Daayitwa Symposium underscores need for evidence-based policy making in Nepal

Daayitwa Governance Symposium 2017

The mission of Daayitwa-Nepal Public Service Fellowship is to ignite self-responsibility for public service in Nepali youth by nurturing their collaborative leadership for an enterprising Nepal.  Since 2013, 7 cohorts of 78 Daayitwa Fellows academically and professionally trained in 25 countries have worked with 20 public agencies and 24 parliamentarians on 78 public projects.

In 2017, Daayitwa Fellowship partnered with 5 Public Agencies and 1 Parliamentary Committee. The partner agencies include Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Ministry of Agricultural Development, National Planning Commission, National Reconstruction Authority, and Parliamentary Committee of Agriculture and Water Resources. The 7th cohort of the fellowship is based on three thematic issues – Access to Finance, Enterprise Growth, and Value Chain. This year the fellowship also had specific gender focused titles.

The Fellowship supports the partner agencies in addressing critical research needs of their priority projects through evidence based policy design. Our experience has shown that youth engagement in governance can contribute to a progressive mindset in the government, strengthening its openness to innovative solutions. Above all, we see improvements in the collaborative attitude of government in Nepal about engaging young students and professionals in policy research.

Areas of Research

The Fellows, through their three months- research analysed and recommended solutions for an enhanced entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nepal. The theme Access to Finance included studies on Women Entrepreneurship Development Fund which would enhance availability of funds to prospective entrepreneurs and explored options for mobile banking and ways to channel remittance for productive investment. Under the Growth theme, Fellows conducted research focusing on formalization of the informal enterprises, possibilities for integration of skilled migrant returnees to Nepal in entrepreneurship, and on ways to promote the Micro Enterprises to Small Enterprise status. Particular aspects of disaster-struck areas were considered to suggest ways for economic rebuilding. On a gender focused note, nuances of care economy, where role of women in household chores is not viewed as economic contribution to GDP, was studied. Finally, under the Value Chain theme, some research explored ways on using technology for improved agricultural productivity, improving supply chains of local products, and building their competitiveness.

The Daayitwa Governance Symposium on 27th August, 2017 marks the graduation of the Daayitwa Summer Fellows 2017. The symposium brought together youth and public leaders from public, private, social and academic sectors, as well as international development community, to share their insights on nurturing a culture of evidence-based policy design for an enterprising Nepal.

Hon. Rajendra Kumar K.C, Minister for Youth and Sports, Government of Nepal, was the Chief Guest for the event, and stressed on the urgency of innovating to create jobs for youth. In the Plenary Session which also included panelists Dr. Dhruba Bhandari, Mr. Krishna Gyawali, Dr. Shankar Sharma, Ms. Rita Bhandary, Former President of Federation of Women Entrepreneurs’ Association, emphasized the need for research and advocacy to be connected with the issues concerning private sector and government to bring noticeable impact was important. The Closing Session had three leadership keynotes on ‘Innovate,’ ‘Collaborate,’ and ‘Serve.’ Dr. Baikuntha Aryal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, speaking on core value ‘Collaborate’ emphasised on the need to listen to and accommodate the realities of other stakeholders in order to exercise true leadership. Mr. Shisir Khanal, CEO of Teach for Nepal, shared his learning on the need to be involved in the target community to understand and identify their challenges, in order to address their problems. Ms. Chandni Joshi, Women Right Activist and Coordinator, Women’s Think Tank at Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, spoke on the core value ‘Serve.’ She shared about her calling to ‘serve’ for the nation which led her to pursue a career in the public service through which she has successfully brought gender sensitive perspective within the Nepal government. Hon Gagan Thapa, Former Minister of Health, Government of Nepal, shared about his experience as a Minister, where it was necessary to acknowledge one’s limitations of knowledge in order to be open-minded to learning. The Symposium ended with a public service pledge by the Daayitwa Fellows 2017 where the Fellows voiced their commitment to build an inclusive and prosperous Nepal in their own lifetimes. The pledge was taken in Nepali, Maithili and Newari, representing the diversity in Nepal. Dr. Pukar Malla, Executive Director of Daayitwa, emphasised on the need to nurture an enterprising mindset in Nepal government.