AI Insights

From Ideas to Impact: How Bhutan is Leveraging AI for Social Good Through Grassroots AI

October 31, 2023

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This blog post highlights the collaboration between the Department of Innovation & Technology (InnoTech), Druk Holding & Investments (DHI), and Omdena in Bhutan. The partnership focuses on leveraging AI for social good and driving positive change through Grassroots AI initiatives.


Duration Team Outcomes
5 months, March 2023 – August 2023 600+ collaborators from Bhutan and over 20 countries Multiple deployed AI tools, 100+ Bhutanese citizens upskilled on AI


In an ever-evolving world driven by technological advancements, partnerships between governments and organizations are crucial for driving positive change and fostering innovation. A prime example of such collaboration is the Department of Innovation & Technology (InnoTech) under Druk Holding & Investments (DHI), in conjunction with Omdena. Together, we have harnessed the power of AI to address critical challenges and empower local communities. Through our joint efforts, this partnership has successfully nurtured a new generation of local AI leaders in Bhutan, resulting in transformative outcomes with far-reaching implications. In this blog post, we will highlight the major milestones of this extraordinary collaboration.

Omdena Academy: Unlocking AI Skills for Bhutanese Participants with Real-World AI Courses 

In a collaborative effort, our partnership brought forth comprehensive data science courses tailored to empower 50 enthusiastic participants from Bhutan. These courses offered a unique opportunity to acquire hands-on expertise in the realms of data analysis, machine learning, and data visualization. Through immersive projects and expert guidance, participants refined their skills while gaining profound insights into the core principles, tools, and techniques of artificial intelligence. This transformative program culminated with 45 participants successfully graduating, showcasing their unwavering dedication and thirst for knowledge.

Bhutan Training

Bhutan Training

AI for Social Impact Ideathon: Fostering Community-Driven Innovation and Transformative Ideas

The Ideathon held by the partnership served as a platform for participants to submit innovative ideas that could address the real-world challenges of the local community. Among the impressive entries, five ideas were selected for further consideration. The winning idea, “Digitizing Bhutanese Documents and Books for Accessibility With Machine Translation and NLP” demonstrated the potential to transform accessibility through advanced technologies. This idea laid the foundation for a transformational project aimed at making valuable knowledge more accessible.

Omdena AI Innovation Challenge: Advancing Accessibility and Cultural Preservation in Bhutan

The partnership’s Omdena AI Innovation Challenge focused on digitizing documents and books, leveraging machine translation and natural language processing techniques. Collaborators from Bhutan worked tirelessly, employing state-of-the-art algorithms and methodologies to digitize content for one of the world’s most unique languages. The result was a groundbreaking language translation system for Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language. This achievement not only enhanced accessibility but also has the potential to preserve Bhutan’s cultural heritage, ensuring that valuable resources could be accessed and appreciated by a wider audience.

MLOps Hybrid Course: Driving Operational Excellence in Machine Learning

Recognizing the significance of efficient machine learning operations (MLOps), the partnership conducted an intensive MLOps hybrid course. Led by experienced instructors, this program attracted 24 professionals from diverse backgrounds. Participants probed topics such as data preprocessing, model deployment, continuous integration, and monitoring of machine learning systems. Through theoretical lessons and hands-on projects, participants acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to drive operational excellence in managing machine learning workflows.

Bhutan On Site Training

Bhutan On Site Training

Omdena Thimphu, Bhutan Chapter: Safeguarding Natural Resources with AI

The Thimphu, Bhutan Chapter of the partnership undertook the development of an Automated Forest Fire Detection and Early Warning System using AI technology. By leveraging satellite imagery, ground-based sensors, and advanced algorithms, this initiative aimed to identify and provide early warnings of potential forest fires in real-time. The system’s analysis of smoke plumes, heat signatures, and vegetation changes achieved high accuracy in fire detection. This endeavor strengthened Bhutan’s ability to mitigate and respond effectively to forest fires, protecting precious natural resources and ensuring the safety of local communities.

Future Impact 

The Bhutan and Omdena Partnership exemplifies the power of collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing. By equipping participants with practical skills, fostering transformative ideas, advancing accessibility and cultural preservation, driving operational excellence in MLOps, and safeguarding natural resources with AI technology, this partnership has made a significant impact in Bhutan. It has empowered a new generation of local AI leaders and created a brighter future for Bhutan and beyond. Through their collective efforts, the partnership continues to drive technological progress and promote positive change in Bhutan, serving as an inspiration for future collaborations.

Related article: The Power of Grassroots AI Development

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