UNICEF in Bhutan
For over 70 years, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been the world’s leading child-rights organization and a respected partner-of-choice for saving and improving children’s lives in 190 countries and territories.
UNICEF’s work in Bhutan started in 1974 with support to the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation programme. Over time, our work has expanded to improve the lives of children, youth and women in other key programmatic areas.
Together with all our partners, we work to ensure that all children have access to education, health care, sanitation, clean water, protection and other services necessary for their survival, growth and development. We support service delivery and have a strong field presence. We also engage in policy work. Covering all the 20 dzongkhags, UNICEF works with the people at the grassroots level through which information collected on the ground is bought as a knowledge to the policy discussions.
Currently, UNICEF Bhutan works on key programme areas with strong focus on equity and inclusion. These include health, nutrition and sanitation; quality education and early childhood development; child protection and adolescent participation; social policy; emergency; planning, monitoring and evaluation, and communication for development.
Bhutan is a small, land-locked and mountainous country of about 750,000 people, bordering India and China. Bhutan has a very young population: more than half of Bhutanese are below 25 years of age. Bhutan’s development process is guided by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), a holistic approach emphasizing sustainability and human wellbeing. Despite the country’s rugged terrain and limited resources, Bhutan is progressing with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 .
Partnerships are critical to every aspect of UNICEF’s work in Bhutan. We continue to strengthen our many partnerships with the government, civil society organisations, media, youth network, parliamentarians, monastic institutions and nunneries. The emerging partnership with academia is instrumental to UNICEF’s ongoing shift into increased upstream policy work.