The Vision

The Samdrup Jongkhar Inititiative is a project of The Lhomon Society, a civil society organisation in Bhutan designed to foster genuine Gross National Happiness (GNH)-based development in harmony with government goals.

Initiated by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche as a potential model for the country, its purpose is to raise living standards in the South-Eastern district of Samdrup Jongkhar and beyond by:

  • establishing food security and self-sufficiency,
  • protecting and enhancing the natural environment,
  • strengthening communities,
  • stemming the rural-urban migration tide, and
  • fostering a cooperative, productive, entrepreneurial and self-reliant spirit.


The SJI launched with a three-day event from 18 to 20 December 2010, at the ChökyiGyatsoInstititute in Dewathang. Chief Guest Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan, delivered the keynote address, and resource experts Dr. Vandana Shiva, Bunker Roy, Jayakumar Chelaton and Shibu K. Nair gave presentations on organic farming, appropriate technology and zero-waste solutions during the course of the three days. About 500 SamdrupJongkhar residents that included the district’s most influential citizens, government officials, farmers and villagers attended the launch and actively participated in the discussion. The closing of the event saw a number of voluntary statements of commitment to SJI goals, denoting genuine enthusiasm for the initiative from the local population.

In the last five years, SJI has made significant progress in five key focus areas:

  1. Organic Agriculture;
  2. Appropriate Technology;
  3. Zero Waste;
  4. Youth Engagement.
  5. Lho Mon Education

Other areas of SJI activity include health, nutrition, sanitation, and more. Everything SJI does seek to empower local communities, enhance self-reliance, and foster citizen participation in decision-making.

We also emphasize strong, ongoing research and monitoring to create a sound evidence base in accord with local realities for all SJI activities,

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