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Kroc IPJ Awards Microgrants to Nepal Program Alumni

Tuesday, April 21, 2020TOPICS: FieldworkResearchYouth and Peacebuilding

Nepali women forced to stay sequestered at home during menstruation. LGBTIQ individuals facing discrimination and violence as local government officials are unaware of their rights protected by the new constitution. Farmers struggling to earn a livelihood due to a lack of knowledge about market conditions. Youth selfishly pursuing positions of leadership. 

 

These are four of the challenges that alumni from the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s (Kroc IPJ) Nepali Emerging Leaders Program (NELP) will confront in 2020. Microgrants provided to them as part of the Kroc IPJ’s NELP Alumni Engagement Fund will help them to address these issues in their local communities. 

The Kroc IPJ launched the NELP in 2018 with its Kathmandu-based partner, the Leadership Academy. Each year, the program enrolls more than 40 of Nepal’s most visionary and motivated emerging leaders (individuals ages 25 to 40) from all across the country. The NELP is a one-year leadership program that provides participants with skills and knowledge, mentoring from senior Nepali leaders, media coverage, and support from legal, security, and media professionals. Most importantly, the program creates a cohort of leaders from diverse backgrounds who are able to work together and support one another to solve Nepal’s most pressing issues. 

Many of these emerging, grassroots leaders have powerful, innovative ideas to meet the needs of their communities, but often lack the funds to get these ideas off the ground. The Kroc IPJ initiated the NELP Alumni Engagement Fund in 2020 as a way to overcome this challenge by providing the program’s alumni with startup capital to prove their ideas can work. The hope is that after successfully piloting their initiatives, the leaders will be able to approach donors to provide them additional funding to continue and scale their innovations. The grant is also a way to encourage NELP alumni to continue working together and with the program’s mentors. 

More than 50 individuals are part of the 2018 and 2019 NELP graduating cohorts who were eligible to apply for the microgrants. The Kroc IPJ has selected four projects to fund for 2020: 

SMART Leadership Camping (Successful, Mindful, Accountable, Realistic, Transparent)

Many individuals in Nepal are selfishly motivated to pursue leadership positions for personal profit and power. To encourage positive leadership development among youth, the “SMART Leadership Camping (SLC)” project will provide leadership development training in topics including interpersonal skills, decision-making, time management, mindfulness, and personal wellness. This project includes many NELP alumni from both 2018 and 2019.

LGBTIQ Dialogues with Local Government

In Nepal, a lack of awareness about LGBTIQ individuals and issues, including on the part of local government leaders, results in discrimination, unequal access to government services, and in some cases, violence. To reduce such stigma, the “LGBTIQ Dialogues with Local Government” project will convene interaction programs with government representatives at the municipal and ward level in Morang District of Province #1. The project will also support the formation of LGBTIQ youth groups and the distribution of information about LGBTIQ rights. 

Feminine Hygiene Pad Manufacturing and Training Center

Women and girls in Nepal face stigma and a number of significant challenges when they are menstruating – for example, not being able to attend school and otherwise being forced to isolate themselves. This is especially true in rural areas that lack education and have high levels of poverty. The “Feminine Hygiene Pad Manufacturing and Training Center” will help to destigmatize menstruation, create increased opportunities for women and girls, and provide economic opportunities through training in the production and distribution of feminine hygiene pads. The project will create a training center with sewing machines, equipment, and raw materials to train local women in the production of feminine hygiene pads. The women entrepreneurs will sell the excess products to raise money for the training facility. This project represents a great collaboration between male and female NELP Alumni and one of the program’s mentors. The program has opportunities for sustainability and scalability.  

Reviving the Roots: Farmer Training

Many youth in rural areas lack economic opportunities. While agriculture could provide a sustainable livelihood, most youth are missing the knowledge and skills needed to be successful farmers, including information about current market conditions. “Reviving the Roots” will provide training to 50 youth farmers in Saptari District of Province #2 and will introduce them to valuable resources including state and local government agencies. The project will also provide these farmers with the inputs needed to begin their successful agricultural endeavors, in particular starter plants. 

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The NELP Alumni Engagement Fund is made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor. To find out how you can support the next generation of Nepali leaders to build more peaceful and prosperous communities, contact Daniel Orth (dorth@sandiego.edu). 

Contact:

Justin Prugh
jprugh@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-7573

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