In the first episode of the Social Innovation Asia podcast, Dipendra KC talks with Michael Waitze about his experience founding and running a youth organisation in Nepal, and a new masters degree program of Social Innovation and Sustainability at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University.
When Dipendra and his friends were seeking work experience as young college students, they kept being asked if they had any experience. They didn’t, so they built an organisation through which they could get that experience. Its called Yuwa, which means ‘youth’ in Nepali and has the objective of giving young, like-minded Nepalese a platform to explore and experiment with their ideas for social change.
It began as an organisation of five unpaid, young students with no external capital and has become an organisation with 10 full-time staff, 100 active members, funding of four to five hundred thousand US dollars per year while reaching out to 5,000 young Nepalese around the county on an annual basis. Through Yuwa, Nepalese youth have been able to impact government policy.
After Yuwa, Dipendra is embracing his passion for innovations in development and his fascination with big data for his Doctorate degree. He recently published a paper based on a study of around 40,000 NGOs in Nepal, which examined what determines their location and whether they are positioned where they are really needed.
At the School of Global Studies, he is also heading up a new Masters of Social Innovation and Sustainability. Targeted at working professionals, it will be run at the Thammasat University’s city campus on weekends and one weekday evening. Dipendra explains how the course will be problem-focused and give students the opportunity to examine problems from their real-world experience and develop solutions in an open, hands-on, and exploratory academic setting.
Just as Yuwa was turned into a platform for young Nepalese, Dipendra has a vision that the Masters in Social Innovation and Sustainability will be a springboard for people creating careers as social innovators and sustainability experts. You can learn more about the program by clicking here.