Youth Initiative celebrates International Anti-Corruption Day
KATHMANDU, Dec 9: In spirit of curbing corruption in the country and celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day, Youth Initiative, a youth led organization, organized a one day event titled ‘Youth Advocacy for Accountability And Transparency (YAATra)’ on Sunday at Alfa Beta Complex in New Baneshwar, Kathmandu. The event gathered 30 young people from different academic disciplines to participate in a session comprised of brainstorming, group work, presentations and panel discussion on the issue of corruption.
After a brief brainstorming on governance, accountability and transparency, the participants moved on to delve deeper into five thematic areas related to anti-corruption and came up with analysis and potential solutions to the corruption issues in Nepal. Institutional good governance, political accountability, transparency and corruption, young people as a watch dog and media in social accountability were the five areas that were discussed in depth.
From the need of strict laws to the use of citizen journalism, the participants presented measures that can be put to effect to curb corruption. While pointing out the specific role that public organization, political parties and the media could play in taking the society to a zero corruption level, all the participants strongly voiced the important and indispensable part that youth, like themselves, played in this matter.
Photo: Bijay Gajmer/ Republica
The session was closed with a panel discussion with Dr Bhimarjun Acharya, Constitution Expert; Taranath Dahal, media activist from Freedom forum; Kamal Bahadur Thapa, Under Secretary with National Vigilance Center and Blair Glencorse, the Executive Director of Accountability Lab. The panel was moderated by Santosh Acharya, President of Youth Initiative Nepal.
“Although corruption can’t be totally fought through a single day, this day has generated a platform for discussing corruption,” said Thapa. Thapa, who has been in the field of media for the past 25 years, believes in action rather than discussions and motivated the participants to take their own steps, however seemingly small, to expose corrupt people and organizations in the society. To create a society that is highly intolerant towards corruption, Thapa said, “We must bring improvements in our own culture and to that, the strongest tool is any citizen’s Right to Information (RTI).”
One of the participants of the event, Ruja Luitel, a 22-year-old student at Central Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) in New Baneshwar, shared that her interest in this program was related to her profession. “I am a health student and will be working in public health institutions. I’ve read many reports about corruption in this sector. Hence, I wanted to learn more about how this sector can be made more transparent and accountable,” shared Luitel. She further added, “Through this platform, I have now learnt that contrary to the belief that only high level legal enforcement can curb corruption, even small initiatives from other members of the society can change the corrupt ways.”
Apart from the one-day session, Youth Initiative Nepal has also organized a five day ‘Street Bahas’ campaign through which volunteers reached four different venues; Baneshwar, Ratnapark, Basantapur and Patan Durbar Square, to interact with the locals on anti-corruption.
“We talked to the local people on a very grass root level and generate discourse amongst them on how corruption can be minimized,” said Parash Acharya, Executive Director of Youth Initiative Nepal. The organization has been campaigning against corruption for four years now, informed Acharya.