KATHMANDU, Feb 18: Fifteen youth from all over Nepal have found a common ground here in Kathmandu through a leadership platform called “Program on Promoting Dialogue for Nepal’s Peaceful Transformation and a Lasting Democracy.”
The weeklong event is being organized by the East West Center Fellows, State Alumni Team Members from Nepal, in association with Subaltern Forum, Asia Media Forum and Trinity International College.
Funded by the US State Department after the concept was chosen amongst 140 other international ideas, this intensive workshop started from February 16.
“This is a platform for youth to develop leadership and learn how to handle issues that are obstructing peace and democracy in Nepal,” explained Kamal Sigdel, an East West Center Alumni who is heading the organizing team of the workshop. “Participants will deal with various aspects, such as human rights, media, governance and their relationship with democracy,” he added.
The participants were chosen from some 200 applicants and priority was given to competent youth from rural areas, conflict victims and youth belonging to indigenous groups.
The workshop includes talks from experts, including Mukta Sing Tamang, Gauri Pradhan, Bhimarjun Acharya, and Akhilesh Upadhyaya. Participants will also get an opportunity to meet and interact with the current political leaders in our country as well as with non-political inspirational figures like Anuradha Koirala, Pushpa Basnet, and Dr Sanduk Ruit.
“On the first day, we learnt about issues such as human rights in Nepal and how to improve its situation. At the end of this workshop, all of us participants are required to choose a topic that’s relevant to our respective communities and create a 30-minute radio program,” shared Anita Sapkota, an 18-year-old from Kailali. Sapkota hosts a radio program back home and is also involved with Trace, an NGO, which provides skills and capacity development trainings to unemployed youth.
“Through the radio program, we’ll be sharing with our communities what we learnt in this workshop and create awareness about the important topic of democracy,” she added.
For 21-year-old Pratap Titung who is a conflict victim from Makwanpur, this workshop is a medium through which he can fulfill his aspirations of doing something substantial for other conflict victims like himself.
“Back home, people lack the ability to voice their thoughts and demand their rights. I want to change that,” puts in Titung who believes that it’s important for people to be able to stand up for themselves.
Although this workshop facilitates only 15 people in a span of seven days, the outcome of the workshop is targeting to reach all the youth of the country, says Sudip Ghimire, a 16-year-old from Palpa who is currently pursuing his studies in Kathmandu. Ghimire likes to call himself a youth activist and believes in the enormous transformative capacity in youths.
“Democracy is just a namesake in our country at the moment,” says Ghimire who, after participating in this workshop, wants to raise youth awareness and consciousness regarding issues of democracy in our country.
The participants at the workshop are not only building their personal capabilities but also building a network of such other capacitated and young people with whom they will work together, to hopefully attempt to establish long-lasting peace and democracy in Nepal.