Now It’s Our Turn: Future Makers Nepal

July 13, 2015 , by DREAMS, 1 Comment
Now It’s Our Turn: Future Makers Nepal » My Dreams Mag
Two words that would perfectly sum up the likelihood of Nepal embarking on the process of “rebuilding” after the devastating 7.8 Richter scale earthquake of 12th Baisakh, 2072 are “future” and “makers” - that hopeful attitude mixed with that do-er determination. Nepal has always had the culture of “makers” - from the carved, wooden beams that were holding together our cultural heritages to the zinc-sheet, semi-dome temporary structures that were built post-quake - these are symbolic of how the maker culture is inculcated in various communities (with their unique touch) in Nepal. No matter how bleak the future seemed few months ago when houses started to fall, hope soon rose above and people started to respond beyond the call of humanity. So, in a way, Future Makers Nepal is rightly named at this time of greater responsibilities being undertaken by people from different walks of life.

Future Makers Nepal is organizing “Future Makers Challenge – Aba Hamro Paalo”, a challenge calling for the creatives and the creators to put their minds together to think of new leadership that can transform the path of progress for Nepal. We met up with the entire team of FMN to discuss about what the challenge and the community is all about.
So, what does Future Makers Nepal exactly mean?
Dipti: Future Makers Nepal is all about community building through series of experiments – testing different modules of gathering from an unconference, which is a fluid platform that allows people to create their own sessions and break down the hierarchy of “the conference”; or a workshop. Semi-structured in nature, the workshop allows its participants to learn, express, and share skills like writing or speaking; or a challenge which would require a certain amount of creativity to dig a bit deeper. Through FMN, we are hoping to seed the idea of how combined effort can lead to ideas that can transform the future of Nepal.
Who are in the team of FMN currently?
Anubhuti: Well, this is a project run by Edgeryders and supported by the UNDP. Our team includes Matthias, Natalia, Anubhuti, Meena, and Dipti. All of us have diverse expertise, from journalism to open data, conflict studies to anthropology! What is exciting about the team is that we are passionate about expression. We are working to tell stories that have inspired us and we are encouraging people to do the same. So far, our website and events have witnessed the incredible possibility in Kathmandu – possibility of citizen journalism, alternative leadership and most importantly, freedom of expression.
How did Edgeryders land in Nepal?
Natalia: That was a gradual and adventurous landing. First, we were invited by UNDP Nepal and that started long procedure of discussing the right project in the present political and social circumstances. In my case it took organising a conference in Italy and meeting Matthias with whom we decided to take the challenge. It also took a few earthquakes and aftershocks, which obviously had an impact on our work and priorities in Nepal. Seeing how citizens of Nepal react to crisis and disaster was a great lesson and we couldn’t miss this learning and sharing opportunity. Future Makers Nepal immediately started digging into spontaneous organisation and inception of various relief movements, and things evolved dynamically in different directions, revealing vast potential for creative, edge-cutting work in this country. We landed on an extremely fertile ground in terms of social energy and enthusiasm, that’s for sure.
So, what is the main focus of the “Future Makers Challenge -Aba Hamro Paalo”?
Annu: Future Makers Challenge – Aba Hamro Paalo is a unique opportunity to express your opinion. We give contestants the liberty to tell us what they are thinking using any media that suits them. They can use photography, videography or words to talk about the topic that we have chosen. The topic in itself is vast, most definitely to encourage exciting entries that can reach us, through freedom that a broad topic allows. We want people to really go far and wide and tell us stories that are both important and interesting. This challenge wishes to discover your views on leadership, organization for progress and development of Nepal as a whole and so on. The area of focus, well, it is for you to decide!
How do you define alternative leadership in the context of Nepal and also in relation to the global movements?
Meena: Leadership in Nepal appears to be torn between the major issue of either to keep old style politics of patronage or to adopt the newly emerging civic and voluntary groups and institution who can bring change for the overall betterment of the country. In that sense, in the context of Nepal ,alternative leadership is all about developing a particular strength, a particular base of citizenry who can work towards solving the major issues concerning to stability, strengthening democracy, ensuring peace and prosperity, who are adaptable to the changing situation and above all that particular strength of people which can end the existent neo-patrimonial culture. Well, the quality of any form of alternative leadership should be adaptability–an ability to act according to the changing circumstances and an ability to change their attitudes and behaviors too. This very basic quality is what most of the leaders who led global movements (Mandela for instance) possessed.

Dipti: For me, alternative leadership is rooted in the social life that we are such a big part of. I was talking to a friend about this and realized, we are so oblivious to the people in our community – the unlikely leaders – who are perhaps doing something about as simple as solving the problem of waste management by organizing a weekly waste gathering system, or someone who fixes problems that we encounter but never bother to resolve in our daily lives, or someone who actively participates in community meetings and raises important issues. It can be anyone of us – just like the unrealized potential – with the right amount of drive and resources, you can become an alternative leader.

The final event – what is it trying to achieve?
Matthias: We want to show that Nepal has more and other kinds of leaders than what is obvious to most citizens. We want to encourage young changemakers (esp. those participating in the challenge) to become such “alternative leaders”, by putting them in contact with those who had a positive impact on Nepal by choosing this path before. The event will be a way to connect with like-minded people, because we know that where they come together, ideas start to take flight.

Dipti: In the final event, which is going to take place on the 25th of July, 2015, we have invited people from various fields like technology, governance, politics, youth leadership, culture and arts because. The people we invite not just only make a difference in these fields but in the way leadership can be reimagined in Nepal. We are hopeful that if a platform like Future Makers Nepal exists, it can enable the public to meet these leaders in a space that has no barriers of bureaucracy or power dynamics that would intimidate the public to voice their ideas out.

What is there in future for the Future Makers Nepal team?
Matthias: We will take time to discuss this in detail together during the final event. But I want to share some bright ideas for the future that we had in our team. Citizen journalism seems to become quite a thing in Nepal now. We can imagine that Future Makers Nepal could be a citizen media platform, collecting blog posts etc. by citizen journalists, to share them with a broader audience. This platform would also provide tutorials and tools for ongoing citizen journalists, and possibly even a way to support their work without money – I invented something for this.

Natalia: We have a lot of ambitious ideas – but one of the key goals is to make people express themselves comfortably and freely in the virtual space. Three months of encouraging people to write on the platform made us realise that this is a pretty massive project on its own – and because in the team we all share passion for writing, we agree something needs to be done about it. Besides, we have two more concepts – to create a physical space, alternative and independent, and to build sort of offline internet in the remote areas. As you see, our ideas vary and deal with different issues we find urgent or relevant in our field of expertise. And we’re looking forward to coming back next year and making them happen.

So this is their story! They met at a time when the country was probably the most confused (and yet resolute) about rebuilding and then they started sharing stories, some inspirational and some downright heroic. Now they are ready to take a step ahead and look into the future of Nepal that probably is brighter and better than what we ever thought was possible. The challenge is just one of the ways to bring these immense possibilities in front of us. We are excited to see what they do next. But more than that, we are excited to see what Nepalese people have to say through their initiatives!

You can find more details about the Future Makers Nepal and its projects here
To participate in the “Future Makers Challenge – Aba Hamro Paalo”, all you have to do is click here (Soon! The deadline is 20th July, 2015).
You can also email them at natalia@edgeryders.eu or matthias@edgeryders.eu if you have any queries. 


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Categorised in: Interviews

One comment on “Now It’s Our Turn: Future Makers Nepal

  1. THOMAS KELLY says:

    Wonderful effort.

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