Interview with Dasho Kado Zangpo

Director of the Department of Local Governance, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs

Interview with Dasho Kado Zangpo

Kado Zangpo is the Director of the Department of Local Governance under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. He graduated from Sherubtse College in Khanglung, Tashigang and pursued his masters from RMIT University in Melbourne. Throughout his career as a civil servant, he gained invaluable experience coordinating initiatives in 205 Gewogs, 16 Drungkhags and 20 Dzongkhags. He is also on the Trans Bhutan Trail (TBT) Steering Committee. Keep reading to learn more about Dasho Kado Zangpo’s involvement with the TBT.

Q: Tell me how you first got involved with Trans Bhutan Trail?

A: I first got involved with this project because TBT is a project which covers local government areas including 9 Dzongkhags, 28 Gewogs along over 430 km of the East-West trail. The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs is the custodian of local governments and since Trans Bhutan Trail (TBT) has to pass through the Gewogs and Dzongkhags, the Royal Secretariat office felt the need for the central coordinating agency’s involvement.

Q: What has surprised or made you interested in working with Trans Bhutan Trail?

A: After being invited to be a member of Steering Committee, I thought I could play some productive role in channeling our youths to take right direction through the Gyelsuung program. From the organizational point of view, all the local communities along the trail have a lot to learn and gain from this project. So, that really made me interested to be a part of TBT.

Q: What do you find most challenging about this project?

A: Since the trail passes through the fragile ecology of young Himalayan Mountains and slopes, I am worried about the frequent destruction of the trail during the monsoon by heavy rain falls and during winter snowfalls. Therefore the maintenance of the trail throughout the seasons and developing a weather proof trail would be huge challenge. I also feel it is quite challenging in terms of marketing the trail but I hope this project would work better if we have a separate body looking after it.

Q: Tell me about some of the people you have met while working with TBT and what was their opinion about the trail restoration?

A: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, I couldn’t meet many people. For those whom I have met, all of them are looking forward to walk on this trail when all the services which the TBT will be providing are ready. Most of them express interest to walk on this trail even if they cannot do the whole trail. They said they would love to do the short trails first and then eventually complete the rest.

Q: What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about this project?

A: In the long run, if we are able to maintain the trail, I see lots of benefits for the country in terms of knowing our history, knowing the kind and types of people living along the trail and the languages they speak, and experiencing the flora and fauna. The trail will also enable the walkers to experience the diversity of the culture and see variations in the stages of socio-economic development.

Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating and volunteering in this project?

A: I will always welcome those people who are willing to donate and volunteer in this project because indirectly or directly this will help the socio-economic development of the communities along the trail, promote culture, and preserve ecology.

Q: How do you think that Trans Bhutan Trail contribute or can bring a positive change to the society?

A: Globally, non-communicable disease is a burden and Bhutan is not an exception. The trail will promote hiking and walking. This behavioral change in the population would help build healthy habits that will hopefully prevent some non-communicable diseases. Such behavioral changes would help in reducing health expenses, which is especially important for Bhutan where health care is entirely financed by the state.