It is my great pleasure to share with you all that Youth Action Nepal (YOAC) completes its decade long journey from May 27, 2013. We are very proud to obtain this achievement. We are also happy about our decade long contribution to promote youth social movement in Nepal.
To set up and run a youth organization was not an easy job in Nepal. It was during the time of armed conflict, thus it took more than six months to complete the registration process of YOAC. Generating resources was a very complicated and competitive task for YOAC, as we had to compete with other adult-led professional organizations. Thus, there was no funding (besides our personal contributions of time and money) in the first one and half years of YOAC’s establishment. YOAC had only hand-counted people in its core team and that was also depleting month by month because YOAC could not properly engage many of its important people. We were only limited in Kathmandu and a couple of districts. We were also lacking substantive projects, campaigns, and advocacy actions. Most importantly, we were not adequately trusted by many concerned actors because YOAC being a youth led and youth focused organization. Despite all these challenges, we had some strength; we had a clear vision about the future of Nepali youth movement; we were very determined what we wanted to achieve; and we never gave up our mission for making YOAC as a leading organization to promote youth movement in Nepal. As a result, YOAC has marked 10 years of its establishment.
From past to present, YOAC has focused its work on issues around human rights, peace, democracy, migration, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). YOAC still works as a leading youth organization to deal these issues from youth perspectives. YOAC took a lead role to convene Nepal Youth Social Forum (NYSF) since 2006 until now. NYSF is the largest non-partisan youth forum in Nepal, organized in every two years. YOAC also had taken a lead role during the national youth policy formulation process. Due to its persistent advocacy since 2004, YOAC has been able to establish foreign labour migration as a major youth agenda of Nepal. YOAC initiated SRHR focused advocacy and campaigns since 2005 when this issue was only dealt with from service delivery perspective. YOAC’s grassroots focused democracy promotion initiatives have been very successful in organizing and empowering hundreds of youth and their networks. Youth representation has been increased in our working locations. For instance, District Development Committee of Dang has formed a Youth Committee after our long advocacy. YOAC is now serving as an advisor of this committee. YOAC has dozens of success stories of these kinds. Similarly, our peace projects have prepared dozens of youth peace builders in our working districts. YOAC facilitated Friend of Youth Action group since 2007, which has been able to organize and engage more than 150 active and semi-active youth in a number of volunteering and community service projects. Human Rights Training and Study Session and Annual Peace School have been established as a popular educational programs for district level youth leaders. YOAC has also taken lead role in several national level advocacy and campaigns related to its working theme. One of its staffs has also selected as a UNFPA global youth fellow to work at the UN Headquarters New York. YOAC’s staffs, members, and volunteers have also participated in nearly 150 international events.
So many people and institutions have played a very prominent in the course of our ten years long journey. I would like take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our volunteers, local partners, youth networks, well-wishers, donors, government agencies, youth and student political organizations, advisors, general members and staffs. It was impossible for us to continue our journey without your incredible supports, suggestions, and feedbacks. It will be injustice if I do not acknowledge the significant contributions of our founder members to make this organization alive. Thus, I also would like to highly acknowledge their works.
I hope we will get similar kind of love, support, and encouragements even in the future.
Gopi Krishna Bhattarai