Sunday Sep 25, 2022
Sunday Sep 25, 2022

The youth agenda suffers as Election fervour rises

It is of the highest priority that we begin to listen to the problems and opinions of our nation’s youth while forming policies and electing administrative representatives

2022 May 05, 6:02, Kathmandu, Nepal

The buildup to the latest local level elections has seen political parties in full publicity swing, bouncing from street corner to street corner chanting their manifesto operatives. May that be promises of better garbage disposals, water plans, or community service strategies: the vying parties are out pandering to the common people promising them what should be their birthright in a functioning society. While these promises are far-reaching and generally have a rather wide mandate, one crucial aspect seems lax in almost every other manifesto presented by our community leaders: the lack of youth representation and general ignorance of the youth agenda.

“The simple matter of fact is that involving the youth in as many levels of administration as possible is the way to move forward,” says Asmita Thapa, the Election and Civic Projects Manager at the Association of Youth Organizations Nepal(AYON). The youth today face a plethora of problems, the more common national agendas of electricity, water, and basic needs shall always persist but the need to address the growing ignorance towards issues pertaining to the youth is palpable.

May it be addressing the deepening employment crisis facing the youth of our nation or the more prominent matters of brain drain, low pay, and worker-exploitation, the list is unending. While the leaders continue to shun the voice and plight of the youth and cater to their more mundane matters in their operatives, the youth continue to be disheartened by the state of their nation and hence move onto greener pastures abroad.

                             The youth are ready to take responsibility for the next generation. We’re more aware and informed about the world and the political sphere. When it comes to the elections themselves it is quite evident that there is a general lack of voter education in the nation that causes a lot of votes to go invalid maybe causing a large disparity in the gendered statistics when it comes to election results.” shares Krispi Jain, one of the active, inquisitive youth primed to make an impact on society.

Learning from precedence itself, the last Local Level elections yielded an overwhelming majority of the young voters. OF the 15,427, 938 voters around 60 percent of the voters in 2017, amounting to a whopping 8071369 voters were of the 18-40 age category. With 2280912 of the voters belonging to the 18-24 age group and 5790457 voters in the 25-40 age group. Yet despite holding a significant sway in the vote, the youth agenda still falls behind.

“It is quite evident that the youth are ready to make a big splash in the nation's general working process if given the chance, they’re really intelligent and aware they simply need a level playing field to begin impacting such change.” further elaborates Asmita Thapa from AYON. AYON itself conducts a plethora of community outreach and political integration programs for its young members. Spread across 8 districts now, Thapa informs that the AYON’s junior champions, selected through various competitions, are integrated into local government bodies and actively engage in surveys, research, and advising the local leaders when it comes to policymaking and directive drafting.

The integration of the youth into the local level, much like in the AYON model, must be integrated into decision-making beginning from the grassroots level. “The youth educate the youth, they’re more open to new ideas and change, our youth’s conduct voter education and advise on budget planning committees. Similarly, the other active youth members of our society must advocate for their place, demand their place in these structures of government,” concludes Thapa.

While the fact that the freshness, change, and overall efficiency that including the youth opinion/voice during policy forming brings is evident. And the need to address youth issues by listening to them is of high priority, leaders vying for spots in this local election must realise the fact sooner, before they lose the vote of the young guns and more importantly the trust of the youth in their rigid unyielding promises.


youth agenda youth voice youth issues Employment low-pay politics local level elections
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