Bottom–up approaches usually have a greater impact on society. Capacity-building programmes focusing on empowering women will help sensitize societies and nations, thereby bridging the gender gap in the GIT field.

This training event also opens up avenues for collaborations between ICIMOD and Bhutan’s Ministry of Education and Department of Curriculum and Professional Development (DCPD). The DCPD is strengthening blended learning and flipping classrooms with multimedia, digital pedagogies, ICT devices, and online learning websites. The department is at an early stage of embedding EO and GIT into Bhutan’s school curriculum and seeks ICIMOD’s support in enriching Bhutan’s school curriculum and in building the capacity of schoolteachers.

I believe that by making such training available to more women educationists in Bhutan, we will be able to introduce such concepts in Bhutan’s education sector, leading to greater impact on individuals and subsequently on institutional capacity building and motivating many more in the community to capitalize on the opportunities extended by EO and GIT.


Choki Wangmo

Choki Wangmo