WFP Inclusive-Internship Programme Creates Opportunities for Young People from Marginalized Communities
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Published on 2 September 2010

A year ago, 23 year-old primary school teacher Chandani Gurung would never have dreamed of the life and opportunities she has today, working for the United Nations in her home town in Dadeldhura, Far-Western Nepal.

A year ago, 23 year-old primary school teacher Chandani Gurung would never have dreamed of the life and opportunities she has today, working for the United Nations in her home town in Dadeldhura, Far-Western Nepal.

Chandani not only comes from one of the most remote and poor areas in Far-Western Nepal, she and her family of 15 are also Janajaties, an indigenous group that faces considerable social and economic exclusion in daily life. Caste discrimination is still present throughout Nepal, and today many from marginalized communities face discrimination in educational, economic, health care, and political and religious spheres. 

Luckily, Chandani’s father understood the importance of education and he worked hard to support her to finish school and become a teacher. In April 2009, Chandani applied and was selected for one of two United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) inclusive internship positions, with the other position going to Sujit Sanal, who is a Dalit (a lower caste known as the “untouchables”) from Khalanga, Dadeldhura. The 11-month internship at WFP’s Dadeldhura field office helped Chandani build the knowledge, skills and self-confidence she needed to begin an esteemed professional career and build a better life for her and her family.

“Interning at WFP gave me an opportunity to learn new things about the professional work environment and learn social and communication skills. It was also a really great experience to learn about the workings of the UN system. It was a dream come true for me” said Chandani. Two months before she completed her WFP internship in March 2010, Chandani successfully interviewed for an administrative assistant position with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Dadeldhura. “I could not have possibly imagined getting a job at FAO if I had not worked as an intern at WFP,” Chandani said. “It is very difficult for us to get opportunities for jobs. I felt very happy in knowing I was able to have the same opportunity as a Brahmin or Chhetri,” she added.

In 2010 and 2011, WFP plans to expand its internship programme to select more candidates from socially-excluded communities in its field offices as well as country office in Kathmandu. “Our local internship programme has demonstrated success in creating opportunities and building the skills and confidence among young people from socially excluded communities,” said Pramila Karki Ghimire, WFP Country Programme Coordinator and initiator of the Internship Programme. “This is an affirmative action programme aimed at training people from excluded groups to build the capacity and experience needed to compete with others who would normally have had better opportunities. We believe this is a small step towards a fairer and more equitable future for Nepal but a very big opportunity for people like Chandani and Sujit,” added Pramila.

Interested young people from Dalit and Janajati groups who have completed high school education (+12 equivalent) are encouraged to contact Pramila Karki Ghimire at pramila.ghimire@wfp.org or 5542607 ext. 2402 for more information.