In 2006 the American international aid agency USAID began a program designed to support the transition to peace and democracy in Nepal. Among other strategies, the program supported the formation of Youth Mobilization Committees (YMCs) in villages in the Terai region where young people were most likely to join armed groups. These committees worked with their communities to select community service projects and engaged other youth in the projects.
Projects included reconstruction of community libraries and early childhood development centers and rehabilitation of roads, health posts and schools. Some 125,000 youth participated, including 4,000 as YMC members.
The popularity of the YMCs and their projects led to both financial and labor contributions from local governments and the community. According to USAID, the development of budgets by the YMCs ensured transparency and led to pressure for greater accountability in local government budgets. In some communities the YMCs obtained additional funding from the local government for larger projects. In one village, for example, the local government was so pleased with the YMC's work that it planned to continue funding local projects through the existing YMCs.
Mobilising Nepali Youth for Community Service
USAID/OTI Nepal Quarterly Report, January - March 2009