Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today.
Today, 1.7 billion people i.e. more than one fourth of the world’s six billion people are between the ages of 10-24, making this group of young people the largest ever to be entering adulthood. In Nepal, 60 percent of country’s population is assumed to be below 25 years of age. The populace of youths (16-40 years; as defined by National Youth Policy of Nepal, 2010) accounts for 38.8 percent of the total population and these cohorts represent a critical constituency for shaping of nation’s future. These youths are the pioneers of socio-cultural, political and economic reform. They are the crucial segments of nation’s development.
It is an undeniable fact that the current situation of Nepali youths is miserable, characterized by extreme discrepancies in terms of political, economic, educational, technological, social and cultural resources, which vary extremely across regions, localities and population groups. Current opportunities of Nepali youths for political participation are unsatisfactory, coupled with limited chances of involvement in developmental actions, entrepreneurships and limited space available for social participation. Moreover, the government’s readiness to materialize the potentiality of youth leadership in the reform of the country and ensure the active participation of the youths in each and every process of state functionality is at question.
Despite the contribution of youths to this country is not adequately recognized, they have continuously been struggling to make a difference as activists, as leaders in community transformation, as entrepreneurs in economic growth and by indefatigable degree of volunteerism.
Youths are the backbone of Nepalese political system. The Nepali youths have rendered an outstanding contribution to every political change, founding of democracy and other social movements in Nepal. No doubts, the success behind every of these social movements and political change are attributable to youths’ participation. However, the participation of youths is to some level confined to street politics with intent to consolidate the vested interests of political elite. Therefore, the meaningful participation of the youths in political force is yet to be ensured. Nepal can certainly rely on this young generation for the overall upliftment of the country provided an opportunity is given to them to serve the nation.
The young generations around the country, still today are raising their massive voices, seeking their decisive roles in developmental actions, and are urging political leaders to act upon their concerns regarding democracy, peace and development, employment, human rights, justice and social and political inclusiveness. The Nepali youths are also struggling to help this country curtail corruption and endorse good governance. They have a high courage of fighting for a corruption free nation by refusing to pay bribes, leading anti-corruption media campaigns, organizing youth clubs on good governance, reporting fraudulent transactions of government officials and through similar approaches. But as the Nepalese bureaucracy and political system exhibit the culture of corruption breeding corruption, the challenge is to harness the enthusiasm of youths so as to prevent themselves being fallen up into this vicious cycle. Besides, since these youth movements are characterized by fragmentation, resulting in isolated actions that do not reach their full potential, young leaders are often undermined with limited resources and undervalued by government leaders and other decision-makers. As a result, youth’s voices are unheard, their political representation is on shade and they stay behind being unequipped to fully participate in the decision-making that shape this country’s future.