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"After APYE, I had a window full of opportunities"

I, Bisam Gyawali, a youth based in Kathmandu, Nepal envision to rise as a change maker in my country. For this, I believe that knowing about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and engaging myself in it’s implementation can bring my vision into reality in upcoming days. I have been working intensely in promoting and raising awareness about SDGs since the past 1 year. Moreover, by being the delegate for Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) Program held in Manila, Philippines on August, 2016 representing United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Nepal and YUWA (Meaning Youth, a you-led and youth run not for profit NGO) motivated and encouraged me to do what I love to do the most more seriously.

Bisam Gyawali (yellow tshirt - 2nd from the left) at APYE Thailand January 2017

After APYE, I had a window full of opportunities. I was certified as an Ambassador for Youth4GG campaign (an AIESEC and ADB initiative) by making numerous youths all over Nepal aware of SDGs. Furthermore, I had an opportunity to compete for Asia Pacific Social Venture Idea Competition (APSVIC), an Asia Pacific level competition where best social enterprise idea would get funded by LINC Foundation and Hanyang University of Seoul, South Korea. Fortunately, my project “Eco- Farmket” (Ecological+ Farm+ Market) , a concept which makes use of Ecological Sanitation (ECOSAN) toilet, a double vault Urine Diverting Dry toilet in the promotion of organic farming, got selected from Nepal among the top 5 projects which included 3 of Philippines and 1 of Bangladesh. The competition took place at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea on November, 2016. Also, I had an opportunity to present about Youths and their roles in implementing SDGs along with my experience of APYE and also as a winner of APSVIC at APYE 3 held at Bangkok, Thailand on January, 2017, where I talked about how youth entrepreneurship can help to reach the Global Goals by 2030 and also about SDGs Booklet, a youth guide to understand about SDGs developed by YUWA and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Nepal.

The Eco-Farmket Project, which is a huge milestone in my life as a youth activist and a SDGs enthusiast kicked off officially from February 2017. 11 Volunteers from Hanyang University (3 Professors and 8 students) came to Nepal and helped me build one ECOSAN Toilet at Paurakhi Squatter Settlement, Thapathali, Kathmandu. We took about 7 days for the construction of a complete toilet.

The first day of the volunteering started with welcome ceremony from the community leaders of the Paurakhi community. Then the volunteers were engaged in unloading the bricks and other construction materials from the vehicle and arranging them in one place. On the following days, the Volunteers were caught busy in putting the bricks on place and plastering of the feces collection chamber. Further more, the volunteers also cleaned the toilet premises and collected the trash into one place. Also, there was a community school of pre-schoolers where the Volunteers engaged themselves with small children and also gave gifts to them. On the 3rd and 4th day, Volunteers constructed the wall of the toilet and also engaged themselves in the traditional farming practice in the farm present at the site. As the project is not just about use of an ECOSAN toilet but also about organic farming and generating income out of it, it was necessary for the volunteers to get updated with how farming is done. On the last day, the toilet got it’s final shape. To beautify the toilet, Hanyang University students painted the wall and pasted SDGs posters and also the seventeen heart logo along with the logo of Hanyang University. The community people were constantly taking the picture because the toilet looked really beautiful.

In a nutshell, Hanyang Unviersity Team’s efforts for my project was really appreciable and outstanding. One toilet done, more to go! I hope for constant support of the Hanyang University Students in upcoming days as well. A big thanks to Urban Youth Academy, LINC Foundation, Hanyang University, YUWA, Asian Development Bank (ADB), AIESEC, UNDP Nepal and UNFPA Nepal for making my dream commence into reality and constantly inspiring and encouraging me to work for the implementation of SDGs so that we can leave no one behind!

Bisam Gyawali Winner, APSVIC Delegate, APYE 2 (UNDP Nepal) Vice President, YUWA Ambassador, Youth For Global Goals/ Youth4GG (ADB and AIESEC)