Youth Initiative for debate, deliberation and development is a Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy Project that was established in 2013. The credit for the idea of this organisation is attributed to Phub Dorji who, in 2011 while presenting about Youth rights voiced out concerns about the lack of Youth representation in national policy making. Still a high school student back then, the idea “would have gone like many others had BCMD not come to my rescue” (Phub’s speech at the CSO fair, 2013). Phub graduated high school from the esteemed Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School in 2012 and decided to take a gap year in 2013. It was in this year that he would work with Manny Fassihi and BCMD to make his idea a reality.
Manny Fassihi, an American and Stanford graduate started working with BCMD in 2011 (which was around the same time Phub got involved with the organisation); however his associations with Bhutan began as early as 2008. Manny and Phub’s friendship based around similar interests and football rivalry led to them meeting often for ‘hangouts’. During one of these rendezvous, Phub mentioned to Manny his idea of starting a Youth based organisation that would serve as a training platform for youth participation in national politics. This was the start of an association that would final lead to the formation of this organisation.
Manny presented the idea to his colleagues at BCMD and it was met with very positive responses especially from Aum Siok Sian Pek Dorji.
Under the wing of BCMD and Aum Pek, the team of Phub and Manny started working on how the organisation would work and function. As expected, the initial models that were discussed and suggested, aren’t the one that is currently in practice. During the initial stages, the group with Kencho Dorji and Sonam Yangden (GyG members) met with the Prime Minister during a “Meet the People” session. With advise from the PM that renewed motivation in the team, more work was done to further enhance and fine-tune the model for the organisation.
Every work that had been done by the team would serve as the base which, comments from further consultations (with other Steering Committee members) would improve to form the model that currently exists.