Prakash Khadka

 

Role: Freelancer and Executive Director at Jagriti Child and Youth Council Nepal (JCYCN)
Active in Country: Nepal
DTP Alumnus: 2011 21st Annual Program in Timor-Leste


Currently I'm working freelance and being hosted as an executive director in one of the local NGOs in Kathmandu, the Jagriti Child and Youth Council Nepal (JCYCN). I help them with developing and managing new projects and also running their offices. JCYCN emerged from Nepal’s first child club.

 

The major focus of the NGO is to advocate on child rights issues. But since my arrival, we have expanded our area, the scope. We also work on humanitarian aspects, like disasters, and community development, rural development; and we continue our advocacy work. Plus safer migration, that's one of another important projects we do, to promote safer migration because Nepal sends a lot of migrant workers to the Gulf and Malaysia.

 

The focus of the migration program is about working with the community and family members of migrant workers. Like giving them financial literacy classes, helping them with developing skills before they go for any overseas jobs, and also providing psychosocial support to the families of migrant workers. So it’s skill building and also helping them with developing a small enterprise back home. It's a mix of everything!

 

In terms of child rights, we advocate for overall child protection, child development and child growth. We work in collaboration with many different stakeholders in-country at the national level. One of the very prominent projects we have been working on is as a secretariat for a forum on child friendly local government. At the ground level, we have a child empowerment project which is basically about empowering children in the community, especially girls. So this is about the children.

 

Politically at the moment, there is a lot of instability in Nepal as usual but with the stakeholders like government officials, we have very good rapport. That's why we work in very good collaboration with the government offices on child-related issues.

 

My involvement in human rights began in 2002. I'm a Catholic by faith and through the Pax Romana, I got a lot of training and many other things. In the eight years of my full-time involvement as a member with the Pax Romana, I was inspired to engage with social justice and human rights. So that was my starting point. As well as my work, I have written quite a few articles on human rights and social justice, especially for the UCA News.

 

I did the DTP training in 2011 in Timor-Leste. It was fantastic. I had been to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2010 for a full month, attending all the sessions, and that was a very new, very different culture and I could hardly catch what was going on in there. But when I got this DTP training and I could relate the classes to the practical experience in Geneva the previous year, I could understand very well, that's why it was very, very fruitful to understand the UN mechanisms.

 

Later, in 2015, we had a very big youth-led NGO coalition in Nepal. There were around 75 stakeholders from all over the country, joining together writing reports on eight different thematic issues and I was coordinating stakeholders and processes. We also significantly engaged in the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process and had a delegation to Geneva. So I know a little bit about the UN environment.

 

For the UPR process, we had a few recommendations: on child rights, Dalit rights, youth rights, freedom of religion or belief (even though that's quite political at international level), and on migrant worker issues. The recommendations we provided were picked up by some of the main organizations and member countries like Australia, the USA, Canada and Spain.

 

You have to go through a lot of hardship if you work for human rights. There are a lot of issues you have to engage with; you may get trouble and you may be retaliated against by some people. I’m talking about my experience. You have to be prepared mentally for retaliation, if you want to really engage with human rights issues. Nepal is a highly corrupt country, in every sector there is corruption. When you speak about this kind of issue, then easily you get targeted.

 

In terms of policy formulation, the human rights situation has improved a little in Nepal. But in terms of implementation, it is quite frustrating. Just having policy on paper doesn't mean that the human rights situation has improved. Here in Nepal, until and unless you have political access or access to power, it’s hard to get things done. People may think that the situation has been improved because we can advocate, but for me as a human rights worker, I would say a lot of things still remain undone.

 

 

Profile written April 2021