5-11 September 2014 #723

Taking responsibility

Dayitwa: Nepal Public Service Fellowship producing a new generation of motivated change makers
Ayesha Shakya

Three out of five citizens in Nepal are aged below 30. It is this demographic that has been migrating en masse for employment, education, and better living standards abroad. Now, a group of young Nepalis worldwide are trying to reverse that trend with an initiative called Nepal ko Yuwa. Its Dayitwa: Nepal Public Service Fellowship has partnered 20 young individuals with CA members and public agencies for three months for its second edition.

“This is our attempt at producing a new generation of motivated change makers,” says Pukar Malla, secretary general of Nepal Ko Yuwa. ‘Dayitwa’ in Nepali means ‘responsibility’.

Abhinav Khanal, a 22-year-old student from Earlham College in USA was paired with MP Gagan Thapa as a legislative assistant. Khanal worked on Thapa’s campaign ‘Livable Kathmandu’, which works to manage Kathmandu Valley’s growth.

“I organised a debate competition for more than 100 youngsters to discuss Kathmandu’s problems and also propose a series of innovative solutions,” said Khanal. Topics like establishing a Bus Rapid Transit system in Kathmandu, and the necessity to privatise waste management were discussed. Khanal also created a web portal that allows the public to take part in the projec that aims to make Kathmandu more liveable.

Sabrina Singh, a senior at Swarthmore College in the US, was mentored by CA member Chitra Lekha Yadav and worked to assess women’s representation in the legislative parliament and the impact of the Proportional Representation system.

She initiated a project of gendered monitoring of the Constituent Assembly. The portal will disseminate direct voices of women CA members by showcasing their work, as well as trace bills in the parliament related to women and gender.

Sakar Pudasaini, founder of Karkhana, a think tank and education company in Kathmandu, focused on the issue of improving education through public private partnerships. He visited 10 of 26 schools in Gagan Thapa’s constituency and submitted a proposal to improve public education by strengthening management and changing teaching approaches.

“It’s very important to understand that part of innovating is to fail. If you try 10 different things, 8 will lead nowhere and only 2 may work out. We need to create more space for bureaucracy to work and for innovation to thrive,” says Pudasaini.

With the approval from Lava Deo Awasthi of the Department of Education and Gagan Thapa’s strong advocacy, this year’s budget made specific provisions for Public Private Partnerships in education.

Dayitwa fellows during the Dayitwa Symposium on August 22, 2014 at Shanker Hotel.

“The public is normally biased against CA members. We need to change this, so a credible partnership such as the Dayitwa Fellowship allows more people to get on board and work collectively towards the same goal,” said CA member Gagan Thapa.

This year, Nepal ko Yuwa partnered with seven public agencies: the Office of the President, Investment Board Nepal, Department of Education, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Other participants worked on topics like strengthening the role of the office of the president, mapping education trends, and improving Nepal’s economic diplomacy.

www.hamrodayitwa.org

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