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Remote Leadership Training in the Age of COVID: Engaging and Supporting Nepal’s Emerging Leaders during the Pandemic

Friday, June 26, 2020

“Any crisis resolution requires leaders who have first been very good at shaping their own path in a constructive way.” - Nepali Emerging Leaders Program 2020 Cohort Member

While there have been some recent moves to loosen restrictions, like many countries around the world Nepal has been in a state of lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic since late March. With movement around the country banned, the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) and its partner in Nepal, the Leadership Academy, faced new challenges for their Nepali Emerging Leaders Program (NELP). First, how do we continue engaging with the 30+ members of the 2020 cohort and keep them connected to one another during the lockdown? (The second seminar for the 2020 cohort, originally scheduled for April, is currently postponed.) And, how can the NELP best support the 52 program alumni spread across the country responding to the critical needs of their communities?  

With dozens of experienced mentors and consultants from government, media, civil society, and business as part of the program, the NELP team recognized the valuable guidance and knowledge that these leaders could bring to the current cohort and the program’s alumni during this critical time. As such, in mid-May the NELP began hosting online, remote sessions for the 2020 cohort and the 2018 and 2019 graduates. 

Reflecting on the value of these sessions so far, Leadership Academy President Santosh Shah said, “It’s been really important for our participants to hear from one another and to get validation from individuals outside their districts about the value of their work. With the massive crisis created by COVID19, it’s easy to lose sight of how important all of their other work is, even if it’s not focused on responding to the pandemic.”

Members of the 2020 cohort have already attended seven sessions. Awadhesh Singh, senior advocate to the Nepal Supreme Court, offered advice on navigating the legal system, including the courts, during the lockdown. During her session, the Honorable Yashoda Devi Timsina, former commissioner to the Nepal Information Commission, talked about the importance of accurate, timely information during the crisis and the process for individuals to file a “Right to Information” case to gain access to such information. Reflected one participant on her session, “Each one of us can help ourselves by trusting the government mechanisms that already exist to work through these challenges.” 

Other facilitators spoke about how to meet Nepal’s immediate needs while also planning for long-term challenges. Member of the National Assembly Dr. Bimala Rai Puadyal highlighted the need for continued support to the agricultural sector to meet current needs and mitigate a looming food shortage crisis. 

Still other mentors have offered general encouragement during these unprecedented times. “We have to have patience during any time of crisis and never lose hope,” extolled former Constituent Assemblymember Ratna Gurung. “We have to take care of ourselves, stay strong, and stay positive to win this health battle.”

Learn more about the Nepali Emerging Leaders Program


Daniel Orth
(619) 260-4066

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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