Kathmandu, April 18, 2017: The Magsaysay award winner and the founder of National Innovation Center of Nepal Mahabir Pun has said that to enable Nepal to be an economically developed country, it is a must to keep its most talented people in the country itself to build it. Presenting a keynote speech at the inaugural Opportunity Nepal (ON) Collaboration Forum, Pun said that if the government fails, then we, the citizens of Nepal must do it ourselves.
The forum had brought together over sixty of Nepal’s leading change agents including Dr. Mahabir Pun, Aishwarya Rani Singh, President of Women Lead Nepal, Nandita Baruah, The Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative in Nepal, and Ashok Raj Pandey, 20 years-old Founder of Hamro Doctor (Nepal’s first healthcare App), among others.
The programme saw a full day of expert panel discussions, a technology demonstration, and four participatory think-tank sessions to discuss challenges, opportunities around the program’s four ‘pillars of social change’. The sessions discussed how are women driving Nepal’s future, how to promote jobs & food security from farm to factory, collection and sharing of data from ‘community to cloud’, and social inclusion. Throughout the dialogues, there was an implicit consensus that it’s time for the citizens of Nepal to create its future.
On the occasion, Country Director of the Asia Foundation, Nandita Baruah who’s worked in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal with numerous organizations working for gender equity and anti-trafficking mentioned that we don’t need to teach people of Nepal resilience. “Instead, these people have proven to be among the most resilient on earth,” she remarked.
Similarly, Melanie St. James, Chief Inspiration Officer of Empowerment WORKS mentioned that while there were many efforts and expectations to have leaders of government and foreign aid in the spotlight, in the end, it was the passion of youth leaders such as Ashok & Suraj Raj Pandey that is making a real impact.
To bring the mental capital of the forum into action, the host organization, Empowerment WORKS is launching an innovative, ICT-driven youth leadership initiative this week for young women social entrepreneurs (18-25). The year-long experiential leadership course, Catalyst Action Training (CAT) builds upon Empowerment WORKS’ flagship 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) curriculum.