Oxfam Young Leaders Complete Inaugural Fellowship

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On 18 February 2024, Asia Centre organised the Project Conclusion Meeting for 8 Oxfam Fellows at the sidelines of the World Social Forum 2024 in Kathmandu, Nepal, held from 15 to 19 February 2024. The meeting, held at the Yellow Pagoda Hotel, was part of the Oxfam Young Leaders Fellowship Programme 2023 which began in June of that year.

The Project Conclusion Meeting began with welcoming remarks from John Samuel, Regional Director of Oxfam in Asia who outlined the social challenges awaiting young people. He stressed to the Fellows that even though their projects are concluding, their fight for justice is a lifelong process. The Fellows must remain persistent in creating the world that they wish to see. Thereafter,  Dr. James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre, presented some key statistics and milestones of the Fellowship over 9 months. The Fellowship received 471 eligible applications across Asia, and after several rounds of selection, 8 Fellows from 6 countries were announced. As a cohort, they delivered 9 videos, 3 publications 6 podcast episodes  8 town halls. They were able to reach a total of 24 milestones, 100 deliverables and more than 2,525 beneficiaries.

Following the presentation was the public exhibition. The Fellows had the opportunity to showcase their projects and success stories, using promotional materials such as posters, banners, stickers and videos. The projects that were exhibited are as follows: Atypical Dikkatein by Soumya Mishra, Climate Actioneers by Lamia Mohsin, Gen-Z Talk Timor-Leste by Ricardo Araujo, Inclusive Lens by Wajid Zahid, Keep the Change by Gerald Guillermo, LawHum by Chikita Marpaung,  Project Habi Pilipinas by Ellenor Bartolome and Writing on Rights by Sanjana Chettri. The exhibition visitors were participants from the World Social Forum and included visitors from Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and Africa.

There was a closed-door Roundtable Feedback Discussion following the exhibition, where the Fellows shared their self-evaluation of project objectives, implementation challenges,  and learnings. There was also discussion on how to strengthen the recruitment of future Fellows, including a focus on those who are not working full-time, from non-privileged backgrounds, and ensuring gender balance. Future engagements to maintain connections after the Fellowship Programme, included setting up an alumni network, mentoring the next cohort of Oxfam Fellows and continued submissions to civicasia.org portal.

While the project conclusion meeting was the main focus, the Fellows also actively participated in the activities of the World Social Forum. On the first day of the Forum, the Fellows participated in the Solidarity March around Kathmandu to show solidarity with those oppressed by CSOs. On the second day, the Fellows joined the “Thematic Assembly on Economic Inequality & Justice.” On the third day, the Fellows spoke at the Inter-Continental Youth Forum. On the fourth day of the Forum, Asia Centre held the Project Induction Meeting for the Oxfam Fellows at Yellow Pagoda Hotel in Kathmandu. On the fifth and final day, the Fellows drafted the Civil Society Statement for a just and equitable world and invited participants to sign on the banner during the closing ceremony.

With the conclusion of the inaugural batch of the Oxfam Young Leaders, Asia Centre will announce in April 2024 applications for the second cohort of Oxfam Young Leaders Fellowship Programme. Keep a lookout on Asia Centre’s social media pages and website.

To watch the highlights of the Fellows’ participation in the Project Conclusion Meeting and the World Social Forum, click: https://bit.ly/3OQHI3x

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