According to Nepal’s National Youth Policy, youth make up over 40% of the population, and the country is increasingly looking to its youth to play an important role in Nepal’s development, growth, and sustained peace.
Sansthagat Bikas Sanjal, with MCC’s support, is currently implementing a three-year Youth Leadership for Peace and Sustainable Development project across three different districts: Morang, Okhaldhunga, and Dhading.
Each year, fifteen youth leaders are selected through a competitive process to take part in the peacebuilding and development program. The youth attend two eight-day peace and conflict transformation trainings as well as additional theme-specific refresher trainings, where they learn about subjects like conflict analysis, nonviolent communication skills, empathetic listening, conflict mediation, restorative justice, and the role of youth in peace and sustainable community development. The program aims to bring together youth from varied backgrounds to build their skills in peace and community development.
Following the training period, the participants work together to develop community development projects to address an issue of significant concern in their communities.
This year, the participants from Morang district in eastern Nepal, a group composed of youth from a variety of ethnic groups, religions, and castes, met together to play and learn together about how to work toward a more peaceful and just society.
Based on what they’ve learned over several training sessions on conflict transformation, the participants have planned community conversation circles, art displays, and child club meetings to discuss the impacts of child marriage on their communities and work together for solutions. In Morang district, child marriage, teenage elopement, and early marriages of young girls have had an impact on the education of youth and led to increased conflict within their communities. This year’s participants are taking these issues head-on by using the skills they learn in these trainings and their voices as youth leaders to increase the level of conversation, awareness, and support around these issues among their peers and communities.