As a consequence of 11 year long violent armed conflict, more and more people were displaced from their villages. There was a huge threat of insecurity for youths in particular as they were pressured by the rebels to join their cadre. Many of these youths fled their hometowns in the middle of the night in search of a relatively safer places for them are the bigger cities and in adjoining India. In these cases, youths are forced to drop out of schools and colleges. They left their families and social networks behind and find themselves with no source of income, work or opportunity to continue their studies. They are also dealing with high levels of psychological trauma putting them at additional risk.

It is important that these youths are provided with the opportunity to learn and sustain them emotionally and practically. Therefore, feeling the urgency to provide such displaced youth with a learning space and a positive environment, Nagarik Aawaz initiated the Displaced Youth Volunteer Support Program (DYVP) after thoughtful internal homework.

Capitalizing on youths is also important because of their productive age and vulnerable stage of life and, as the saying goes, in order to “save seeds in times of famine” it is equally important to save “Youth in times of war”.

Programme goal

To provide a safety net to the displaced youth so that they can be taken from a place of anger and revenge to one of forgiveness, thus enabling them to work as effective reconstruction workers and peace ambassadors.

Objectives

  • To develop necessary and practical skills of the youth volunteers
  • To broaden the youths’ understanding of development and peace building
  • To provide emotional and psychological support to the youth volunteers

Outcome of the Program

  • It won Ashoka/Changemakers Innovation Award 2005 for How to Build a More Ethical Society Competition. 11 top finalists, selected from a field of 79 competition entries from 32 countries competed for this award.
  • 167 youths, from 9 batches – each batch comprising of 20 to 22 displaced youths have successfully graduated.
  • Single women of every batch are provided with additional support till date.
  • 14 youths were selected for 10th batch that comprises of 9 women and 5 men from different districts of Nepal.
  • The self evaluation from graduate youths reveal that the programme has highly assisted them in minimizing the feeling of desperation and revenge, in improving their health, behavior and confidence; and stabilizing them emotionally, with an increased understanding of peace building and development. All the graduates have expressed their commitment for peace.
  • 13 Youths were mobilized as Peace Ambassadors in different districts and 4 youths are currently working as Peace Ambassador/Peace Builders in Gorkha, Dhading, Rupandehi and Kapilbastu.
  • NA’s Sahakarya Shantiko (A joint initiatives for Peace) partners, CDF in Doti and Support Nepal in Janakpur, initiated similar programmes in their districts with seed grants from NA. Five partner organizations in Ilam, Surkhet, Doti, Dhanusha and Bajura have initiated similar programmes adopting it according to the local context, under the Communities for Peace Program (CFP).
  • As a part of the advocacy campaign and larger women’s campaign for constitution drafting, the 9th batch youth volunteers of NA’s Displaced Youth Volunteer Program performed street dramas. The street dramas were performed in 7 places in three districts of Kathmandu valley.
  • Graduates youths have also complemented to peace building by initiating and leading community based youth organizations as a part of continuity to peace building initiatives.
  • Youth has been motivated to work in community as a peace worker
  • Stability of youths in terms of financial, psychosocial aspects and continuity of education