Mainstreaming Youths In Nation Building : Kushal Pokharel
On April 25, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude shook the nation, causing heavy loss of life and property. With repeated aftershocks, people are still finding it difficult to return to normalcy. Of late, post disaster recovery has been gaining momentum with the participation of people from different walks of life, although it remains inadequate in reaching the intended beneficiaries.
What has been really striking though is the role that the self-motivated youths of this country have played during this period. Stepping out of the comfort zone, the young workforce immediately carried out rescue and relief operations to the best of their ability. Making wise use of the limited resources at hand, they have demonstrated leadership in crisis management with effective co-ordination and networking in their circle. Whether it’s about reaching the remote areas to distribute relief materials or building temporary shelters, they haven’t refrained from performing their duty as responsible citizens.
While some of them worked with the community based organisations, including NGOs and the civil society, others even stood up individually for the sake of others. Without complaining about the extremity of the work, their efforts have been relentless. Not bothering about their jobs or studies for the last few months, they have been pursuing the passion of rebuilding the nation with the purpose of putting smiles on the faces of the underprivileged and more affected people.
It is worth noting that they have raised funds at the individual and community level to support the victims at the cost of abandoning their desires. Even the unemployed ones, including college going students, have donated an important part of their pocket money for the noble cause.
Equally appreciable is the work they have done in healing the trauma of the affected people. Providing psycho-social counseling to the most vulnerable groups - elderly, women and children - has prevented things from getting worse. Ranging from music therapies to art works, all of them have been helpful in reducing the fears of the traumatised people.
Another prominent aspect of their volunteerism was the use of the social networking (facebook, twitter) sites for expediting the relief and rescue operation. Instead of sticking to casual conversation with friends, they have preferred to discuss ways of supporting the victims, particularly after the earthquake hit the nation. Even their facebook walls and twitter posts are flooded with information and messages to help in the speedy recovery of the disaster struck families and communities. Although it looks like a general thing on the surface, it has demonstrated the youths’ passion for nation building.
Contrary to the existing belief that youths are concerned only with their future and are least bothered about the nation, the demonstration of youth volunteerism has disseminated a positive message to the society and the nation as a whole. Perhaps the most important one is the strong self will and determination leading to the desired outcome.
Likewise, the spirited youths have proved that commitment and hard work without expecting anything in return are crucial to the successful implementation of any project or programme. In fact, there is now a ray of optimism and hope for the nation, particularly with the youths showing the readiness to shoulder bigger responsibilities for nation building.
n this scenario, it is vital for the state to come up with short-term and long-term policies and programmes to mainstream the youths in the process of national rebuilding. Tapping the talents of emerging young human resources like engineers and researchers, among others, to achieve this objective, the state needs to integrate their talents, skills and innovation into the larger system of policy making and implementation.
Revamping the National Youth Policy to accomodate the growing concern of youths should be a priority. Rather than a subtle acknowlegement of youths as change agents, providing tangible opportunities to contribute for the socio-economic development of a nation is a must. Accomodating the agendas of the youths who comprise 38.8% of the total population for a better and prosperous future of the nation is urgent. At a time when the entire nation is in need of a social and economic overhaul, reviewing the youth policy requires serious attention.
Creating productive employment opportunities for the youths with focus on local enterprise development can trigger the national economy. To accomplish this task, providing relevant education and training to empower and capacitate them is needed. Moreover, formulating a pragmatic policy to retain the youths in their own country is going to be an integral factor in shaping the destiny of the nation. Unless the state can control the migration of youths to foreign countries by coming up with a proper package of employment, including fostering entrepreneurship, the path of rebuidling the nation will be strewn with difficulties.
Policies aimed at encouraging the youths in agriculture and local entrerprise development is the need of an hour. Providing loans at cheaper interest rates to encourage the youths in local enterprise would be beneficial for the economy. With GDP growth hovering around less than 4%, increasing youth employment in the productive sectors is indispensable.
Meanwhile, imparting techincal education and vocational training to encourage the youths to start small and medium-scale industries is likely to spur the process of industrialisation in the country yielding high economic growth. In this way, enhanced self-esteem and quality of life will enable the youths to contribute for the betterment of the nation.