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Child Well Being and Equity in Bhutan. Bhutan Team: Lham Dorji Alexandru Nartea, Sangay Dorji, Sonam Choki and Yangchen L.Thinley May 7-9, 2008, Kathmandu. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Introduction on Bhutan. Concepts and Methodology. Data Sources and Analysis. Communication & Advocacy.

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child well being and equity in bhutan

Child Well Being and Equity in Bhutan

Bhutan Team: Lham Dorji

Alexandru Nartea, Sangay Dorji, Sonam Choki and Yangchen L.Thinley

May 7-9, 2008, Kathmandu







Introduction on Bhutan

Concepts and Methodology

Data Sources and Analysis

Communication & Advocacy

Plan of Action

bhutan at glance
Bhutan at Glance
  • Population: 634982 ( M:333595, F:301387)
  • Population age structure: 0-14: 33.1%, 15-64: 62.3%, 65+: 4.7%, median age-22 years (source: NPHCB, 05)
  • Population by areas: Urban-30.9%, rural-69.1 %
  • Population density: 16 person/km.
  • Child dependency ratio:53.1%
  • Poverty rate: Overall: 23.8%, urban-1.7%, rural-30.9% (BLSS, 2007)
  • Literacy: literate-59.5%, illiterate-40.5%
  • Happiness: very happy-45.2%, happy-51.6%, not very happy-3.3%
bhutan at glance4
Bhutan at Glance
  • Inequality: top 20% of population consume 6.7 times more than to the poorest 20 % of the population.
  • Per capita consumption ( food requirement-2124K cal) plus non-food requirements.
  • Net-enrolment rate: at primary level (82 %).
  • 91% of the population have access to improved water sources.
  • Proportion of households with access to BHU – 99.2
  • Under-five mortality rates- 60/1000, infant mortality rate-40.1/1000, maternal mortality rate-215/100,000.
introduction contd
Introduction (contd.)
  • Gross National Happiness (many more dimensions than those associated with GDP, better quality of life, 4 pillars, attempt to use scientific approach, 9 domains).
  • Pro-poor public policy (rural development, decentralization, 24 % of total 9th FYP budget on social services, balanced regional development…)
  • Economic growth rate 7 % (PAA, 2002-05).
  • Bhutan and MDGs , SDGs & Vision 2020.

Creation of an enlightened society in which happiness and well-being of all people is the ultimate purpose of governance

why is gnh important
Why is GNH important?

1. Health Impacts:

  • Happy people live up to 7 years longer

2. Enterprise Impacts: creative economy a creator sector

  • Happy people may achieve personal development (Creativity, Novelty, Autonomy); Curiosity => Entrepreneurship & Creativity linked

3. Citizenship Impacts:

  • Happy people are more generous, altruistic and sociable.

4. Ecological Impacts:

- Happy, contended people may be less driven by incessant wants, leading to conservation instead of proliferate consumption

means and ends of gnh

Community Vitality





Lifestyle (Time Use)



(Living standard)




(Natural Systems)

Means and ends of GNH





GNH / Well-being


bhutanese constitution gnh
Bhutanese Constitution & GNH
  • The State shall strive to promote those circumstances that will enable the successful pursuit of GNH
  • The State shall promote:
    • sustainable development of a good and compassionate society rooted in Buddhist ethos and universal human values
    • minimize inequalities of income, concentration of wealth…
    • co-operation in community life and the integrity of the extended family.
  • The State shall guarantee
    • Extensive list of freedom and rights and liberties
    • Free education up to 10th standard
    • Free access to primary health care
    • right to employment
    • 60% forest coverage in perpetuity
gnh indicators
GNH Indicators

Status indicators: indicators designed to measures the specific dimensions which make up the GNH model (9 domains).

Demographic indicators : constitute an important set of indicators that will allow an analysis of the distribution of GNH dimensions across different social and demographic groups in the country, includes various age and gender groups, occupational and employment clusters, educational backgrounds, types of households, language groupings and Geographical areas.

Causal indicators: Factors which could affect the performance of the GNH status indicators. For instance, the general ratings of central government performance could be broken down into more specific components that would allow a more detailed analysis of factors and thereby affect the general governance performance ratings.

how happy are we
How happy are we? (%)

source: Richard Layard,2005 p.14




GNH in Policy Making

GNH Indicator / BDI

National index

Sectors INDICATORS / targets

Impact evaluation




poverty studies in bhutan
Poverty Studies in Bhutan
  • Child Poverty Studies in the ambit of overall poverty analysis.
  • No national agreement on a definitive set of poverty indicators (prior to 2000) and use of administrative data.
  • Pilot Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES 2000), Poverty Assessment Analysis (PAA 2000)and Urban Poverty Study (UPS 2000).
  • Poverty analysis 2004 (using MIHS 2003)
  • Bhutan Poverty Index (HPI) was presented (longevity, knowledge and decent standard of living (NHD 2005).
  • Bhutan Living Standard Report (BLSS 2003)
  • PAR 2007 (based on BLSS 2007).
context and relevance
Context and Relevance

Child Study

GNH Indicators and BDI

Linking Partners ( common framework)

10 FYP of Bhutan

study progress
Study Progress
  • Adjustment of conceptual framework with GNH Development Model (Locally relevant, globally comparable).
  • Literature review, data skimming and in-person preliminary interviews.
proposed institutional arrangement





Proposed Institutional Arrangement

Child Well Being and Equity Study

CBS, Lead Research Agency

Statistic Team

Focal Point

Support policy team

concepts and methodologies contd
Concepts and Methodologies (contd…)
  • Use UNICEF’s 2005 State of the World’s Children operational child poverty definition:

‘children living in poverty experience deprivation of the material, spiritual, and emotional resources needed to survive develop and thrive, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, achieve their full potential or participate as a full and equal members of society’ (Child Study Guide, pp.7).

  • The model B has seven dimensions: shelter, sanitation facilities, safe drinking water, information, food, education and health.
  • Model A -income measures of poverty, Bhutan has consumption measures.
  • Integration model ‘B’ and ‘C’-mixture of household-based 7 dimensions and child outcomes approach to fit into GNH Framework.
  • Qualitative (not purely quantitative, anthropological, cultural, historical…Prof. Fredick & Uni Wikan)
concept and methodologies
Concept and Methodologies
  • OPHI, 5 aspects of poverty (multiple-approach or missing dimension approach, based on Amartya’s capability approach: employment , empowerment, physical safety , the ability to go about without shame , psychological and subjective well being.
  • Working with OPHI, GPI, Sufficiency Economy-to construct GNH indicators.
  • Report simple, take into account other perspectives, some qualitative.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Evidence and analysis

Policy proposal


  • Casual analysis of child poverty (possibly analyze using Arvin Framework) with the child outcomes.
  • Starting point-UNICEF Policy and Statistical Templates and (additionally some descriptive analysis).
  • The proposed methodology (figure 2: Child Outcomes and the Policy Process: Components, Context and Actors, pp. 15)
  • Possibly borrow from Stokey and Zeckhauser’s model of policy analysis:
    • The analysis of casual factors.
    • Generate a wide range of policy alternatives using matrix display system.
    • Determine criteria or indicators for desirable child outcomes (cost effectiveness, equity, legality and political feasibility, etc).
    • Rank the alternatives in order of priority.
    • Choose the course of action like plan for action, monitoring system and design for policy evaluation.
data sources
Data Sources
  • Bhutan Living Standard Survey Data ( BLSS 2007).
  • National Population and Housing Census Data (NPHC 2005).
  • Annual Health Surveys (AHS).
  • Gross National Happiness Indicators Survey (CBS 2008).
policy sources
Policy Sources
  • The other sources of information would be as follows:
    • Bhutan Living Standard Report (NSB 2004).
    • Poverty Analysis Report (NSB 2003 &2007).
    • Draft 10th FYP Report (GNHC 2007).
    • Bhutan Vision 2020 (PCS)
    • MDGS Progress Report (DOP, 2005).
    • Bhutan MDGS : Needs Assessment and Costing Report for 2006-2012 ( PC 2007).
    • SDGS.
    • Bhutan National Human Development Report (MOF 2005).
    • Good Governance Plus Report (2005).
    • CEDAW Report of the Kingdom of Bhutan (2003).
    • Poverty Reduction Strategy Report (MOF,2004).
    • Rapid Rural Assessment of Rural Development (GNHC, 2007).
    • 9th FYP Document.
    • Education Sector Strategy: Realizing the Vision 2020 (MOE).
    • Gender Pilot Study Report.
    • UN Agencies Reports.
    • Donor Partners’ Reports.
    • Laws and Acts.
others sources
Others sources…
  • Stakeholder Interviews (Snow-ball techniques).
  • Focus group discussions.
  • Target-group Interviews.
  • Experiences of other countries with similar problems.
emerging problems
Emerging Problems
  • Rural-urban migration ( 42 %, under 18, male migrants, youth unemployment, farm sustainability).
  • Grade 7 dropout rate increasing.
  • Working children ( traditionally accepted).
perceived challenges
Perceived Challenges
  • Data gap
  • Time frame
communication and advocacy strategy

Workshop for the decision-makers and stakeholders.


Presentation in the 4th GNH International Conference, 2008, Bhutan.


Circulation of printed reports and media coverage (news papers).


Communication and Advocacy Strategy
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