A study conducted by the International Labour Organization in 2014, presented that most Nepalese youths face problems securing employment. One reason for this could be the social inequality that has existed for a long time in the Nepalese society.
Social Inequality refers to the situation where resources within the society aren’t shared equally between people. Among young people, unequal access to information regarding training and jobs, compounded with rampant nepotism have created a divide in job seekers, leading to hiring of unskilled manpower and a perpetuation of inherited professions.
Many people in power in Nepal limit the distribution of opportunities. Therefore, opportunities that are meant to reach grassroots youths for their empowerment do not reach them. Moreover, government institutions, private institutions and civil society that create opportunities are only within the reach of youths who are within their network and possess inherited wealth. As with the segregation of people into various occupation classes due to social inequality, other aspects of life also follow a similar course. As a result, our society is divided between two groups; one participating in opportunity and the other excluded from the opportunity. The latter group are whom I refer to as marginalized youth groups in opportunity.
Though the federal law has guaranteed equal opportunities in employment, the reality is quite different. It upsets me when I see my neighbor who had to leave Nepal for Japan for foreign employment. In Nepal, he couldn’t get a suitable job, for which he blamed the practice of “Aafno Manche” (Nepotism). There are many people like him who do not have Aafno Manche in the Government administration, political parties and private companies, and usually they are the ones that fail to secure employment and remain marginalized. The famous Anthropologist Dor Bahadur Bista in his book “Fatalism and Development” also presented the issue of socio-cultural practices like Aafno Manche and Chakari for Nepal’s struggle for Modernization.
From my own experience working with youths for the past 5 years, I have seen that the lack of a proper platform to inform and disseminate youths regarding available opportunities has furthered the rise of inequality in employment.
In combating this, there are a few ideas that I have been practicing through Youth Opportunities Nepal (YO Nepal), a platform that is dedicated to providing equal opportunities to young people across Nepal. I have been leading this platform since 2018.
Breaking The Opportunity Divide
Breaking The Opportunity Divide is the advocacy campaign that I introduced in 2019 through Youth Opportunities Nepal to educate young people about the issue of Opportunity Inequality. Through this campaign, I have been providing a space for many grassroots youths to share their stories of struggles and challenges while getting access to opportunities. By 2021, this campaign has reached more than 14,000 youths. Many young people have already gotten job opportunities through this platform.
Creating an Inclusive Society
A society that holds the idea of inclusion and advocates for the participation of all people without any discrimination and restrictions is an Inclusive Society. Youth Opportunities Nepal is an open online platform that encourages the participation of youths from every corner of the country to thereby establish an inclusive youth society. The opportunities that are posted within the platform are accessible to everyone who is a part of the YO Nepal community. Moreover, the platform also empowers many young people within the community to share opportunities outside it so that people who aren’t aware about Youth Opportunities Nepal can also be a part of the community, and further their learning, growth and inclusion in opportunities.
(Tej Raj Upreti is an MPhil. Scholar of Development Studies at Kathmandu University School of Education. His research interests lie in Inequality, Women Empowerment, Social Innovation, Capacity Building, and Social Entrepreneurship.)