Bhutan is currently experiencing South Asia’s highest rate of urban population growth and rural to urban internal migration, which is at nearly double the rate of internal migration in neighboring India (“UNDP: Human Development Report 2009”). The Rural-urban migration is resulting in alarming environmental effects and threats, such as waste management challenges, air and water pollution, increasing loss of biological diversity, reduction of forest area, and degradation of ecosystem services. Given that over 50% of the total population is under the age of 25 years, rural-urban youth migration will continue to pose a serious threat to the long-term sustainability of Bhutan’s urban, rural, and natural environments.
In the year 2014, Aide et Action in partnership with Bhutan Youth Development Fund initiated My Gakidh Village, a bottom-up model integrating eco-friendly sustainable development with community needs. The project focused on curbing rural urban youth migration by providing livelihood skills and opportunities within their own communities.
The project has trained community members, especially youth on Home stay operations and local guiding. The project was successful in reviving the once defunct heritage trail of Lam Drukpa Kunley through installation of bridges, canopies, resting spots and railings along the trail from Dochula till Siluna. The trail is now operational and has been able to give employment to many youths to operate as trail guides and home stay organizers.
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