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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$14.0 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$14.8 million


Australia and Bhutan have enjoyed a long and productive relationship, dating back to the early days of the Colombo Plan in the 1960s. Building the skills of the Bhutan workforce by supporting the private sector to improve economic growth and strengthening educational institutions remain priorities for Australia’s relationship with Bhutan.

In 2014-15, Australia will invest in Bhutan's education sector and help enhance gender equality. We will build a more skilled workforce by awarding 47 post-graduate Australia Awards Scholarships; supporting technical and vocational skills development; and supporting improvements to Bhutan’s public and private sector institutions. The Awards programme ensures Bhutanese recipients are better prepared to take up senior roles in the public and private sector, and that women have equal access to qualifications.

Children in long robes standing outside a building, which is sited on a steep hillside Students of a Bhutan primary school (credit: DFAT).

Australia will place volunteers in the critical areas of education and health. During 2014, the Bhutan Royal Institute of Management will continue to receive support to develop post-graduate courses in management and public administration. Direct partnerships between Bhutanese institutions and counterpart organisations in Australia are building the skills of staff and the institution as a whole.

Australia’s aid to the South Asia region will also help reduce intra-regional trade blockages for small businesses and women, and ensure better regional management of shared resources such as water and power which will also benefit Bhutan.

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results to June 2013

  • Provided 218 Bhutanese with Australia Awards for tertiary education in Australia since 2010.
  • Contributed to Gross Primary Enrolment Ratio rising to 117 per cent in 2010 (106 per cent in 2007), as well as improved gender parity, through our support to the World Food Programme.


  • Provide 46 Australia Awards to post-graduate students for long-term study in Australia in 2013.
  • Provide 7,200 students with two meals a day in 2013–14 through our support to the World Food Programme.
  • Support the Royal Institute of Management in Bhutan to develop in-country Masters programs accredited by Australian universities.
  • Provide support for up to 14 Australian Volunteers in Bhutan in sectors such as health and education in 2013–14.


Results to June 2013

  • Supported UNICEF to:
    • reconstruct sanitation facilities in 33 schools
    • reconstruct water supply schemes in 20 schools
    • reconstruct 13 community primary schools
    • provide associated maintenance and sanitation training, as well as emergency disaster
    • preparedness (162 principals and teachers trained) five districts affected by the 2009 earthquake.

Research overview

Research funded by Australian Aid targets some of South Asia’s most important development challenges. For more information about our research on the region, visit the South Asia research page.


heading foldWhy we give aid


Bhutan is a small, isolated and mountainous country in the eastern Himalayas, bordered on the north by China and on all other sides by India. About half of the country's people live in remote areas. As Bhutan continues its transition from monarchy to democracy and broadens its economic base, human resource development and access to education will become increasingly important.

Find out more about why we give aid to Bhutan


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia works in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan and trusted partners to build human resource capacity and strengthen educational institutions. A large part of Australia’s assistance to Bhutan is its long-running scholarships program.

Find out more about how we give aid to Bhutan


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014