Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!

by Women LEAD
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
Girls Wanna Run! Training Nepal's Generation Next!
2020 YWPLI Virtual Graduation Ceremony!
2020 YWPLI Virtual Graduation Ceremony!

Women LEAD’s Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI), an 11-month long course, aims to equip politically ambitious young Nepali women (19-25years old) with the fundamental knowledge, communication and analytical skills, professional experience, and networks they need to engage in Nepal’s politics in a meaningful way.

Despite the pandemic, the 3rd iteration of Young Women's Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) kicked off virtually in July 2020 with 20 young women (aged 18-25). Owing to the pandemic, most components of the 11-month program were conducted virtually. Throughout the program, our YWPLI Fellows participated in various program components such as - two-week-long Politics Institute, internship at local or government agency under women leaders, advocacy week, and (not limited to) professional development week.

As a part of the program, our 2020 YWPLI Fellows (in groups of 4-5), conducted their own advocacy projects virtually between April and May 2021. The fellows participated in a week-long advocacy training which helped them identify problem statements and design their own projects.

This year there were four advocacy projects with themes and project objectives such as - creating a platform for meaningful and healthy debate/discussion on gender equality among people aged 16-40,  a campaign that encompassed a photo exhibition, and a panel discussion that aimed to address the struggles faced by domestic violence survivors in Nepal and explore their narratives through their lens, economic empowerment at the local level and forming a mini-library accessible to the children from a rural municipality. 

On May 29, 19 YWPLI Fellows graduated from the 11-month long Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) after successfully completing all the components of the program. The event was conducted virtually keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic.

Priyanka, one of our 2020 YWPLI Fellows says, "Initially I used to dream of becoming the deputy mayor of my municipality but now as a YWPLI'20 Fellow, I aspire to be the Mayor of my municipality".

Our 19 2020 Fellows are now a part of our alumni community and will receive ongoing professional opportunities as they move ahead in their leadership journeys. 

Snap from 2020 YWPLI Virtual Graduation Ceremony!
Snap from 2020 YWPLI Virtual Graduation Ceremony!

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Kajal, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Kajal, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

One of the key components of the Young Women's Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) is the internship where our Fellows get to intern with different women leaders at various government agencies for a month. The main aim of the internship at various government agencies is to provide our fellows with the opportunity to first-hand understand and learn how the government agency functions, and have more women leaders as their role models.

The internship component of the 3rd iteration of YWPLI kicked off in December 2020. Interning under women leaders from various governmental agencies has allowed our fellows to expand their understanding of the leadership styles and working ecosystem of these women leaders.

One of our 2020 YWPLI Fellows, Kajal reflects on her internship journey, “Working as a trainee at ward 5, Lalitpur will always be a lifetime experience for me. Before working at the ward, I used to believe in the commonly perceived misconception that most governmental agencies of the country are dishonest. However, it was only after working at the ward itself, I got to understand and learn more about their organizational structure, operations, work division, mobilization of women, and services provided by the ward. Most importantly, I have realized how the ward officials work selflessly to provide easy and best service to the public.”

Here's what other 2020 fellows have to say about their internship:

The internship allowed me to look beyond what lies in the frontline and also instilled in me this zeal to challenge the status - quo especially of the everyday news related to violence against women. In the entire month of my placement, there hadn’t been a single day without the news of some form of violence or cases of rape/rape attempts that triggered my sense of justice that had been fought for in the nation. Nevertheless, I was also able to witness the stories of hope and resilience that made me believe in the beauty of reaching out to people and being there for them.  This consistent mechanism of ‘empowering' built on the foundation of ‘fight’ and ‘hope’ under the catalyst of resilience has intrigued my comprehension of ‘making things happen, despite it all.’ I look forward to widening this lens that I have developed." - Smriti, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

“I am grateful for the internship opportunity as it has harnessed my skill of working under pressure, communication skills, quick adaptation to a new environment.”- Sirishma, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

Stay tuned for more updates on our amazing 2020 YWPLI Fellows’ journey!

Smriti, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Smriti, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Sirishma, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Sirishma, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

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YWPLI 2020 Program Structure
YWPLI 2020 Program Structure

The 3rd iteration of Young Women's Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) has kicked off virtually with a bang! This year, despite the pandemic and the course being run virtually, we received an overwhelming number of applications from adolescent girls around the Kathmandu Valley (and beyond). Each aspiring participant underwent a rigorous selection process out of which 20 young women/ girls (aged 18-25) were narrowed down as our 2020 Fellows! Our Fellows come across diverse ethnic geographical, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

YWPLI 2020 started with a two-week-long Political Institute from 16th-28th August where the fellows gained foundational knowledge about Nepal’s democratic system and the political processes in the country. Similarly, our 2020 Fellows also actively engaged to learn essential professional skills in political organizing, including how to write and deliver an effective message, how to communicate with people who have different thoughts or opinions than their own, and how to create an effective campaign plan.

“If there’s one thing that my experience in Women LEAD has taught me, it is to never be afraid of challenges.” - Bima, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

To celebrate the International Day of Girl Child 2020 (IDG), our 2020 YWPLI Fellows led and conducted an event, “End of gender-based violence: The adequacy of law” on Oct 11. The event included sessions like “Digital Accountability and Hygiene” and a panel discussion on “Are laws alone an effective deterrent for Gender-based Violence?” with distinguished guest speakers. Our current YWPLI Fellows were also able to bring in Nepal's Minister of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, Mr. P Gurung as a keynote speaker for the event.  

"The weeks that went into organizing IDG2020 was an enriching experience where we young women got an opportunity to sharpen our skills in organizing an event of such prominence. Similarly, it also felt empowering getting to network with survivors, youth activists, and people in power who were working relentlessly towards addressing the issues of growing acid attacks and rape cases in Nepal.” - Simrika, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

After the Political Institute, multiple follow-up sessions have been carried out to keep the Fellows engaged. YWPLI'20 is now moving onto the next phase where our Fellows will intern at various government offices under different women political leaders. Unlike previous iterations of YWPLI, our 2020 Fellows, this year, will be interning at governmental agencies outside Kathmandu; some of them will intern at the governmental agencies in their hometown. 

We can't wait to share with you updates from our Fellow’s internship Journey in our next report! 

Bima, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Bima, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Simrika, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Simrika, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

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Our 2017 YWPLI Fellows with Guest Speaker.
Our 2017 YWPLI Fellows with Guest Speaker.

We are thrilled to announce that the applications for the 3rd iteration of Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) are now LIVE! We are equally excited to welcome and groom a new batch of 20 young, amazingly passionate change-makers who’ll play a key role in co-creating Nepal’s political future. 

The 9-month long program, this year, will commence on 16th August 2020 and is expected to conclude with a graduation on 1st May. Adapting to the new normal brought about by the global Pandemic COVID-19, the program will run online initially. COVID-19 might’ve posed new challenges ahead of us but amidst the pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed at all is our young changemakers' zeal and commitment to changing the status quo of Nepali women in politics. 

This year, our 20 enthusiastic fellows will intern with female politicians from various government agencies for at least a month – most of whom were elected during the 2017 local elections. Additionally, to get more ground exposure and to understand the roles of women representatives at the local level, our 2020 Fellows will be taken on a week-long trip outside Kathmandu, potentially to Province 1. Our Fellows will have the opportunity to work with women Mayors and Deputy Mayors during the field trip. They’ll receive hands-on learning opportunities and a chance to understand different leaders' leadership styles. 

Starting this year, our YWPLI Fellows will be receiving mentorship by our past Fellows and Alumni.  Unlike in the previous years, our alumni based overseas and outside Kathmandu will have the opportunity to be mentors. The mentorship is expected to provide our dynamic and bold Fellows with the opportunity to build their own ally-ship as they continue to challenge the patriarchal structure of Nepali society.

“YWPLI has helped me understand my role as a Nepali citizen while providing me with the knowledge to create change. My plans have always been to work in public service while making public institutions more accountable, transparent and inclusive; the knowledge I’ve gained at YWPLI has only helped further my aspirations,” says our 2017 Fellow Sujata.

In the following 2 months, the applicants of YWPLI 2020 will undergo a fair selection process. The shortlisted candidates will be called in for an interview and finally, 20 exceptional young women will be selected to embark on this 9-month long journey full of learning.

Stay tuned for updates on our incredible YWPLI 2020 Fellows’ journey.

YWPLI'17 Fellows during 2 week Political Institute
YWPLI'17 Fellows during 2 week Political Institute
Snippet from 2-week long Political Institute 2017.
Snippet from 2-week long Political Institute 2017.

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Bidhya encouraging others to vote during YWPLI
Bidhya encouraging others to vote during YWPLI

My experience participating in Women LEAD's Young Women’s Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) was my first step into politics and policy-making. During YWPLI, I campaigned for Subuna Basnet, a young activist and candidate for the House of Representatives, who I had come to know of in 2015 through Women LEAD. While voters questioned her policies and, perhaps, I also did not understand them that well, what motivated me to support her campaign was her genuine passion for politics. While we did not succeed in electing her, working for her gave me a valuable lesson; it made me realize that even though people will doubt you, that should not deter you from achieving your purpose.

After graduating from YWPLI, I carried on exploring the interaction between people and the law. I started experimenting with film-making as a form of activism. I worked with a team of three other exceptional women to make Pahichan, a short documentary on Rukshana Kapali. Rukshana is a young transwoman fighting against a trans-exclusionary admission rule at Tribhuvan University, the largest University in Nepal. The making of that film was my first attempt to ‘put my statement out there’ in front of an audience.

By telling Rukshana’s story, we attempted to challenge the heteronormative patriarchy of Nepali society and the laws and institutions that emanated from it. While I have continued my journey of storytelling, I have further expanded on my knowledge and engagement with policymaking that began at YWPLI.

I currently work as a Research and Communications Assistant at Samriddhi Foundation, a public policy organization working to promote economic freedom. My work at Samriddhi has given me insight into the making of public policies and that the government can play the role of both a facilitator and an inhibitor in the lives of its citizens. I have written a policy brief on Nepal’s new media law, which is aimed at curtailing citizens’ freedom of expression. Somebody recently asked me why I have to work for a so-called ‘political cause’ and my response to it was, “don’t we all work for a political cause?”

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Women LEAD

Location: Washington, DC - USA
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Twitter: @womenleadnepal
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Dipasa Bista
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