Nepal is not poor. It is just poorly managed. And to manage it better, Nepalese are finally getting a unique kind of help that comes in the form of “social media”. This time we citizens have a powerful ally.
This ally is an amplifier. It is neutral. it’s free. In-fact it is inexhaustible and almost indestructible. It makes every citizen have his/her own media.
This ally is ‘social media’. With social media’s help Nepalese are uniting resources, knowledge and action to build a prosperous nation within our lifetime.
So what is Social media, you may ask? Simply it is the use of Internet and mobile technologies to help you communicate simultaneously and interactively with millions!
Here is what I mean. In the old days, to talk or to seek help or to do business with someone you had to go and knock on their doors. Now our technology has reached a point where while sitting in our bedroom, we can actually knock on thousands of doors simultaneously!
In other words, social media makes it possible for you to have communication with tens of thousands at the same time! It exponentially expands your network from hundreds to tens of thousands. It actually strengthens our reach, our impact and our visibility.
Social media has opened uncountable ways for us in Nepal to finally help unite fellow citizens out of the chaos we inherited and into the prosperity we deserve. Just over a dozen years ago we had almost no mobile phones in Nepal. Now, more than 2 out of 3 of us carry one. 10 years ago, none of us in Nepal knew about Facebook (a social media tool). By September of 2014, there are nearly 41 Lakh (4.1 million) Facebook Nepali users. In the next decade, every Nepali will be on social media. And everyone will be using their mobile devices (phone, glasses, who knows what more) to do this. Imagine this, we all will chat, write, talk, do business and organize events right from the palm of our hands!
A girl in Humla will answer within seconds a maths question posed by another in Taplejung. A farmer in Rautahat will get advice from a facebook group members from the US on how to negotiate seeds at a bargain for the season with a seed bank in China. The seeds may even be parceled to his village within a day or two through a simple click on his mobile. He will watch YouTube videos on internet to learn how to take proper care of his crops. English to Nepali translation will be instantaneous (Local languages like Maithili, bhojpuri will be readily available).
With social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram or Whatsapp, the power we have is limitless and instant. What you choose to show, will be amplified to anyone, anywhere around the world. Your remarkable ideas will no longer be hidden from from the rest of humanity. Even to get services from your own government which could take months now, would be within reach through your mobile to be finished within a day at most. You will be able to track of the progress made by your public officials in making your passports or how local government is responding to your complaint about poor health service in your local hospital (step by step). Within seconds, you would be able to check your local politician’s history and the number of promises kept or not. You can immediately re-share the information you have dug up, with millions. Information cannot stay hidden any longer and as more facts comes within your reach the more powerful our country and our accountable our system will be.
In essence, social media helps us align all the positives in the same direction, making negative irrelevant.
Here are 5 cases to showcase how social media is doing just that and transforming Nepalese and Nepal.
- Back in 2011, do you remember seeing photos of “Jamuna” a malnourished child from Rukum? People created facebook groups to support her, contributing hundreds of thousands of rupees, doctors volunteered to help, Nepali from Australia and US banded together to work with ones in Nepalgunj to save her life.
- A small project called “Shanti School” won thousands of dollars simply by rallying Nepali citizens to “like” them on a facebook “like” competition. They went on to build schools and train teachers in remote Nepali villages. They won much visibility and donations through mobilization of friends in social media. Social media is helping unite us to help those less fortunate.
- Maggie Doyne, an American girl working with orphans in Surkhet ,manages to get on YouTube and share a video which immediately touches thousands of hearts. She raised enough funds to unite Nepali orphans for a better future.
- OccupyBaluwatar, Nepal Unites, Paschim Paila, Help Nepal Network, Save Dorje Gurung (in Qatar) and hundreds more Nepali campaigns have used social media effectively to push for citizens and organizations to unite with helpless Nepalis to solve big and small problems.
- A remote health clinic in Achham called Possible (formerly ‘nyaya’), share their stories on facebook to tell well wishers and donors living thousands of miles away, each life they save and details of every rupee they spend. What a way to unite the less fortunate Nepalese and fortunate citizens of the rest of the world, towards a healthier future?
Thanks to social media, the unorganized here in Nepal are finally organizing into platforms. Tired of forced strikes ‘bandhs’? Join anti-Bandh groups on facebook. Want to build entrepreneurs? Fight for consumer rights? Hold politicians accountable? or simply want bike modification laws changed in Nepal? There are groups for each issue. Youths and elders are uniting to clean up of squares, rivers and communities themselves. With the help of social media, Nepalese have finally restarted working together as a nation, to help realize that prosperous Nepal we all have dreamed for so long.
With great power comes great responsibility. I believe we will harness this great power so that Nepalese help Nepalese! I hope we use social media responsibly to build more positive networks and platforms to solve every problem we come across. Lets go! The entire world is our ally now.
In the end, I leave you to ponder over this:
‘If you align all the positives in the same direction, the negative becomes irrelevant’