Two reasons why I stopped Blogging

I started blogging back in September 2007 with Blogspot and abandoned my blog since September last year. There are  two simple reasons why I stopped. In this post, I will explore those two reasons and end with a call for your help to hold me accountable.

1. Lazy: I have this not ‘so unique‘ and proud characteristic. Well, mostly, I’m super lazy and don’t have the energy to do things and if that is the thing with writing and reading, it grows exponentially.


via GIPHY

2. Lack of Content: This can be best described as my desire to start a perfectly readable and highly ‘intellectual‘ blog. This search has cost me almost a decade and I’m sure I won’t find that ‘ideal content‘ I’m striving for.

via GIPHY

Moral of the Story

The best day for me to start that ‘amazing content’ was either Nine years back or it is today!

Call for Help

Over the last 2 years, one thing that has worked for me in my academic and professional life is the concept of “Accountability Partner/s”. This is a very simple concept, it is a group of friends with whom I share my goals and in turn, they ask me questions to hold me accountable. Simple! isn’t it?

While some gentlemen like Derek Silver suggest us to keep our goals to ourselves, but don’t worry there are ample published studies and articles that back my line of thought as well.

I am calling for your help to hold me accountable and continue blogging. Trust me, I have a lot of stories to share!

If you want to hold me accountable, let me know below.

Email Address *



 

Female Youth Literacy Rate in ASEAN Member Nations (1979-2013)

Finally got a free day to work on some interesting info again. This time I was curious to know the Female Youth Literacy Rate in ASEAN Member Nations. With a few clicks, i could easily export data from The World Bank’s data repository.

Youth (15-24) literacy rate (%). Female is the number of females age 15 to 24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on their everyday life, divided by the female population in that age group. Generally, ‘literacy’ also encompasses ‘numeracy’, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations. – The World Bank

The data wasn’t available for all the countries for the same interval of time. Out of 9 ASEAN member nations, SIngapore has the highest youth female literacy rate (99.88% in 2013) while Lao PDR had the least (78.74 in 2005). The situation might have improved in Lao as the data is a decade old.

While 7 member nations – Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines enjoy more than 95% female youth literacy rate, 2 member nations – Lao PDR and Cambodia have less than 90% youth female literacy rate.

Any organizations working in the development of young women in the region can focus more on strengthening young women from Lao PDR and Cambodia.

I will come up with the male and female comparison in my next blog post.

(Please excuse me for the poorly embedded chart below. I am trying to fix this.)

2012 Human Freedom Index and Sub-Indices


I have decided to create one more data visualization using the data published in the latest Human Freedom Index report.  Human Freedom Index, by Ian Vásquez and Tanja Porčnik is Co-published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany.

You can grab a copy of the report from this link

The Human Freedom Index (HFI) claims to be the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries. The HFI covers 152 countries for 2012, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available.

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents more freedom, the nonweighted average rating for 152 countries in 2012 was 6.96.

In terms of Freedom Index and Personal Freedom , Nepal ranks second to India in South Asian region among five reported countries – India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Freedom Index of Nepal is 6.10 while India stands at 6.93, Sri Lanka (6.16), Bangladesh (5.82) and Pakistan (5.41).

Sri Lanka tops the race in Economic Freedom Index followed by India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. It is interesting to notice that Nepal ranks lowest among five South Asian Nations when it comes to Economic Freedom.

The top 10 jurisdictions in order were Hong Kong, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. The United States is ranked in 20th place. Other countries rank as follows: Germany (12), Chile (18), Japan (28), France (33), Singapore (43), South Africa (70), India (75), Brazil (82), Russia (111), China (132), Nigeria (139), Saudi Arabia (141), Venezuela (144), Zimbabwe (149), and Iran (152).

Out of 17 regions, the highest levels of freedom are in Northern Europe, North America (Canada and the United States), and Western Europe. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. Women’s freedoms, as measured by five relevant indicators in the index, are most protected in Europe and North America and least protected in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher per capita income ($30,006) than those in other quartiles; the per capita income in the least-free quartile is $2,615. The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy. Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard.

The findings in the HFI suggest that freedom plays an important role in human well-being, and they offer opportunities for further research into the complex ways in which freedom influences, and can be influenced by, political regimes, economic development, and the whole range of indicators of human well-being.

Please excuse me for this poorly embedded document. You can play with it more conveniently from this link.

Heatmap of NGOs in Nepal

I spend this weekend to create heatmap of NGOs affiliated with Social Welfare Council in Nepal between 2034-70 BS. I used the data from Social Welfare Council of Nepal. I wanted to see the concentration of these organizations in the map of Nepal and the result was surprising. Some insights:

  • Largest number of NGOs are registered in Kathmandu District (12,048)
  • Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur) alone account for 39% (14,627) of total NGOs
  • Top 3 districts with NGOs: Kathmandu (12,408), Lalitpur (2123) and Dhanusa (913)
  • Bottom 3 districts: Manang (14), Mustang (32) and Sankhuwasabha (62)

The heatmap looks as below. You can play with the interactive map and download the data by following this link.

Heatmap of NGOs

Alternatively, you can click on each district or filter by district to get the number of NGOs from below:

NGO Registration Trend in Nepal

I am preparing for my plenary presentation to be delivered at the College of Law at Nihon University during the 9th ISTR Asia Pacific Conference. One of the statistics that I needed for the presentation was the number of Registered NGOs in Nepal. So, I quickly browsed the site of Social Welfare Council of Nepal to get the number. Though the stats hasn’t been updated since last 2 years, yet, it had some meaningful data.

I spend my weekend to work on the data and observe the trend of NGO registration in Nepal. Some quick info:

  • Massive growth of NGOs after 1990 (advent of democracy)
  • Declined during 2000 until 2004
  • Peak number of NGOs registered during 2006-2007
  • Largest sector of NGOs working in the community development while least working on HIV and AIDS

World Bank Live: Google Hangout: Coding Your Way to Opportunity

Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Time: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. ET (11:00 – 12:00 GMT or convert time)
Location: Online 

On June 4th, join a panel of tech and youth leaders from Sri Lanka and Nepal to discuss how young people can code their way to opportunity in South Asia. In this live Google Hangout. the panel will also take questions about the World Bank – Microsoft regional grant competition “Coding Your Way to Opportunity“.
Last month, the World Bank and Microsoft launched a call for proposals for a South Asia Regional Grant Competition titled: “Coding Your Way to Opportunity” in Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The regional grant competition invites youth-led initiatives and organizations to showcase fresh, innovative ideas that bridge the existing coding gap in South Asia between those who have access to the gaining skills they need to be successful and those who do not. Learning to code can propel job creation and development, and boost shared prosperity In South Asia and other regions, coding and computing have become essential and desirable job skills. Jointly implemented by the World Bank and Microsoft, the competition aims to enable youth to expand coding knowledge amongst their peers, in turn helping them secure gainful employment.
The program will be organized in four South Asian countries – Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Each country will win one grant of at least US $10,000 to carry out an innovative project, one year in duration.
(This article originally appeared in World Bank Live)

Radio Interview in “The Human Face”

On August 6, 2013, I was invited to share my opinion on challenges of running a youth organization. The program was aired live on Citizens FM.

Here is what they wrote:

Last Wednesday on The Human Face, we had a energetic and vibrant guest Mr. Dipendra K.C to talk on the issue of “youth”.

Mr. K.C is president and cofounder of an youth led organisation ” YUWA“which has been currently working on 4 thematic areas:
1. Active Citizenship
2. HIV/AIDS ; Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights 
3. Global Information Access
4. Economic Initiation & Innovation

Mr. Dipendra K.C defines youth as change agent who are the PRESENT of any nation and also the FUTURE. He considers youth organizations as an open platform for the youngsters, where they can experiment on their dreams and determination. “Strong team work, good vision, networking and determination can make any young team reach a success”, says Mr. K.C.
http://www.saathnepal.org/2013/08/08/the-human-face-with-dipendra-k-c/#.Uou4O8RmiFw

Lessons from Lanka

Dial 1919 from a telephone in Sri Lanka and you can get information on 77 different government bodies in three major languages of the country—Sinhala, Tamil, and English. In Sri Lanka, a range of ICT facilities have been introduced to strengthen information management in governance, education, healthcare, industry, agriculture, fisheries, social security and judicial systems, especially at the grassroots level.

The institutional mechanisms of Sri Lanka have been altered for rapid development of society using ICT. Since 2005, the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has provided leadership in the application of ICT. Its “e-Sri Lanka” program has achieved major economic, developmental, and social improvements. 

In 2010, the government set up a separate Ministry for Information & Communication Technology to strengthen ICT leadership, advance the sector, and collaborate with other stakeholders. The country’s national broadband policy aims at narrowing down the digital divide by implementing an island-wide national backbone network that provides low cost and high-speed connectivity through competition among Internet service providers.

According to ICTA, the ICT literacy rate in Sri Lanka has grown from approximately 5 percent in 2004 to almost 40 percent in 2012. The target is 75 percent by 2015. Cellular phone penetration stands at over 100 percent, and broadband technologies are increasingly available in rural areas.
The rural telecenter network, or the “Nenasala” Centers (“Wisdom outlets” program), provide an important opportunity for rural population to learn. They promote partnerships among government and private organizations, individual entrepreneurs and civil society organizations to create a knowledgeable society. The Ministry of Technology & Research also operates another island-wide network named “Vidatha.” These multi service centers promote access to scientific and technological applications, including ICT, to rural communities.


apt.int

One of the telecenters established in the periphery of a temple at Udubaddawa of Kurunegala district provides a wide range of facilities. This telecenter primarily focuses on improving local people’s English language and computer skills. During their leisure, young college students take regular English courses and Diplomas in computer courses at the center at subsidized rates. It currently provides a six-month long computer Diploma course. Students can sit for a standardized test after the completion of the course, and can acquire the certificate at a low cost. 

The ICT Center not only serves as a learning center but also acts as a business unit. People can pay their utility bills and access internet facility at a nominal cost. It also serves as a coordinating agency for other distance learning units scattered over small villages where young kids are taught English by local teachers. Sometimes, religious centers are used as learning centers, which attracts a lot of people. 

Today, more than 300 IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies operate in Sri Lanka, serviced by a workforce of over 60,000, and generating US $400 million in exports. Sri Lanka expects to create a 100,000-strong workforce in the ICT sector in the next four to five years.

According to Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), in March 15, 2013, telephone penetration in Nepal had reached 73.88 percent, and internet penetration had reached more than 23 percent. More than 90 percent of them use mobile devices to connect to the internet.

This indicates growing demand for technological knowledge and tools among the general public, a hopeful sign for a country situated next to technological giants like India and China. 

The question is: Have we adapted to this need? The answer, in the existing investment scenario and government IT policy, is a bold “NO”. The creation of ICT centers in rural Nepal is the need of the hour. There have been some efforts to create similar centers, but they have not been very successful in generating results because of the absence of strong policy backing and lack of understanding of the needs of local people.

No rural Nepali will reject the opportunity to learn computer skills and English language, if the lessons are available at a reasonable rate at their doorsteps. In this connection, ICT centers with physical resources should be started, through which people can learn computer skills and access the Internet. The telecommunication companies of Nepal should also think of joining hands with the government and social organizations to create a technologically sound workforce.

People are charged for free passport forms, migrant workers are cheated with fake airline tickets, farmers are paid low price for their products by middlemen. Many of these problems, as well as many other social problems, can be easily addressed by incorporating technology in daily life. 
The growth achieved by Sri Lanka in last 7-8 years is replicable, but only given strong political will. Both top-down and bottom-up approaches are needed to institutionalize technological growth and bring about desired social change. 

The author recently won South Asia Regional Grant Competition on ICT and Youth jointly organized by The World Bank and Microsoft® in Colombo, Sri Lanka
dipendra@YUWA.org.np

Republica