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Country Specific Panel Discussion : Nepal at SAYF2020

Introduction of SAYF 2020   

South Asian Youth Festival 2020 is organized to gather youths from South Asian Countries, connect with them, share and learn their perspective, and develop a strong bond. The 3- weeks-long program is organized on the occasion of International Youth Day 2020 to celebrate youth power, energy, creativity, success, and capabilities. This festival which is being organized virtually will continue till the 3rd of September. The festival is organized in collaboration with various South Asian organizations like UNICEF- ROSA; UNESCO; A2I, Cabinet Division, Bangladesh, UNDP; National Youth Council Nepal; CYDA, India; CYN, Sri Lanka; Pinnacle Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, Maldives; Dynamic Youth Afghanistan; Maldives National Youth Council; Coca-Cola; Turkish Airlines & South-South Network.

Country-Specific Panel Discussion- Nepal

The Country-Specific Panel discussions are focused on youth engagement, skill, and education where youth from a specific country will come together to share their perspective.

The country panel discussion from Nepal was centralized on the theme “Youth, Skill, and Education” at the South Asian Youth Festival 2020. The panel session was held on Thursday, 13th of August 2020. The discussion provided the opportunity to hear wonderful insights from the inspirational youths of Nepal. The session highlighted the youth perspective on Education and Skills and also their inspiration in terms of working in different sectors. The discussion among the experienced panelists certainly helped us to learn a lot and gave an intuition into the learning skills.

The country-specific panel discussion comprised of panelists; Ms. Bonita Sharma, Co-founder & CEO Sochai; Mr. Ganesh Dhungana, Executive Director, Action Nepal; Ms. Prashansha KC, Youth Activist, and Mr. Saurav Thapa Shrestha, General Secretary, YUWA.

Before the session started, Mr. Pandey shared the motive behind organizing the festival and a short description of the South Asian Youth Festival 2020. 

Moderator of the session, Mr. Ajay Pandey, Brand & IT Manager, Glocal Pvt. Ltd started the discussion by adding his perspective regarding education and skill. Although, the panel discussion was mainly focused on skill, education, and youth. He warmly welcomed amazing speakers with a short description of the panelist.

He invited Ms. Bonita Sharma, Co-founder & CEO Sochai, to addressed her viewpoints on the related question, “Which basic thing is more important; education is more important or gaining skill is important”?

Ms. Sharma explained her statement by addressing the point that education and skills should not be held separately. The best start to the best foundation, it is important to have equipped about access to education which automatically leads us to develop all kinds of skills that we need in life. She further mentioned, whenever there is a lack of education, there are low skills that automatically lead to unemployment, poverty, inequality which adversely affect people and the entire country. She also highlighted the weakness of the education system.

Ms.Bonita Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, Sochai

Mr. Pandey agreed with her points that education and skill should not be held separately. The same question was raised to Ms. Prashansha KC, Youth Activist, to share her perception. She clearly explained the question by addressing a good example of an American girl and also, added both ‘skill and education’ are important. She also added she is a YouTuber, an engineering student and these are her core career focus point but at the same time as a social activist she is learning rules and regulations. thus, the focus point she added that we cannot be centric towards one and we have to develop skills to survive.

Mr. Ganesh Dhungana, Executive Director, Action Nepal started his opening thoughts highlighting youth’s potential from the rural community and shared his perspective regarding skill and education. He urged his point based on the skill that everyone needs to be clear about the skill. He explained his point by addressing a good example. Moreover, he included, “education is not a primary base of skills. It is meant to sharpen it. Education helps to sharpen the skills but just education is not the base of all skills.”

Another speaker, Mr. Saurav Thapa Shrestha, General Secretary, YUWA agreed with all the speaker’s point and he addressed his perception that both skill and education are needed in every part of our life. He added education not gives an academic degree but also makes them confident in their approach and outlook as well. Skills are necessary to achieve success. He gave an insightful example of his academic background and the skill that he has. The example shows how both things need to be balanced by a person.

Mr.Saurav Thapa Shrestha, General Secretary, YUWA 

Mr. Pandey agreed with the perspective of speakers and moved into another question, “What do you think what are the specific skills, according to you that is important for users to have in today’s time?”  

Mr. Shrestha explained, nowadays in social media, people especially youths are commenting without having a thought on any other issue or multi-dimensional aspects of those issues. The main skills that should be implemented are discipline mentality and discipline skills. In every action, if we go to have a good thing then discipline is the key thing. As we are living in a 21st the scope of skills has grown in high aspect. He added, in today’s era, critical thinking, creativity, communication skills are very much important skills and this has to build from the school level. We need to change the theoretical aspects of the learning aspect.

Taking about another skill, that we are living in the digital era, the different kind of literacy skills (information literacy, digital literacy) needs to be obligatory in today’s life. Regarding life skills, youth needs leadership skills to lead their life for the better achievement of career goals. Moreover, he added social skills is also an important skill to develop good networking, communication with people. These are the basic skills the youths should have.

Mr. Dhungana commenced his speech by highlighting his idea about the importance of specific skills in today’s life. He said – “The first skill that youths need to know is to identify themselves, their values instead of coping with others or following others. He mentioned, their self-identification, self-realization plays a significant role in their life. Thus, firstly we have to fight with ourselves to be with us then we can gain skills. Instead of gaining skill, we can internalize the power of myself and realize the skill that we have and what we need to sharpen.”

Mr. Ganesh Dhungana, Executive Director, Action Nepal

He concluded his point by adding, the most important skill that is required for today’s generation is to identify themselves having moral values. Self-realization skill plays a more significant role in today’s generation.

Ms. Sharma addressed her point as a female perspective that the development of basic skills like communication skills, negotiation skills, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills needs to be implemented at an early age time. she also added, to develop self-realization skills in youths addressed the important value in today’s time.

Ms. K.C. added her viewpoints regarding the importance of skills in today’s life by addressing a question about 4G internet service in Rukum. She said, in Rukum, 4G internet service is accessible and the facility of the internet, people have been interconnected with each other. She said the digital platform is getting big and there is no boundary. She focused her point on technical stuff i.e. the future generation should know about video making skills and, digital marketing skills.

Ms. Prashansha KC, Youth Activist

Moderator of the session, Mr. Pandey raised another question to the speakers, “What were those skills which made you an inspirational figure for all the youths and the person that you are today?

Ms. Sharma shared her personal experience journey. The skill that she addressed is questioning skills. she explained, the questioning skills helps to learn everything, enhance to develop communication skills in a better way, and develop to make things more impactful. The skill itself helped her to realize to enter into an entrepreneur journey.

Another speaker Mr. Dhungana started his insightful talk by pointing the value of networking skill agenda in his life and explained certain things that make him who he is.“Being in this position and being surrounded by people like you, what I realized is having a network and the networking skill is most to achieve a goal that you are dreaming to have,” says Dhungana.  Networking skills need to be required to achieve the dream that we are dreaming of.

Another important skill, he talked i.e. learning attitude. He said nobody is perfect, nobody is talented, nobody is skillful at the primary stage. You have to learn. You can learn a new perspective, a new dimension, new ideas from young people. The learning attitude which takes you to the next height. He explained about the choosing right platform and being on the right platform help youths to learn and develop their skills. He further added engaging yourself in a platform helps youths to grow in a better way.

Ms. KC explained her start-up journey, her initiation, her dedication, skillful stories, and addressed the thing she learned from the course of the journey. The thing that changes her life is learning English, writing, and communication skills. She is a great storyteller. She shared her journey of being Glocal Teen Hero 2018, started educating young girls, women about kidnap marriage, and child marriage. She said, “I didn’t have that communication skill, I wouldn’t be here in front of you. And communication skills change everything.”

Mr. Shrestha agreed with the point of Mr. Dhungana and also, shared his thoughts about the platform. He shared his childhood journey that he got an opportunity to learn computer skills. He started using photoshop to learn graphic designing, photo editing then, he started to sharpen his knowledge. He shared the journey of joining YUWA in 2014. The skill that made him rich i.e. leadership skill and networking skills after joining YUWA. He urged the platform also helps to grow your networks, helps you to communicate with different expertise. Besides, having learning attitude aspects helps you to grow, any kind of skill that you required or you need for your future career as well.

The next question raised to all the panelists, “What are the ways that youths can skill themselves, so they can feasible or they can adopt in the community they are working?”

Mr. Dhungana started his statement by addressing some examples and the reality of today’s education system. He added his point that the education system in Nepal is not producing the human resource and the education system is somehow failed because if a graduate master degree holder in English has to go through the language test in his country to get admission in another country then what is the use of having master degree in English. He addressed the education system is influenced by the western market.

He said the education system has to inspire our youths and go back to the do works in their community. The youth gets inspired if they read the story of the community. The designer of the course is such that talks about indigenous knowledge, talk about the things that can be found in the rural community then definitely people will go there, they will identify the things there and they will begin their career. He also shared his research stories on indigenous knowledge in the Chepang community.

Furthermore, he added, if we go back to the ground and take the issues from the ground. If we develop a starting course on the bases of our learning then definitely, they will be valuable to the rural community. Research on the ground issue and the ground should be implemented in the education system so that the upcoming generation can get knowledge about the things that are happening in the different parts of the country.

Mr. Pandey raised a question to Ms. Sharma, “You have worked with from the ground along with the youths globally. So, how did you get that idea to educate people on nutrition education?”

Ms. Sharma shared the stories that she faced in the path of the journey. While interacting with people, she found the poor education condition of nutritional education, and then she started to work development, community outreach, communication, and evaluation related to public health and nutrition in these rural communities. In a bid to tackle child deaths to malnutrition, she designed “Nutribeads”, a bracelet for new mums with different colored beads to remind them what to feed their babies. As a Female Champion, she has empowered girls and women in Nepal through her project on nutrition education. She has founded her organization “The Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI)” to empower women and girls

Mr. Pandey agreed with the highlighting point of Ms. Sharma, and he beautifully pointed out that in today’s generation breastfeeding is a really important part of the nutrition process for a child. Breast-feeding skills are important for everyone.

Another question was asked to Mr. Shrestha, “As you are working in different sectors like youth development, graphic designing, photography.  You are in connection with the local Newari culture. How can individual youth utilize the skills to preserve the culture or heritage that we have?

Mr. Shrestha said contextualizing that the native language is important. Conceptualizing the native heritages in our textbook from school days can help. He added, coming from the Newari family, and had faced problems communicating in Nepali. Thus, he is also learning every day.  He said the Newari language is also called Nepal Vasha language. He mentioned, from the community level, protecting the indigenous aspect of such a community would help. Our heritages are being protected from the year and it is our responsibility to parcel it to the coming generation.

Another question moved to Ms. K.C, “You have been involved in the essential topic child marriage and kidnap marriage in Rukum. What are the challenges, and your experiences that you faced? 

“The challenges I witnessed was, even though development was happening, but also it was the community that I pictured 8 years ago was the same, which was unnatural. But that difference never bothered me because of my acceptance towards my culture, those local languages, and my community as a whole. And the major challenge I faced was educating them about child marriage, kidnap marriage because it was something, they were part of it. So, instead of understanding it, they felt threatened to hear the about legal procedure against such practices” says Ms. K.C.


The final segment discussion headed towards a rapid-fire for the speakers where the distinguished panelist put forward their perspective. The discussion among the experienced panelists certainly helped us to learn a lot and gave an insight into the learning skills. The Country- Specific Panel session was ended in an intellectual, very interactive, and insightful way. It was indeed an excellent conversation with inspiring young youths for sharing their perspective on Education and Skills and experience stories in the platform of the South Youth Asian Festival 2020.