Accountapreneurship in Nepal
This piece is an edited version of an interview originally published in Republica on December 25th, 2012 at: http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=47101
Accountapreneurship in Nepal: How can You be Involved?
KATHMANDU, Dec 24: “There are plenty of Nepalis with brilliant ideas, but these do not always have the support they need to move from conception to implementation,” says Blair Glencorse, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Lab.
The Accountability Lab, which has been established in Nepal and Liberia, has introduced the concept of ‘accountapreneurship’ in Nepal, with an aim to support innovative and sustainable ideas that focus on issues of accountability. The Lab has been working extensively with the youth in Nepal. Below, Glencorse talks about the Lab, its work and its involvement with Nepali Youth.
What is the Accountability Lab doing in Nepal, especially with regard to engaging youth on accountability issues?
The Accountability Lab is supporting civil society groups in Nepal to develop new accountability tools and ideas. For example, we are working with student leaders, professors and the Teachers’ Union, the administration and members of the political parties at Tribhuvan University to build consensus on how to address the problems that students face on campus.
We are also working with GalliGalli (www.galligalli.org) to crowd-source information on public universities and create a web-based tool that can act as an up-to-date resource and portal for students on university processes.
The Lab has also developed a toolkit on use of the Right to Information (RTI) law with the Citizens Campaign for the Right to Information, and will soon work with young journalists to develop these materials; and we are thinking about the development of a micro-blogging tool that youth can use to discuss accountability issues online and through SMS messages through what we are calling the @ccountability Initiative.
What role does youth play in creating transparency and accountability in a country like Nepal?
I think youth plays an absolutely critical role in transparency and accountability issues in a country like Nepal, where the youth constitute a significant proportion of the population. Young people tend to be creative, energetic and networked and these are qualities that are essential to generating new accountability approaches. Ultimately, youth are the decision-makers and power-holders of the future, and it is essential that they have the knowledge and skills they need to ensure that the country fulfills its significant potential.
Tell us about the Nepal Accountapreneurship Fund. Who does it target and what is its main objective?
The Nepal Accountapreneurship Fund (NAF) works to identify, fund, support and reward cutting-edge approaches to accountability issues from the grass-roots upwards. It was established about two months ago and has had fantastic response. The Fund can be accessed by anyone, although there is an emphasis on ideas that come from youth. The NAF acts as a sounding board for ideas from what we call “accountapreneurs”, those being individuals, groups or organizations that demonstrate an entrepreneurial approach to accountability issues. It provides catalytic grants to these accountapreneurs for small-scale, innovative and sustainable approaches to accountability, supports implementation of ideas through training, mentoring, and networking, and ensures sustainability through connecting accountapreneurs to additional local and national funding sources.
The application process is rolling, so interested individuals or organizations can apply any time, but the selection committee will choose an initial group of 2-3 ideas for support at the end of December.
For more information on Accountability Lab, and how you can be involved, and to apply to the NAF, visit http://www.accountabilitylab.org