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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

Youths yearn for change of leadership

PRAVAT JUNG GURUNG

We complain and we argue that there’s nothing much youths can do until and unless they join mainstream politics. But even if we decide to join politics, reaching a position of influence isn´t easy as the older generation is not yet ready to cede the power. It’s a catch-22 situation for the younger generation and most of us have learnt to live with it.

A host of issues concerning younger generation in Nepal have not been addressed by the government. Unemployment, among all other problems, tops the list. Every single day, Nepal is losing its “working age” population to Gulf and other countries. Nothing is being done to tap the youthful energies without which development of a country is impossible. 

Implementation of the youth policy, introduced in 2010, has failed to remedy the situation and the youth today are seeking change of the leadership.

On democracy

“We can voice ourselves more openly now compared to the past and I think Maoists are to be credited for this change,” says Dipendra KC, 23, president of YUWA, a youth organization based in Kathmandu. 

He added that people are more aware of their rights now and do not keep mum if they feel deprived of their rights. He is of the view that policy makers understand the role young people can play in the development of the country but are still hesitant to let them take the helms. 

“If I want to start a business, nobody will finance me. The Yuva Swarojgar Yojana (Youth Self-employment Fund), which was set up to provide loans to young people who want to start a business, is being used for the benefit of cadres of political parties,” KC opines.

On the other hand, Pukar Bam, 25, co-founder of Bibekshil Nepali, a political party founded by the youth, agrees with KC and adds that democracy has been fruitful only for some political leaders and party workers. Bam adds that in the recent five to six years, he has seen youth coming back from abroad seeking opportunities to do things at home. “They are very much willing to step out of their comfort zone to bring about change,” he says. “I think that’s the only good thing this whole political instability has brought us,” he says, summing that the youths know if they don’t do something, everything will remain the same. 

Change doesn’t come easy and it takes time. In Nepal, however, change is not something that’s welcomed with open arms. You take a step forward and there will be scores of people trying to pull you back. That’s the point Pushpa Gurung, 23, field coordinator at Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj, wants to make. “Unity has definitely risen since the restoration of democracy but moving forward is still difficult because there is always someone pulling you back. It does not matter even if what you are doing is for the good of the country,” she says. 

Prasun Rai, 25, an intern at Actionaid Nepal, also raises the issue of youth in the rural areas not being updated with the whole scenario. “Privileged youths are aware about a lot of things but those in the remote areas are unaware of it.”

Disagreeing with Rai’s statement, Aman Lama, 21, a member of Activista, a youth platform, says, “They are aware about the happenings. What they lack is the opportunity to express themselves. Since they are far from the capital city, they don’t have much exposure in the media and, hence, we assume that they are unaware.” Lama thinks that youth outside the Valley should also get equal space in media so that they are encouraged to do more.

On federalism

The erstwhile kingdom of Nepal was renamed Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 28, 2008 when the Constituent Assembly overwhelmingly favored the abolishment of the monarchy. However, the federal system has yet to be given a complete shape as the political parties cannot decide how to go about it and how the separate states should function. 

The Constituent Assembly served its term for four years but was not able to produce the much anticipated “Constitution of Nepal” due to the inability of the parties to resolve some issues.

Rai, who thinks federalism is not suitable for Nepal, shares, “Nepal’s geography is such that federalism doesn’t make sense. People might get services faster and that need not have to travel to Kathmandu to get passports, but the cost of running the country would rise too. And if it’s the development we are talking about, it can still be done without dividing Nepal if we come up with proper plans.” 

Lama, however, pointed out another problem. “It would be difficult to put in place a proper taxation system. If one state increases the price of basic commodities, what will happen?” questions Lama. He also expressed that some states might be richer than another and that might invite instability.

Bam, too, thinks that the overall cost would rise and so would corruption. Also, he says, “We need to ask whether federalism is actually wanted by the people or the leaders. I don’t see any problems with the five development zones. It’s just that it’s not functioning very well due to the inability of the government.”

Bam is certain that the elections will take place for a new Constituent Assembly. “We should vote for people only after going through their Curriculum Vitae,” he says. “We need to vote for someone who can lead us and not disappoint us and for that to happen, we need to make sure that we vote for the right person.”
Republica

Youths yearn for change of leadership

PRAVAT JUNG GURUNG

We complain and we argue that there’s nothing much youths can do until and unless they join mainstream politics. But even if we decide to join politics, reaching a position of influence isn´t easy as the older generation is not yet ready to cede the power. It’s a catch-22 situation for the younger generation and most of us have learnt to live with it.

A host of issues concerning younger generation in Nepal have not been addressed by the government. Unemployment, among all other problems, tops the list. Every single day, Nepal is losing its “working age” population to Gulf and other countries. Nothing is being done to tap the youthful energies without which development of a country is impossible. 

Implementation of the youth policy, introduced in 2010, has failed to remedy the situation and the youth today are seeking change of the leadership.

On democracy

“We can voice ourselves more openly now compared to the past and I think Maoists are to be credited for this change,” says Dipendra KC, 23, president of YUWA, a youth organization based in Kathmandu. 

He added that people are more aware of their rights now and do not keep mum if they feel deprived of their rights. He is of the view that policy makers understand the role young people can play in the development of the country but are still hesitant to let them take the helms. 

“If I want to start a business, nobody will finance me. The Yuva Swarojgar Yojana (Youth Self-employment Fund), which was set up to provide loans to young people who want to start a business, is being used for the benefit of cadres of political parties,” KC opines.

On the other hand, Pukar Bam, 25, co-founder of Bibekshil Nepali, a political party founded by the youth, agrees with KC and adds that democracy has been fruitful only for some political leaders and party workers. Bam adds that in the recent five to six years, he has seen youth coming back from abroad seeking opportunities to do things at home. “They are very much willing to step out of their comfort zone to bring about change,” he says. “I think that’s the only good thing this whole political instability has brought us,” he says, summing that the youths know if they don’t do something, everything will remain the same. 

Change doesn’t come easy and it takes time. In Nepal, however, change is not something that’s welcomed with open arms. You take a step forward and there will be scores of people trying to pull you back. That’s the point Pushpa Gurung, 23, field coordinator at Nepal Mahila Ekata Samaj, wants to make. “Unity has definitely risen since the restoration of democracy but moving forward is still difficult because there is always someone pulling you back. It does not matter even if what you are doing is for the good of the country,” she says. 

Prasun Rai, 25, an intern at Actionaid Nepal, also raises the issue of youth in the rural areas not being updated with the whole scenario. “Privileged youths are aware about a lot of things but those in the remote areas are unaware of it.”

Disagreeing with Rai’s statement, Aman Lama, 21, a member of Activista, a youth platform, says, “They are aware about the happenings. What they lack is the opportunity to express themselves. Since they are far from the capital city, they don’t have much exposure in the media and, hence, we assume that they are unaware.” Lama thinks that youth outside the Valley should also get equal space in media so that they are encouraged to do more.

On federalism

The erstwhile kingdom of Nepal was renamed Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 28, 2008 when the Constituent Assembly overwhelmingly favored the abolishment of the monarchy. However, the federal system has yet to be given a complete shape as the political parties cannot decide how to go about it and how the separate states should function. 

The Constituent Assembly served its term for four years but was not able to produce the much anticipated “Constitution of Nepal” due to the inability of the parties to resolve some issues.

Rai, who thinks federalism is not suitable for Nepal, shares, “Nepal’s geography is such that federalism doesn’t make sense. People might get services faster and that need not have to travel to Kathmandu to get passports, but the cost of running the country would rise too. And if it’s the development we are talking about, it can still be done without dividing Nepal if we come up with proper plans.” 

Lama, however, pointed out another problem. “It would be difficult to put in place a proper taxation system. If one state increases the price of basic commodities, what will happen?” questions Lama. He also expressed that some states might be richer than another and that might invite instability.

Bam, too, thinks that the overall cost would rise and so would corruption. Also, he says, “We need to ask whether federalism is actually wanted by the people or the leaders. I don’t see any problems with the five development zones. It’s just that it’s not functioning very well due to the inability of the government.”

Bam is certain that the elections will take place for a new Constituent Assembly. “We should vote for people only after going through their Curriculum Vitae,” he says. “We need to vote for someone who can lead us and not disappoint us and for that to happen, we need to make sure that we vote for the right person.”

Conferences/Fellowships

Conference Papers:

  1. KC, Dipendra (2015). Role of Civil Society Organizations in the Local Governance of Nepal. 9th ISTR Asia Pacific Regional Conference. Tokyo, Japan.

2.  KC, Dipendra & Promphakping, Buapun (2015). Determinants of internal organizational governance: evidence from the civil society organizations of Thailand. 9th ISTR Asia Pacific Regional Conference. Tokyo, Japan.
3. KC, Dipendra & Promphakping, Buapun (2015). Governance of civil society organizations in Thailand: Preliminary Survey Findings. International Conference on ASEAN Studies. Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

 

4. KC, Dipendra (2013). Youth Led organizations in Nepal: Where has the movement reached?. Joint Regional Conference on “Governing Youth in South Asia”, South Asia Institute (SAI) of Heidelberg University, Germany and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Kathmandu.

Fellowships Received/Other Achievements

  1. Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) (June – August, 2014), University of Washington, Seattle, United States of America.
  2. Speaker at The World Bank Live on “Coding your way to opportunity” – June 4, 2014
  3. Winner of the regional grant competition on “Youth Solutions! Technology for skills and Employment”, organized by The World Bank and Microsoft Sri Lanka. – May 21, 2013
  4. Panelist on “How Massively Open and Online Courses (MOOCs) are changing the face of education?” (Princeton University, New Jersey, August 2012)

Experience


Organizations I Co-Founded


bichardabaliBicharDabali is an online platform for aspiring writers, journalists and opinion leaders to share opinions on socio-economic and political issues. 

yuwaEstablished in 2009, YUWA is a registered, not for profit, purely youth run and led organisation working to promote youth participation through empowerment and advocacy. 


Organizations I have experience working with


bichardabaliBicharDabali is an online platform for aspiring writers, journalists and opinion leaders to share opinions on socio-economic and political issues. 

yuwaEstablished in 2009, YUWA is a registered, not for profit, purely youth run and led organisation working to promote youth participation through empowerment and advocacy. 


Op-Eds

 


Conferences

 


Fellowships

 


Journal Articles

 

Unity Through MUSIC

Music resides in the soul of every human being. Music has that strength which can bind the several hearts of different backgrounds to one. Recently Prashant Tamang, the Winner of Indian Idol is a good example of it. Prashant is an Indian of Nepalis origin but due to his or in but several Nepalis voted him to be an Indian Idol. Inspite of being an Indian he has been able to bind several Nepalis in his magical voice.

Our country is passing through a critical time period. The daily life is being very difficult. There is curfew in western terai. There is a fear of riots in the name of religion. The country is politically unstable. There are innumerable problems in the country. Nepal is lacking unity among its citizens.

In this context, music may be a good way to create National Unity. We have seen how Prashant has unified the Nepalis. Several Nepalis went to boarder area to vote for him. Prashant mad the Nepalis more proud by wearing “Dhaka Topi” when he won the title. A unique feeling of National pride aroused seeing him. If one person can unify so many people then why are the Nepalis artists and musicians not able to come up for national unity?

In my opinion, the riots of Kapilvastu can be controlled by our singers and artists. They should jointly make an appeal to control violence. Moreover the celebrities and singers can create awareness among the general people feel their responsibility towards Nation.

Moreover the government can invite singers like Prashant, Udit Narayan Jha to Nepal and ask them to appeal them for peace and unity. This may be a new and effective way to unite people. We have been using same old tradition way to create awareness among the people. I think it is the time to give new taste. Let’s observe and see how successful it is.