Career Disha Nepal is a social business established in Nepal in 2014. We use online and offline solutions to bring independent and unbiased educational and career counselling tools and information to youth all over Nepal. Nepal’s society is in a transition phase which results in disorientation and insecurity related to young people’s career planning which in turn results in a massive migration of the younger population of the country. This tendency is reinforced by the current education system and societal values, which highlight academic education and certain high prestige professions over technical and vocational sectors.
In this context, we believe that there is a fitting profession for everyone in Nepal and we try to spread this message among young people in Nepal. Along with a set of workshops and career helper training for community workers and teachers, we have developed a row of online services to leverage and enlarge our outreach.
The training and workshop concepts we have covered a wide range of topics required at different stages of education and career counselling. For our younger, less exposed clients we have introductions to the labour market in a very interactive format as well as with different workstations which allow the young person to reflect on their strength (beyond what is required to be an obedient and well-performing student). For older clients who already bring some experience, there is a biography based competence workshop helping them drawing from their experience. A workshop called My Future Pro helps particular youth between 15 and 20 with different playful exercises to understand the connection between their interest, abilities and values on the one side and a fitting profession for their future on the other side. In addition to those workshops for students, we also have introduction sessions for parents as well as trainings for teachers and educators, who want to bring this programs to their community.
The two central services currently are an online psychometric assessment on the one hand and a job and educational database on the other hand. The psychometric assessment is evaluating the status quo of the young person’s interests. With over 100 question we create a profile of the young person along the three categories personality (shy vs. outgoing, idealistic vs. materialistic, etc.), professional orientation (ability to team work, accuracy while working etc.) and vocational tasks (administrative, communicative, etc.). Our database has a desirable range of this values for over 300 jobs, so that with an algorithm we can find the perfect matching jobs for that young person.
The second aspect is a comprehensive job and educational database holding descriptions for each jobs including information such as the education leading to that profession, what are the working conditions and the typical tasks done by somebody in that profession. The job database is directly linked with an educational database which holds all bachelor courses, technical trainings, diploma classes and professional trainings which can be found in Nepal including the institutions.
A team of 2 fixed staff and 2 – 3 volunteers is permanently working on updating that database with the latest information. All together we have spent an estimated 14000 working hours just to have a well-structured baseline of job and educational data. Our editorial team is ensuring that information is available in English as well as in Nepali language and that it is presented in an easy to understand manner and a language which attracts young people.
As social business our business model is based on the idea to pay for individual services, while we believe that information should be for free. Following that the online job and educational database is accessible for free and made available by our team in Nepalese as well as English language. We charge for the individual counselling service starting from the cheapest online product at Rs. 200 (~ USD 2). Our own surveys in different regions of Nepal has shown that even the most financially backward families would spend as much as USD 5 – 10 for career counselling. Given that many education themselves are costly, that seems to be only a tiny fraction of what families are later on paying for the vocational training of their children (in the hope that that investment comes back one day to them). In that regard we can help families with this little investment save money later on.
Even though we also serve clients directly our outreach strategy is to work with local implementation partners. We have developed a backend in which the director of a school or a local NGO can log in and administrate their clients/students data. School evaluations and further functions are planned for the future.
A webshop provides the platform to purchase vouchers for our different online products to everyone who has an ESEWA account (Nepal’s version of Paypal which is not available in Nepal). ESEWA has an expansive network of vendors all over the country. A young person, who does not have an ESEWA account can approach any ESEWA merchant and request an access code from them, which they can, later on, use in a cyber cafe.
Partners operating in rural areas where there is not sufficient internet connectivity can request the students to fill the assessment offline and upload their answers in our system. The results can in turn again been printed and brought to the students.