26 representatives from Civil Society Organizations underwent a training workshop on the theme “Civil Society engagement in taking the Agenda 2030 forward in Bhutan”. The workshop aimed at familiarizing CSOs with the SDGs and enable them to assess their own contributions towards the goals and initiate a coalition towards monitoring & reporting. The 4 days workshop was organized by Helvetas Bhutan in coordination with Asia Development Alliance, a Forus member.

This four day training was provided to the Bhutanese CSOs following an invite from Helvetas  Bhutan to share ADA’s experiences on training and capacity building on Sustainable Development Goals. We started off by providing the background of the SDGs using story telling exercise to further enable the participants contextualizing SDGs in the form of story. 

The participants were introduced to various thematic interlinkages (SDGs) , nexus approach, where the participants were deliberated on Follow up and review (FuR) mechanism at national, regional and global levels and the role of CSOs in engaging with their respective government through voluntary national review (VNR) at the national level,  and the existing mechanisms in Asia (Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development  (APFSD) and the role of UN institutions like UN ESCAP, UNDP) and High Level political forum (HLPF) and linking other existing mechanisms like G20 with SDGs at the global level. 

At the end of the training program, the participants did the strategic action planning (SAP) in their respective groups. This exercise aimed at planning and positioning their own organisation’s strategy in the coming months apart from their role and engagement in the national process and linking both. The SAP will also be used as a follow-up mechanism not only to the training but also a more visible action plan for each individual and organisation.

The participants could understand the linkages between various themes of SDGs that further helped them contextualize their work and understood the human right element in each goal.
They felt confident writing the CSO/shadow/parallel reports to highlight the gaps and challenges in the SDGs implementation/monitoring and review and present the same to the government and further advocacy
Going out of the ‘comfort’ zone to debate and discuss the issues which is not part of the regular job, through peer learning 
The participants felt confident of engaging at the national SDG’s implementation, monitoring mechanism and being the trainers to the people back to their respective constituencies.

One of them narrated, ‘earlier we would not understand a word on SDGs during the meetings with government or INGOs and after this, we will be able to discuss with them with greater confidence and know how on the subject and interact with our communities”.