Nepal faces an acute leadership crisis. Frustrated with high poverty and inequality, local communities nationwide are losing hope and becoming more dependent on external support. The authorities in the public, private and social sectors, on the other hand, have largely failed to collaborate in creating a suitable environment and citizen capacity for addressing these flaring issues. Most unfortunately, the colossal innovation potential of youth, who comprise half the nation, remains largely untapped. In fact, 1500 youth leave Nepal daily for foreign opportunities, despite 5 of them dying each day due to harsh working conditions abroad.

Nepal Leadership Academy (NLA) is a signature component of Daayitwa Abhiyaan, which envisions a resilient and thriving Nepal where all citizens embrace their responsibilities to collectively transform societal challenges into innovative opportunities. Towards this vision, NLA builds leadership capacity in young change-agents—who are guided by the shared values of collaborating, innovating, and serving and the shared principles of community, justice, and sustainability—to architect effective policy, business and civic solutions that tackle the most grueling adaptive challenges in Nepal. NLA conducts research, develops curriculums and provides in-practice leadership coaching to policy, business, and social innovators in Nepal.

NLA’s genesis can be traced to the Nepal Leadership Lab at Daayitwa (learn more about Daayitwa here), which offered leadership courses that aspired to nurture competent leaders by not only invigorating their zeal to lead, but also by providing them with practical tools to sharpen their competencies.


In 2013-2014, Dr. Pukar Malla, former Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Center for Public Leadership, collaborated with Professors Marshall Ganz and Ronald Heifetz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to create a leadership framework built on Nepal’s socio-cultural and political context, as well as current needs. The framework, LEAD, emphasizes four core components: Listening to oneself; Empathizing with others; Analyzing adaptive issues; and Doing collective action.

Over the past 2 years, NLA has provided a variety of short (half day to 2 days) and long courses (8 weeks) on leadership practices such as adaptive leadership, community organizing, governance innovation and public narrative to more than 200 participants. These course participants have included Daayitwa Public Service Fellows, World Economic Forum Global Shapers, senior government officials, leaders of political parties, bureaucrats, NGO representatives, and executive directors of private companies and banks.