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Sajana Bhadel has just obtained her Masters degree in Economics. She works as a Programme Associate at “Proposals for NGOs” and is a passionate traveller, running a youth led NGO called Girls Empowered by Travel as President. She is from a village called Changunarayan (World Heritage Site), where she was aware of many social issues, including violence against women, but was unable to do anything to address these. During the boot camp she came up with an idea of Champak Namuna Home Stay so that she can help destitute women economically.

Since the bootcamp, her homestay has served more than a hundred national and international guests and wants to expand the project within the community. She is currently looking for sustainable partnerships or collaboration opportunities with travel agencies and/or other associations to grow her business as a Passionale and Community-driven Changemaker.


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My name is Pabitra Majhi, I am a very simple, kind and funny girl whose happiness is found in small things like dancing, taking photographs and travelling but in the past few years I have also become an enthusiastic and energetic youth activist. I am pursuing a master's degree in Economics at Patan Multiple Campus, Kathmandu and very passionate in activating positive social change and youth empowerment in my country. Working as a Programme officer of a youth-led NGO Girls Empowered by Travel –Nepal, I am developing my pathway to become a changemaker.

I am driven to be an effective social entrepreneur (SE) and contribute to the economic development of the nation. Looking for good opportunities or a platform where I could enhance my knowledge, skills and explore my potentialities lead me to UAE/NEPAL/CONNECT (UNC) 2016. This became one of my major turning points where I got the opportunity to transform myself from something to many things. Through the five days of the SE training program with INNOCO and Leadership Corner, I was able to explore my inner hero self and understand better the changemaker I wanted to be for my own community and how to begin contributing to society in different ways. This event built up my confidence and motivated me to seek more people with like-minded qualities.

I began working with an NGO, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, that helped me gain further knowledge on setting up a social entrepreneurship and understanding deeper the problems the people are facing. I began to see that girl and women empowerment was an area I was passionate about and begin to take steps to work with this cause. In Feb 2017, the Nepal Youth Cluster (NYC) that was initiated at the UNC2016 program, was working towards the UNC2017 bootcamp and I was selected at the Assistant Program Coordinator to organize this 9 day entrepreneurship boot camp where 18 Nepalese youth from diverse backgrounds participated to transform themselves as a social innovator. Through my hard work and commitment, the INNOCO team, based at Zayed University, Dubai gave me a great opportunity to work as a Research Assistant for the SE research paper and documentary feature that they were producing in light of the UNC programs.

A few years ago, I was a very shy person and could not express my view and thoughts in front of other people but with the guidance and encouragement from Joanne and Yunsun, I am growing up as a social changemaker.  Later in 2017, I became one of the winners of EmpowHER 2017 organized by Ujyalo Foundation where I won half seed fund to accelerate my dream SE project Saahasi - The Brave Women in my hometown Sarlahi. Based on empathy-driven motives, this helped 10 women get basic education and I am currently doing research and seeking possible collaborations for these women to establish small micro enterprises based on local resources and be the example for other women.

In addition, I am also a U. S. Embassy Youth Council Member for 2018, which is enabling my network growth and fostering engagement with 50 youth members from diverse backgrounds to share our skills and knowledge. Recently, I along with my team successfully conducted training programmes for elected women of local government of Bhaktapur and Lalitpur to enhance and ensure the establishment of their meaningful participation in local development. Since the UNC programs, NYC has reformed and registered as the Nepal Youth Innovators (NGO), of which I was selected as a Vice President of the board members.

My mission is to ensure girls and women education in Nepal so that women are empowered to create opportunities for good leadership and equity in our nation. 

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When a group of determined youth realise their potential as changemakers, they can transform their and the lives of others for greater good as social innovators.


Nepali youth hold this potential and can cultivate other youth to become social innovators. Through ME=WE mindset and design thinking process that fosters radical collaboration by co-designing, INNOCO initiates youth to contribute to transforming their and the lives of others for greater social good and change. INNOCO is a research initiative supported by Zayed University (Dubai, UAE) that facilitates “innovation co-design” through connection + collaboration + contribution.  

UAE/NEPAL/CONNECT (UNC) commenced in 2016 with the objective of conducting a site research in Nepal to create the Nepal Youth Cluster (NYC). The goal was to co-design a 9-day social innovation bootcamp with NYC, so as to really understand and develop a program that pertained to the needs of the youth. UNC2017 bootcamp was completed by 16 Nepali youth in Kathmandu, working alongside expert facilitators from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, France and the United States. The bootcamp culminated in eight social project pitches, focusing on a wide variety of issues such as adult education, advancing new agricultural technology, women’s empowerment, eco-tourism, waste management, and promoting animal welfare. With a strong commitment for social innovation, NYC initiated to reform themselves in October 2017 to create an independent, youth-led NGO called Nepal Youth Innovators (NYI), which was registered this month in Kathmandu, Nepal. Their goal is to support the development of the member projects pitched at the UNC2017 bootcamp and further the profile of youth innovation projects for social change in the nation.

For the third consecutive year INNOCO returned to Kathmandu from 18 - 23 August 2018 for UNC2018: Reunion and Documentary Making. The reunion was a one-day event on 18 August, bringing together the changemakers from past UNC programs to share their learning in changemaking pathways. It aimed to strengthen the local support system with NYI furthering their mission, and to discuss challenges and potential steps for individual projects.

To name a few, “Champak Namuna Homestay” in the Changunarayan Municipality of Bhaktapur district is an example of one such project. Led by Sajana Bhadel, who was a UNC2017 bootcamp participant and current President of Girls Empowered by Travel NEPAL (GET NEPAL); her mission is to address the economic issues faced by women in the village and nuture a support system for them. Also, Pabitra Majhi, a UNC2016 participant from Sarlahi District and current INNOCO Research Assistant with Zayed University is a good example of the ideal NYI member. Concurrently she is a well-respected community leader and continues to enhance her project, “Saahasi - The Brave Women” aiming to empower marginalized women through education and financial independency. She credits the UNC programs run by INNOCO as fundamental to building her confidence in interacting with a wide range of local and international mentors and social sector leaders. These projects are supported by NYI under the leadership of Amrit Giri (NYI President). Through his efforts, NYI is set up as a social enterprise NGO and is working with the INNOCO team to develop a comprehensive organisational framework and vision to support all youth members and expand their ecosystem.


UNC2018 POSTER.jpeg
INNOCO and NYI at the UNC2018 Reunion at The Inn Patan, Dabar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal

INNOCO and NYI at the UNC2018 Reunion at The Inn Patan, Dabar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal



UAE/NEPAL/CONNECT(UNC) 2018 ‘Changemaker Pathway Documentary Making’

WHAT IS UNC2018: It’s a part of an action research project, ‘Designing for Social Innovation’ led by Yunsun Chung-Shin (PI), Joanne Renux and Michael Ogden (Co-PI) from Zayed University in Dubai, UAE.

PROBLEM WE ARE TACKLING: The challenging complexity of sustaining youth empowerment can be tackled through a systematic approach by designing a framework to engage young minds, provide opportunity to discover their potential, and support their actions and practices to commit to positive social change.  >> Sustaining youth empowerment is complex and challenging. Through a holistic framework and systemic approaches, engaging young minds to discover their potential and and passion by creating ecosystems to support their actions and reflection for sustaining their positive social change.

KEY QUESTION: How might we co-design an immersive, transformative, and sustainable changemaker pathway for social innovation?

OBJECTIVE: This research aims to develop a co-designing process of creating a social innovation model for changemaker pathways through a bottom-up systematic approach. It explores the model building through these aspects: 1) Pragmatic framework of ME=WE based on scientific investigation to understand the systemic relationships between self and society; 2) Immersive workshop/bootcamp program designed for youth to discover their passion and purpose; 3) Interactive documentary to capture transformative youth stories on their changemaker pathway to promote the value of resiliency; 4) Demystifying ecosystem mapping that enables sustainable growth of their projects as innovation process.

BACKGROUND STORY: INNOCO was initiated in 2016 as a platform that cultivates youth to become social innovators as a community-driven effort. INNOCO means innovation co-design through connection + collaboration + contribution. By connecting youth to local and international communities through project based learning, we foster these collaborations to help youth in UAE and Nepal to contribute to a greater good as social entrepreneurs and change agents. INNOCO is a research initiative, based in the UAE and founded by Yunsun Chung-Shin and Joanne Renaux, professors at Zayed University.

UAE/Nepal/Connect was designed to connect youth and professionals between the UAE and Nepal to collaborate and contribute to their communities as part of INNOCO intiatives. UNC2016 was a site research to build a group of youth who can co-design the social innovation camp, and UNC2017 was a 10-day bootcamp tackling the design challenge, ‘How might we create social innovation in Nepal’ which took place in Kathmandu. This co-designing process enabled INNOCO to connect with a few UAE and international facilitators to work with UAE and Nepali youth on both occasions. It also enabled Nepali youth to form Nepal Youth Innovators (NYI). In 2017, a documentary process began that recorded the Nepal youth on their journeys as changemakers. A year later, we are returning to witness the progress made by some of the youth and to capture the pathways they are taking to work towards their ideas for bringing social change for the betterment of their communities in a documentary format. Most importantly, we are looking to sustain and strengthening the relationships needed to support their explorations and celebrate their progress.




UNC (UAE-Nepal-Connect) MENTORSHIP: This mentorship is an effort to follow-up of UNC2017 to improve the mentoring ecosystem to assist the youth on their changemaker journeys. The purpose of this mentorship is to support project ideas since UNC2016. It’s our hope that through this informal mentorship opportunity, changemakers path will be strengthened and step forward towards realizing their projects.  Mentee’s learning and stories are expected to share in UNC2018 reunion and documentary interviews.

Mentorship Expectations: It’s a short-term commitment to support the current idea/project that each mentee will pursue to learn and grow with their project in summer 2018. The mentorship might continue if both parties desire.

Mentor to
- Offer 1-2 times video or chat communication via skype/messenger
- Provide specialized guidance to a mentee, according to their capacity
- Give constructive feedback on discussed areas 

Mentee to
- Be professional and respectful.mindful of  mentor’s time and effort
- Communicate clearly and be proactive in addressing areas of needs and wants
- Be accountable for deploying your project according to mentor’s advice in consultative manner
- Introduce yourself with who you are and what projects is about, why you want to make it happen, what help you need via email or messenger/whatsapp
- Arrange the first video chat about 30-45 min next week
- Figure out action plan during the conversation
- Follow-up what’s planned
- Plan a second meeting if needed
- Send a thank you message to your mentor and kindly ask if you can continue the mentor=mentee relationship
- Share what your learning/stories with NYI and INNOCO in UNC2018 Reunion

For both parties to be professional in communication and seek the advice of INNOCO / NYI if consultation is required upon a matter. 




(1) I have been selected as a council member of US Embassy Youth Council, It is a very prestigious youth council run by US Embassy Nepal. I will get an opportunity to be involved in youth engagement activities and platform to do my various projects.You can go through the below link. https://www.facebook.com/usycn/

(2) I am one of the EmpowHer 2017 winners along with three winners and I have won the seed fund of NRs 25,000to do my own project "Shahasi-The Brave Women". However, the budget of my project is NRS 50,000 so that I am applying to the various organization for the rest of fund money. Through this project, 15-20 illiterate women from the marginalized community of Sarlahi will get basic literacy class as well as various kinds of skill development training for three months. 

(3) I am participating inthe 2nd International Youth Summit happening in Pokhara representing my country along with Sajana Bhadel.


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Hi! My name is Shasank Pokharel. I am an engineering student pursuing my B.E. in Agricultural Engineering at Institute of Engineering, Purwanchal Campus. I was born 20 years ago in the city of Dharan, some 380 Km south-east of Kathmandu and have been living here ever since.

I had a really good upbringing in the peaceful vicinity of Vijayapur, a small hill-top in the eastern part of Dharan decorated with greenery and forests and blessed with some famous temples. I used to read a lot of quiz books and morning news bulletin of Radio Kantipur used to be my morning alarm. It is those two things of my childhood – quiz and news, which shaped my path by providing me with almost googol of information. Having tons of information also meant being somewhat different from my friends and I also could cash-in those information for prizes in weekly phone-in quiz shows in local stations or different competitions in my school. Information is a key to being an entrepreneur and for me it started at an early age.

The serene nature I grew up in also inspired me to be creative. It started in grade 3 when with the help of a cousin I wrote my first poem. He taught me a simple technique – rhyme the last words. “Knowledge is power; it is taller than Eiffel Tower” is what I wrote in the first stanza. That was a rather humble beginning which would achieve new heights when in grade 8, some of my poems started getting published in the weekly ‘Classroom’ section of The Kathmandu Post, Nepal’s best-selling English daily. Poetry was my way of letting emotions ooze out and showing my creativity. Creativity and being different is a must for any successful entrepreneur and for beginners like me rhyming is a way of playing safe until you start thinking like Bob Dylan.

So why do I want to be an entrepreneur? I do not have any concrete answer. I love innovating, researching and thinking out of box and even a moment’s thought of job bores me. Or maybe that comes down in genes as my dad is a successful businessman in his own rights. Or maybe even a quick thought about some of the successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Wozniak excites me. But it is definite that I want to solve existing problems in the society in the most innovative way possible and build an enterprise around that solution. Whatever may be the reason, an entrepreneur is what I want to be!

I was more focused on doing engineering projects and entrepreneurship was just a path I wanted to pursue in the future. But that changed when I participated in the UAE-Nepal Connect 2017 bootcamp where I gained some valuable insights on social entrepreneurship. With a great help from wonderful mentors like Rob, Yunsun, Joanne and Amin, I have devised my own entrepreneurial plans around honey production and beekeeping.

Our project is like an unsolved equation of entrepreneurship and innovation where both values are unknown but is required to solve the equation or successfully conclude the project. I am working with my team of college friends to create what we call a ChannelHive – an ultra-modern beehive which seemingly is easy to look after and requires much less time to harvest honey from the hive saving valuable time of farmers. By adjusting the internal frames, a channel is created inside each cell of hive when the honey has to be harvested, and honey in each cell of the frames flows below to a pipe and through the pipe it flows outside the hive.

Apart from an easy way of harvesting, we are also integrating bit-of electronics to constantly regulate internal temperature of the hive to create uniform internal temperature suitable for the bees. Since honey production is optimum when the internal temperature is maintained at 32°C to 35°C, heating and cooling elements will be used and be operated by a micro-controller which will be updated about temperature by a temperature sensor present inside the hive. Since bees only live in natural condition and leave the hive if they detect anything unnatural, it is a great risk to artificially regulate temperature. But innovators take risks, don’t they?

Our target with this project is develop an ultra-modern ChannelHive, manufacture it and provide it to the farmers at low price (around or little more than widely-used Langstroth Hive). As of now, we are in a very early stage of the project. We have designed a 3-D model of our proposed ChannelHive and have pitched it to an INGO, Helvetas Swiss Incorporation for technical and financial support to build a prototype. Moreover, INNOCO and Helvetas is also helping me and my friend from NYC, Pabitra Majhi to get certified as Biz Development Service Provider and post-certification our team API Solutions gets to be implemented as a social enterprise.

This project, although sounding more like an engineering project has its own socio-economic importance too. At present, Nepal is producing six times less honey than its production capacity and we are still importing in significant amount. Since harvesting honey is a very tedious task, commercial beekeeping has not been widely practiced. Also difficulty in maintaining healthy colony during extreme weather and climatic condition is a big problem. We are working to simplify beekeeping and save valuable resource and time of farmers. The ultimate aim is to see every farmer using our ChannelHive, inspire youths to consider beekeeping as an economically beneficial enterprise and make Nepal at least self-reliant on honey.

Moreover, growth in beekeeping is also a positive sign of good and pollution-free environment, not to mention the fact that bees exist only in pollution and chemical free environment and helps in better pollination of crops. The global scope of this project is all about creating simple and easy-to-harvest hives to motivate people to be a ‘backyard beekeeper’, someone who keeps a hive or two to produce honey for one’s own use. This will not only be beneficial to the beekeeper but also will help repopulate bees for a cleaner, greener and sustainable environment.


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Champak Namuna Home

I am Sajana Bhadel, was born and brought up in a small village, Changunarayan. I always felt blessed to live here. Changunarayan is a small village, where the majority of people are categorized in a marginalized group. I am a Chairperson of Girls Empowered by Travel (is travel a company? Then Tavel. Inc).

My village is truly beautiful, which Changunarayan is also a home of Lord Bishnu since ancient times. It is listed in the world heritage site because of its pristine beauty and traditional pagoda style. The greenery pine forest, wide range of mountain and a perfect view of the valley from the top of the hill in where diverse cultural, traditional festivals, and traditional lifestyle are well-integrated, and hospitable and lovely people are the major attraction of this village.

 However, one-third of people of the village are still living below the poverty line in spite of the potential to be. Agriculture is the main source of income, which is practiced in the traditional style. So people are living in subsistence farming, which isn't of high-value crops. In addition, our social structure is male-dominated, where women are undoubtedly the backbone of the society but unfortunately, their services and activities aren’t counted in GDP. More than half of the women are engaged in the agriculture. Women and girls have been suffering from different health and psychological issues. (why?) Early marriage, prolapsed uterus, miscarriage, and economic dependency are major causes for a girl to be prone to be easily victimized.

The role of women in the society has slowly revolutionized; women/girls are sent school and they even get the higher education. But when they are ready to land the perfect job, their parents force them to get married. In the case of a daughter in law, they are given the role to take care of household chores, bear the child and take care of the babies. They never get time to leave the house and contribute in the economic sector though they are capable. However, some of them are preventable problems in our society.

I somehow got the opportunity to attend 9 days boot camp, which was organized by INNOCO/UAE-Youth Cluster in ICA training center. I thought myself lucky to be the part of the program. The program was all about the social innovation, win-win ideas. During the workshop, I felt everyday was full of surprises, every moment energized, and brought us near to our own true potential, “ME=WE” was the most interesting and important lesson we learned. The field visit at Patale Gaun Organic Farm in order to know the food system and the importance of organic food were the unforgettable heartfelt moment.

Every participant has to pitch the project in the last day, we were asked to choose the topic three days earlier. I couldn’t sleep whole night for three days. There were so many ideas which were bursting/bubbling out but finally I had this home stay idea. Our program director, Yungsun, program facilitator Joanne and Sarah polished my ideas. These lovely people assisted me to think about critical ingredients of making social enterprise attractive and feasible.

Being a student of Economics, uplifting the economic status of my village is always in high priority of my life. So, I am trying my best to bring my dream project into reality.

Champak Namuna Home’ is a homestay social enterprise.

What is a homestay? ‘Homestay’ is simply to stay where guests stay in a local villagers’ home where they get to partake in the activities of the house and village, instead of being put up in a lodge or hotel. Guests are invited to their house as family members by the host family and get a chance to spend time with them participating any home activates and observing their customs, values, and culture. 

Homestay can be an excellent tool for the reduction of rural poverty and empowerment of the local community, for whom are marginalized and vulnerable especially brilliant women with full potential. It integrates all activities of tourism like trekking, cultural and eco-tourism. In this project, we will provide these activities, as well as focus on all aspects of women’s issues.  

Please note that Champak Namuna Home offer 

  • Cycling  
  • Local girl tour guide for cultural hike
  • Thangka class
  • Wood Carve class
  • Traditional style of making fabric or scarves
  • Research assistance for archaeological study
  • Authentic local experiences of food and cultures. 
  • Cultural experience of ancient lifestyle from 7-8th century
  • Video making of local brewery  
  • Organic garden farming
  • Cultural and local festival observations
  • Cultural exchange program
  • Special class for making felt shoes 

If you are looking for a volunteer if your answer is ‘YES’ then please join us. We offer different volunteering activities. 

  • Teaching English/Health/Environment/Physics at Public/Government school
  •  Plastic Ban campaign 
  • Traveling Edu session (Teach how to travel safely as being girl) 
  • Cultural Exchange program (cooking different dishes) 
  • Women English Class at village 
  • Organizing the program to empower the young girls and women 
  • Vocational training for women 
  • Computer training for women/girl 
  • Education of hygiene and cleanliness

You also can find us in
Airbnb.com- http://bit.ly/2uVYuDj
Facebook id-https://www.facebook.com/GEThomestayNepal/

I am grateful to all INNOCO team and all the facilitators they were always our guardians and hope to meet them again to learn and share. Stay tuned for the first homestay action in the following posts.




Follow-Up Activity with Prabha at Teacher Training Center

"It was great to meet with three friends, Rohit, Anuza and Pratigya here at our place on Friday. They all were excited to start teaching and their group have come up with the idea to organize the camp for a group of students at one of the school in Kathmandu. And they have already approached to that school. So they wanted to know about how to begin the program with that particular group of 11- 15 years old students. My suggestion for them was to make them friend first and become close to them so they will feel to share everything they have in their mind with the trainers. I also said to them that that is the most important age group as well as most critical to handle. So they will not listen your speech for long time therefore you need to find the way to make them happy. So I taught them a few craft such as making origami paper flower, candy basket and butterfly made out of paper. I hope to see them again." said Prabha














Post-camp Activity 09: Prabha Chaudhary from Teacher Training Center

Prabha Chaudhary introduced her program that provides primary teacher a 45 day residential training at Thecho. This program focuses on material, professional, and spiritual aspects so as to result the spiritual and mental growth of the children as she believes that teacher being the person the children spends more time with and teacher being the first guardian and parents are responsible for the mental and spiritual growth of the children. The program has been providing the

  • Material Education
  • Human Education
  • Spiritual Education 

As Prabha ji works for the child development through the teachers training campaign, she will be providing the proper training for the members of NYC who wants to work in the child development and will be mentoring the group so as to build the group who can directly work in the field on child development.



Post-camp Activity 08: Santosh Shah from Leadership Academy

It was heartwarming invitation to visit Leadership Academy (LA) by Santosh Shah. He kindly sit with us to discuss how Leadership Academy works aiming to build a strong foundation for youth in Nepal. He offered a space and mentorship opportunities for NYC. It would be a great exposure to learn and work with LA as building capacities of the NYC core team.