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Saturday Oct 1, 2022

Yuwa: Shaping the youth for a better Nepal

Since its establishment, Yuwa has been helping the youth develop so that they may prosper along with the Nepalese society.


Nepalnews
2022 Mar 06, 7:49,

Youth - the future of the nation. This correlation has existed virtually forever, with children being told this from as far as their education stretches back.. However, this does create a sort of confusion as most of them don’t seem to understand what it means to be “the future”. Yuwa is an organization that has not only worked for the youth, but also advocated the aforementioned adage.

Yuwa was established in 2009, and has been run by youths ever since as a non-profit organisation. As the word “yuwa” means “youth” in Nepalese, the executive body of this organization fully comprises people ageing from 16 to 29 only. Yuwa works in promoting the youth of the nation to participate at all levels, from local to international.

“Ages 16 to 29 is when a person is most creative,” says Abarta Pandey, the program manager at Yuwa. “Everyone must try to capitalize on their thoughts and ideas as far as possible during this time. This is how Yuwa functions and creates a platform for the younger people of society to present their thoughts, views and plans into action.”

Over the course of time, Yuwa has had several thematic areas. These are areas where the organization focuses on the holistic development of the youth, and so have several projects under each of them. At present, Yuwa has three thematic areas - Active Citizenship, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and Research Unit.

A program conducted by Yuwa on menstruation. Photo: YUWA
A program conducted by Yuwa on menstruation. Photo: YUWA

Active Citizenship

Active Citizenship works to make the youth “active citizens'' of the country. In other words, it works in making them responsible citizens by giving them platforms to lead and participate in society. One of the most prominent projects under Active Citizenship is Youth with Migrant Workers for Advocacy and Accountability (YMWAA). Over the course of this project, Yuwa has worked with 10 youth advocates from the Far-Western province to learn and spread information on the struggles migrant workers face in our country ever since the pandemic. The YMWAA project also raises important problems and questions to the attention of local governments of the region and also suggests solutions to the problems.

Another project under Active Citizenship is Yuwa Awashar, which sticks true to the spirit of Yuwa. Yuwa Awashar supports and provides a platform for any idea or change that one wishes to bring to society. Similarly, Pahichan is a training program for kids in rural areas for a hope of a better tomorrow. Finally, at the heart of all these projects is Yuwa Manthan, meetings where the team is joined by an expert in identifying the problems the youth face. This project is what keeps Yuwa up-to-date on all issues and helps them tackle them accordingly.

Pahichan - a training program for children. Photo: YUWA
Pahichan - a training program for children. Photo: YUWA

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Right (SRHR)

SRHR is identified as one of the most important areas, especially given the context of Nepal. In a largely conservative country with most talks on sex alone remaining a taboo, SRHR covers a large range of issues from comprehensive sexuality education to gender equality and equity.

Shreya Shrestha, the program coordinator of SRHR, says, “Sex education in Nepal is lagging behind drastically compared to most other nations. The problem further gets worse since Health, as a subject, has been made optional for students in grades 9 and 10. Even the content that is taught is not enough. This is because sex education is taught only from the health perspective and not from the perspectives of individuals, where children must be taught about the rights they hold and what are healthy actions and communication.”

One of the simplest yet most effective projects of Yuwa is Khulla Aakash. Khulla Aakash is an open discussion where one can ask questions, exchange experiences or just share anything they have to say when it comes to any topic that falls under sex. There is absolutely no judgement and this frees up individuals instead of making them feel uncomfortable and silent.

A more direct and concentrated project is Reaching Out Young Minds (ROYM), where students are taught about specific problems related to sex and sexuality. This includes health-based problems, like sexually transmitted diseases, to broader social problems, such as gender- and sexuality-based discriminations.

A session on comprehensive sexuality education. Photo: YUWA
A session on comprehensive sexuality education. Photo: YUWA

Research Unit

Yuwa’s Research Unit promotes courses based on credit hours. In a way, it is a center for the youth to study. This area allows one to conduct studies and research on various issues that youth come across.

One of the most detailed studies Yuwa has conducted is the Violence Against Women In Parliament (VAWIP) in Nepal, which has examined the personal stories of female parliamentarians and come to a conclusion on how gender stereotypes play out even on the largest national stage. The study concluded that women in parliament are often abused emotionally and have their voices suppressed even when it comes to discussions of the simplest things in parliament.

Among the courses promoted by the Research Unit, the Centre for Youth Studies (CYS) has been their most prominent, with ten batches of students taught so far. The CYS course teaches about concepts of socio-political levels, research, business, networking, and life skills.

Yuwa has given a voice for the youth for over 12 years now, and will continue to do so. With the current generation of young people expected to steer Nepal to a brighter future, an organization with the scope, aim and achievements such as Yuwa is almost certainly what the country needs.

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