Lessons in Economically Sustainable Development: Learning by Examples


This article was the first place winner in the Economically Sustainable Development category of CIPE's 2011 Youth Essay Contest.

Article at a glance

  • In Nepal, foreign aid has remained at the very core of development planning over the last six decades, making a powerful case for both international and local actors to focus on sustainable development and address issues of aid dependency.
  • Countries like Nepal do need basic necessities such as food and water, but in order for development initiatives to take root they also need growing economies based on democracy and the rule of law, where citizens have business plans and jobs rather than tents and food parcels.
  • Nepal’s youth have been finding their own ways to respond to problems around them by initiating projects, creating businesses, and using social media tools to make their voices heard.
  • The path to sustainable development is through making sure that economic growth is stable and that citizens, especially youth, have the opportunity to secure a reliable income.

Being a student of social work and growing up in Nepal, one cannot get away with the word “development” without thinking about it very deeply every once in a while. From reading the newspapers to discussions in classrooms, from casual conversations over a cup of tea to hearing the speech of a politician, “development” does not leave you alone in this part of the world. And the point where it hits you hard is when you step outside the hills surrounding the capital city in Kathmandu Valley and travel to rural Nepal. There, you can see for yourself if the word has transferred any bit of its buzz effect to the lives of the people who work hard to make ends meet, and in whose name so much work is purported to being done every single day. After having travelled around the country and having read about and thought through it, I feel that Nepal, which chairs the 49 country UN group of the Least Developed Countries around the world, really has something to contribute to the discussion of development. Some amazing lessons have emerged in this part of the world in Nepal’s struggle to become a developed nation. This essay will discuss some of the sources and symptoms of development and shed light upon the sustainability of such initiatives. It will also explore ways in which young people can be a part of sustainable initiatives that help better the livelihood of many Nepalese who have been living in the aftermath of a decade long civil war and long years of economic and social deprivation.

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