Published On: January 23, 2018 10:04 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

Expanding research dynamics in Nepal

Expanding research dynamics in Nepal

Known for his innovative contribution in the field of research, Santosh Gartaula, 31, is one of the co-founders of Bikas Udhyami which is a social innovation hub and consultancy firm founded in 2016.

NID (Nepal in Data), Padhna Jane, Udhyami Nepal are some of its open data and statistical portals that make factual details and information accessible to people. Brought up in an orphanage in Itahari, Gartaula spent his early childhood at the SOS (Save Our Soul). He got his master’s degree in Economics in 2013. His professional journey progressed after he collaboratively began working as an enumerator for local and international projects as well as organizations.

My City’s Sonam Lama caught up with Gartaula to discuss his progressive journey in the field of research. 

How did the concept of Bikas Udhyami emerge?
After earning my master’s degree in 2013, I decided to return Nepal after three months of stay in India. In 2014, I worked as an enumerator for a Canadian PhD scholar for three months.

Furthermore, writing research paper for IIDS (Institute for Integrated Development Studies) and working as a program officer for The Asia Foundation after the 2015 mega earthquake contributed significantly to found Bikas Udhyami. While undertaking my work as an enumerator, I came across the ground realities of many parts of the country. And youths being unaware about the fact and uninvolved on the issues were quite dismaying. Since data and statistics derived from rigorous research played a pivotal role to aware and foster economic, social as well as sustainable growth, the concept eventually came into effect.

A wide range of data is accessible through your services. How can their validity be confirmed?
Data is not only about facts, graphs and statistics but also an indicator of awareness and transformations occurred in larger perspective. On that note, carrying out rigorous research with proper methodology and variables is a major prerequisite to generate authentic outcomes.

Working under the Nepal government will not ensure data credibility unless there is a skilled human resource giving out productive and impactful efficiency. Moreover, we make sure to disclose citations from annual report or any source of documents further updating them as per the need in our data.

What are the challenges that exist in the research field?
Negligible participation of youths in research could not be neglected therefore one of the objectives of starting Bikas Udhyami was to provide a platform for youths to contribute in Nepal’s development discourse. Lack of skilled manpower, resources, and educational pedagogy in the field of research has been impeding the country’s full-fledged growth. Moreover, proper time allocation needs to be encouraged to fight the challenges persisting in the field.

What are your future plans and policies?
The role of reliable facts and figures is significant to trace the transitional performance and development of any country. Having acknowledged this fact, the need to keep up with data recording and fact checking should be developed. Talking about my plans, I would be constantly dedicated in the country’s development. Since officials working in authoritative and policy making positions need to be updated on data related to the country’s diverse strata, I personally would like to set up an open-data dashboard in all the governmental and non-governmental sectors that have been working inside the country.

How has your personal life experiences shaped you to become who you are today?
I grew up in SOS in Itahari. The journey till here comprises an amalgamation of hardships and struggles. However, without ardent drive and passion for my work, I could not have become the person that I am today. My personal stances have shaped me. I learned the core values of life from an early age. However, my perseverance and constant effort to contribute my best to the society has made me successful. 

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