UNC2017 Press Release in Nepal

News Release: 27th August 2018

Organization name: INNOCO supported by Zayed University


Topic/Headline: UAE/NEPAL/CONNECT 2018

Subtitle: Co-Designing Social Innovation Model for Changemakers in Nepal


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.


Employing various types of media has been an integral part of the INNOCO/NYI strategy to promote a bottom up social innovation movement since its inception in 2016. A transmedia Cinema Verité styled documentary will trace the journey of the changemakers transformation and is currently planned for an early 2019 release. Experienced filmmaker and storyteller Dr. Michael Ogden (USA) is the project’s cinematographer and lead technical director, and is being assisted by Jivika Rajani (India), Abhigya Thapa (Nepal) and Marianne Bruyeres (France) through a co-designed process. The documentary, along with INNOCO’s blog and social media presence, is expected to shed light on the bottom-up approach of cultivating social changemakers to be appreciated and likely utilised in innovative ways by scholars and practitioners of social change alike.


Principal investigator, Yunsun Chung-Shin and Co-PIs, Joanne Renaux and Michael Ogden, along with Research Assistant Jivika Rajani, are also currently compiling their research into a paper and a series of scholarly articles, one of which has already been accepted for presentation at the prestigious ‘Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD7)’ conference scheduled for October 24-26 in Turin, Italy. They are expected to unveil an updated version of their “Demystifying Ecosystem Mapping” tool (first presented at the Ashoka University International Exchange in Boston, USA in April 2018)  that was developed and applied locally in Kathmandu during the course of their 2018 visit.


Though the INNOCO initiative will officially conclude its Nepal programs in December of this year, the work it has started will continue through the efforts of the UNC youth alumni in Nepal, under the banner of NYI. Calls for new member applications will be forthcoming, and it is hoped, as always, that many young people from diverse backgrounds will band together to support each other’s development alongside the development of their local communities.


For further information, please contact:

INNOCO/ Zayed University

Name: Associate Professor, Yunsun Chung-Shin

Mobile no: +971 506760154


Website of the project:


NYI (Nepal Youth Innovators)

Name: Pabitra Majhi

Mobile no: +977 9816042133


Website of the project: