“RISE NEPAL” THROUGH YOUTH ACTION IN DISASTER’S AFTERMATH

Global Peace Foundation Joins and Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance to Coordinate Youth Volunteer Efforts in Aftermath of Nepal Earthquake

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25 caused catastrophic damage in the towns and villages near the quake’s epicenter, as well as widespread destruction in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

In addition to more than 6,200 casualties—a number that continues to rise—some 130,000 homes have been destroyed and tens of thousands have been displaced. Even as aid and rescue efforts expand, slowly reaching remote villages in the mountain regions closer to the epicenter, progress has been impeded due to broken infrastructure and inclement weather.

As many residents are lining up to leave Kathmandu for fear of aftershocks and disease, local youth are stepping up to volunteer with relief efforts in the city.

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The Global Peace Foundation is joining forces with members of the AsiaPacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) to train and deploy these young Nepali responders. The Global Peace Foundation and APPDSA invited New Zealand Student Volunteer Corps founder Sam Johnson, who is credited for training and mobilizing thousands of student volunteers after major earthquakes hit his hometown of Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, to train, coordinate and dispatch the young volunteers.

Johnson together with Global Peace Youth and other Alliance partners are working with local staff to train youth in areas such as aid distribution, resource coordination,  volunteer support, IT and social media outreach. The GPF Nepal office, which remains standing, has become the central coordinating and training headquarters for volunteers, who are being deployed from seven stations in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. The youth volunteer recruitment and training efforts has been dubbed “Rise Nepal.”    

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Discussions for long-term plans to assist critical recovery and rebuilding needs are also underway. The emergency volunteer mobilization is part of a long-term strategic development plan supported by the Global Peace Foundation, Nepal’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, the AsiaPacific Peace and Development Service Alliance, and the Alliance’s many international, regional and national public and private partners and youth networks.

The goal of the joint development plan is to empower youth in Nepal’s recovery and tackle long-term systemic impediments to opportunity and social cohesion among youth.  It will also engage young volunteers in initiatives for peace and shared prosperity, furthering the aims of Nepal’s Youth Vision 2025 on the basis of universally shared principles and values, which was announced at the recent Asia-Pacific youth volunteering forum.