In this episode of the Social Innovation podcast Dipendra KC talks with Michael Waitze about his experience founding and running a youth organization 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 our work experience as young college students, they kept being asked if they had any experience. They didn’t have any so they went about building an organization through which they could experience. Its called Yuwa, which simply means youth in Nepali and has the objective of giving young like-minded Nepalese a chance to explore and experiment with their ideas for social change.

It began as an organization of five unpaid young students with no external capital and has become an organization with 10 fulltime 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.

As for the impact of Yuwa, Didpendra reflected on the learnings and experience gained by what he calls the “graduates” of Yuwa. But it has done much more. Through Yuwa, Nepalese youth like himself have been able to impact government policy. Dipendra cites the case where members were active in changing the national education curriculum to include topics such as sexual reproduction rights and alternate gender identities.

In his life 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. In his role as a lecture, he is bringing his first-hand experience of analyzing big data to his student and opening their mind to insights they can gain by using statistical tools to understand economic, social, and political change at national and global levels.

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.