Structures influence how we behave and which decisions we make and therefore too how sutainable, collective oriented and cautious our behaviour is. In the last years I’ve been engaged in various roles in projekts, which establish new and sustainable structures: sometimes as co-founer, somtimes as mentor sometimes as coach.
One of my focal areas is definitively the design of digital strucutrs even though I’m not at all limited to technological solutions. As software architect I’m always also concerned with the overall proces and in making a rational decision, when softare really supports a given process and when digital solutions are impractical or are createing an uneccesary burden to the user.
In Career Disha Nepal for example we have designed a well balanced set of online tolls and offline pen and paper activities, which ensure, that we are able to reach out to youth without access to digital infrastructure too.
I’ve also reflected on the potential as well as the limitations of digital solutions in my master’s thesis related to the Projekt IBinPinzgau.
If you are looking for support or guidance in setting up your processess and structures more sustainable and socially inclusive and would like to discuss, where software based solutions could be the soltuions, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Below you find an short overview on some of the bigger projects I’ve been actively contributing in the last years:
Career Disha Nepal - career counseling
Career Disha Nepal (CDN) is a social business, I’ve established together with 3 Nepalese in 2014. Our vision is, that all young Nepalese have aces to qualitative educational and career counseling services. For that sake, we have developed an online psychometric assessment, different workshops and trainings for youth as well as a comprehensive job and educational database in the last years.
As co-founder I share the responsibility for the strategic development of the whole organizations with the board. In addition to that my focal areas is the design of the digital solutions such as the online asssessment and the job & educational database, which we are making reality with the help of Patrick Menke .
My second work area are creating national as well as international networks to other projects, which are working on educational or career counseling and to keep an vivid exchange with international experts up and be able to react on contemporary academic and social developments.
Especially Bildungsberatungsnetzwerk Salzburg as well as Swiss psychologist Bettina Gemperli, who published the initial field study on the relevance of career counsling in Nepal (german) were key in understanding and developing the topic of educational and career conseling.
Nepal Social Business - social start-ups
Nepal social business was established in 2014 by the Chaudhary Group (CG), one of Nepal’s biggest corporate houses. In my role as COO I’ve conceptualized and established the organzation from the scratch with the aim to create structures, which help common good oriented ideas on their way to become a social business one day.
Nepal Social Business wurde 2013 von der Chaudhary Group (CG) – einem der größten nepalesichen Familienkonzern ins leben gerufen. In meiner Rolle als Geschäftsführerin habe ich von 2013 bis 2015 die Organisationen von Grunde and konzipiert und aufgebaut, mit dem Ziel, Strukturen zur Unterstützung von gemeinnützigen Idee auf ihrem Weg zum Social Business zu schaffen.
Already in a very early phase we could join hands with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), who were keen on exploring innovative methods of support for Neapl. Together we established in 2014 a social business incubator and fund, which was specialized on start-ups in rural Nepal. Those potential start-ups receveived training, mentoring as well as investment of up to USD 30,000 after successful incubation.
My strategies have therfore combined the needs of the potential social entrepreneurs, the strategic directions of the Chaudhary group as well as the requirements of LCIF at the same time and are still shaping the organizations activities. I took many inspirations of Indian business incubators, the works of the Yunus Center in Dhaka as well as the common good economy movement from Europe.
During our pilot project in the remote region of Jumla, I had the pleasure of working closely with the Radha Paudel, women’s rights and peace activist. She grew up herself in a very poor family and was able to show me in a very pragmatic and impressive way the daily life, needs and social limitations of the local population. Those inputs were crucial for me to establish structures, which really made an impact on the population in this mountainous region.
Many of my theoretical appraoches I’m writing about in the reflective section have emerged in this time and I also had the pleasure of meeting Professor Mohammed Yunus and his team in Dhaka several times and had the possibility to discuss with him the nature of social business.
The Yunus Center was especially in the beginning of our works a very important source of inspiration and support, even though our activities differed from their activities in Bangladesh. While the Yunus Center focussed at that time on establishing big companies under the leadership of well experienced CEOs, Nepal Social Business was rather concerned on establishing small local social businesses in hard accessible areas. One reason was of course, that the geographical conditions in both countries differ a lot and the possibilities in terms of infrastructure are quite different in Nepal.
In 2015 eventually my own two social businesses (VHS Bhaktapur and Career Disha Nepal) grew beyond a point where they required more attention than I could give while heading Nepal Social Business, so that I handed over the responsibility to Merina Ranjit, of whom i knew she would continue to grow the impact of the fund. I continued my role as head of the social impact assessment committee until 2017, for which I’ve developed the assessing guideline based on the idea of the economy of the common good and the 5 Social Business Types.
Below you can find some videos, I’ve developed during this time togehter with the team of AD Factory:
VHS Bhaktapur - community youth center
VHS Bhaktapur (Volkshochschule = german –> adult education center) was establishedb by Saroj Bastola in 2011. Since 2013 we are leading the organization together and develop new approaches for youth work, informaln and non-formal learning in Nepal.
The core area of activity is related to teaching German language. The education system in Nepal is expensive but of very low quality (aside from a few selected elite institutions) so that most of our participants are studying German with the aim to pick up their higher studies in Germany one day. This high demand has caused a whole network of so called consultancies which are ranging from selling bad quality service and advice to unethical business practices which come very close to human trafficking. VHS Bhaktapur is working towards being an Island of good quality educationa, proper preparation as well as an experience space for the culture of German speaking countries in midst of this whole movement.
In two outlets in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu around 150 – 200 students are ongoingly tought german langauge on the levels A1 – B2. Each 1 – 2 months ÖSD exams are being conducted and frequent cultural events such as Christmas Parties or cooking sessions are being conducted, often witht help of German or Austrian volunteers and interns, who also bring an international flair in VHS.
In addition to this VHS is engaged in youth work in Bhaktapur, where we offer a platform to young people to turn their ideas into reality and have a save haven in which they can gaterh first experience in organizing their own projects. Among others we have hosted the dance group Bono Brooks for over 2 years until they were ready to open their own dance studio. In the period after the earthquake we hosted a network of young people including the Leos Club Bhaktapur, who coordinated local relief activities from our premises and we continue to work with the Leos and other Groups. Since 2015 we are in addition to this participating in Erasmus+ exchange programs, which are an incredible chance for young engaged Nepalese to make international experience.
Since September 2017 I’m on maternity leave. Following the idea of a participatory and democratic leadership we have handed over the operative Agenda in the hand of the Team under the leadership of Nabin Phaiju.
Video made on sustainability during the YouMUST exchange in Macedonia in Fall 2016.
I bin Pinzgau - Social Media Platform
My first big project was IBinPinzgau. Together with Akzente Salzburg and the Musik Kollektive Pinzgau I’ve developed a interactive Weebsite on which musicians of all genres have the possibility to present their works and exchange about what they need. I’ve reflected in depth about this project in my master’s thesis .
In its original concept it was planned that in a second stage further artist groups and types of cultural expressions should be added to the platform. After I moved to Nepal, the website was handed over to the Musik Kollektive Pinzgau, which decided in 2015 to not operate the website anymore and was eventually dissolved as whole in 2017.
Even though the website is not online anymore, I could gain many interesting insights through this project, which have improved the quality of projects such as Career Disha Nepal tremendously.
Below you find the concept video of IBinPinzgau (in German language):