Youth Engagement

Civic Participation
Children and Youth

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Youth in Federal Discourse

Model Assemblies: Empowering tomorrow’s leaders through civic engagement in Nepal


The Problem
The absence of performance tracking and policy debates, alongside widespread voter disengagement and apathy, presents formidable barriers to democratic governance in Nepal. Many candidates neglect the significance of manifestos, failing to inform voters adequately and resulting in uninformed electoral choices. Voters are also not aware of what democracy means, how representation is ensured and how a single vote can change the present as well as future of the country. Furthermore, a persistent trend of youth disinterest in politics over the past decade exacerbates these challenges. This collective disengagement undermines fundamental democratic principles such as transparency, accountability, and effective representation, casting shadows over Nepal's democratic process. Addressing these issues requires concerted efforts to promote informed voting, enhance political participation among youth, and uphold democratic values, ultimately paving the way for a more inclusive and vibrant democratic system in the country.  

The Approach
To improve democratic practices in Nepal, Youth in Federal Discourse (YFD) launched the Model Assemblies project, in 2019. The project has been actively engaging academic institutions across Bagmati and Lumbini Provinces in Nepal, with plans for expansion into Gandaki Province. Collaborating with prestigious universities like Lumbini Buddhist University and Kathmandu School of Law, as well as high schools and colleges, YFD targets youth, recognizing them as future change-makers in Nepal's social and political landscape. Through workshops, model parliaments, and law-making sessions led by experienced MPs, participants gain a deep understanding of democratic processes and parliamentary responsibilities. YFD's flagship event, the Model Assemblies, immerses youth in a four-day program where they simulate federal, provincial, and local parliamentary sessions, fostering practical experience and civic engagement. Notably, participants' performances are evaluated, fostering a culture of accountability, and incentivizing active participation in shaping Nepal's democratic future. At the program's conclusion, bills are drafted, with amendments prepared and forwarded to relevant bill presenters, demonstrating its commitment to tangible legislative impact and empowering youth in shaping Nepal's democratic future.  

The Impact

  • More than 2,000 youth from diverse backgrounds, including over 1,200 young women, have participated in YFD's Model Assemblies, gaining a comprehensive understanding of democratic parliamentary systems. 

  • Past participants of YFD's programs have transitioned into active civic roles, serving as election observers, informed voters, and even contesting in local-level elections 

  • Schools that have hosted Model Assemblies have integrated the program into their yearly curriculum, indicating a growing institutional awareness of the necessity to instill democratic values in students. 

  • Over 25 Model Assemblies conducted by YFD in the last five years have targeted youth starting at age 14, resulting in significant personal empowerment. Participants have actively engaged in governance discussions, with some becoming executive members of YFD and leading their own Model Assemblies. 

The Future
YFD's future goals include enhancing Model Assemblies by integrating bill drafting and fostering a comprehensive understanding of governance processes. Expansion plans extend to all provinces of Nepal, broadening the program's reach. Moreover, YFD aims to diversify participants beyond students, ensuring engagement across society.