Building Capacities of Youth to Promote Social Cohesion in Nepal

On 30 June 2022, UNESCO’s Kathmandu office together with UNESCO New Delhi, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) and the section for Inclusion, Rights, and Dialogue from UNESCO Headquarters, organized a training opportunity for young peacebuilders, educators, and community and civil society leaders in Nepal.

The session in Nepal was part of UNESCO’s regional ‘Engaging Youth for Social Cohesion’ series, and followed previous sessions in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Bhutan to train community leaders and peacebuilders on innovative ways to strengthen social cohesion, dialogue and resilience in their communities.

The session gathered 75 participants from various parts of Nepal, including universities, community learning centers and indigenous grassroots organizations; and provided them with methodologies to help develop social and emotional skills and intercultural competencies (including empathy, respect and listening for understanding), especially among youth.

The workshop introduced two UNESCO methodologies: Story Circles and scenario-based learning.

Through the Story Circles activity, a methodology based on the indigenous tradition of sitting in a circle, the participants were provided with a space to share personal experiences and to empower them with skills to communicate across differences.

Then through an interactive scenario that touched on challenges to social cohesion, the community leaders practiced skills related to inclusive conflict prevention, resolution and transformation, through engaging in dialogue and negotiation among different interest groups.

The young and civil society leaders will be supported after the series to take these approaches to their own communities and contexts. With access to a regional platform for knowledge sharing and a series of peer-support sessions, UNESCO will help the participants to engage over 1,000 youth in Nepal and help strengthen their socio-emotional resilience.