Nepal’s Joint Youth & Students Platform organized a 2-day cross-party seminar in Solukhumbu in early March. The seminar is part of district-level work, supported by Demo Finland, which aims to collect local level views for the formulation of Joint Youth Agenda.
Furthermore, this time the seminar organized in Solukhumbu had an added element of engaging the local youth politicians with the nation’s constitution drafting process. The opportunity for such unique engagement was provided by the timing of the seminar that coincided with Constituent Assembly’s (CA) public view collection campaign. As part of the campaign, nearly 300 CA members travelled to all 75 districts of Nepal to listen citizens’ views and expectations regarding the new constitution. Thereby Solukhumbu welcomed a team of 8 CA members, who were also invited to join the cross-party youth seminar held at the district capital.
Conversation in the limelight
Solukhumbu’s youth politicians were so provided an opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with the most important institution of the country. The emphasis of the half-day session was on interaction through which local youth politicians could, on one hand, express their views regarding the new constitution, and on the other, learn more about the constitution drafting process.
The representatives of various youth and student organisations seized the opportunity enthusiastically, advocating for the role of constitution in, for instance, in ensuring free quality education and strengthening the political participation of young people. Specific issues regarding Solukhumbu’s development challenges were also discussed. For example, Nabin Thapa, the district chairperson of Nepali Congress student organization, raised how the constitution could ensure equitable development and allocation of resources within one district. Thapa referred to the experiences of Solukhumbu, where the poorer, southern parts have benefitted minimally from the revenues brought in by tourism to the northern regions surrounding Mount Everest.
All in all, both the CA members as well as Solukhumbu’s youth politicians were very satisfied with the program. The constructive discussions and exchange of views were felt to have benefited all stakeholders involved. Furthermore, the CA members explicitly commended the work of Demo and the Platform in creating positive space for youth collaboration and capacity-building.
– Initiatives like this are exactly what is needed to build ‘New Nepal’. By joining hands, youth are also better positioned to advocate their issues at higher policy level, commented NK Prasai, coordinator of the CA team and central member of Unified CPN-Maoist party.