NRN Initiatives

NRN Skills Inventory and Professional Mentoring Program: Scope and Operational Framework

"My vivid memory is still afresh that I was once guided personally by a fellow Nepali professional well established in Canada, in my pursuit for the highest University degree a little over a decade ago. With an honest sense of gratitude, I endeavour to pass on that generous guidance I had received to other fellow Nepalis who seek to establish professionally in North America. So far my track record of mentoring and helping fellow Nepalis settle well here has been reasonably good, with some successes."

- A Vignette by Dr. Drona Rasali

 

Background:

For the past half century, Nepalis have been primarily moving to different parts of the world, especially in the West in pursuits of their knowledge through higher education. Many of those who arrived in the West pursuing scholarship awards and/or professional careers have been able to establish themselves as high professionals in the countries of their arrival. The rich knowledge base they harbour among themselves are utilized dismally for the benefits of their motherland Nepal, as there has been hardly any opportunity provided to them for giving back to their community in an organized manner. It is now possible with the establishment of NRNA,which is the appropriate platform by default to facilitate them to look back to their homeland for contributing to fellow Nepalis. NRNs can readily share their knowledge and expertise to bring prosperity to their motherland, if a proper mechanism is put in place. For the purpose of skills and knowledge exchange, a global network is needed to serve as a mechanism to facilitate two-way exchange between those who possess the professional expertise and those who are in need of the expertise. The NRNA has set up and is running a web-based Nepali Diaspora Skills Directory (http://nrn.org.np/ndsd/viewprojects.php#2). The purpose of this directory is to facilitate Nepalis living in Nepal as well as around the world to get connected with any suitable projects in Nepal that may be looking for participants with specific skills sets. Similarly, any potential project leaders who wish to find people with various skills sets can also contact the relevant NRN experts using this directory. Hundreds of highly qualified and high skilled professionals have signed up and submitted their bio-data online into this directory. However, the initial euphoria of creating the directory seems to be waning off, as there has not been a targeted and concerted efforts put in place for an operational mechanism to mobilize this valuable resource. At this stage, the directory requires overhauling or significant upgrades in order to make it vibrantly useful. It can be meaningful to reach out to wider professional skills base of Nepali Diaspora around the world for the consolidation of their information into a robust database as well as to reach out to its target beneficiaries both in Nepal and around the world. Still, a serious communication gap exists between the directory management and its stakeholders on either of the two sides of skills- providers as well as recipients. Furthermore, there is a vast potential of professional skills and capacity that can be utilized for helping Nepalis in Nepal and abroad in at least three areas of their development path- 1) improving access to education, 2) professional development of promising young professional in various fields of expertise and 3) ultimate technology transfer to Nepal. The first teleconference of the new NRN-ICC body held on December 20, 2009 decided to form a comprehensive task force known as Skills and Knowledge and Innovation Exchange Task Force (SKIETF), encompassing these three areas in a coordinated manner.

Scope of Skills Inventory & ProfessionalMentoringSub-Task Force (SIPM-STF):

A sub-task force was formed by the first meeting of Skills & Knowledge Exchange Task Force (SKIE-TF) to plan and implement a stream of initiatives of creating and running a dynamic skills inventory of NRNs around the world and providing a professional mentoring service to all potential Nepali professionals who are based in various countries around the word. The Sub-Task Force Lead will coordinate the work of Skills Inventory and Professional Mentoring. Both the Skills Inventory and Professional Mentoring programs of the STF will be global in scope. All NRNs around the world will be able to upload their bio-data into the Inventory Database. The Professional Mentoring Program will be launched in a phase-wise manner as the participating NCCs come forward for its implementation in their respective countries.

Proposed Activities in Skills Inventory:

OBJECT: ESTABLISHMENT OF A MULTIPURPOSE GLOBAL INVENTORY OF NRN PROFESSIONALS

A global skills inventory will be created by upgrading the existing Skills Directory. The features of Skills Directory currently available on the NRNA website will have a significant upgrade for uploading and secured retrieval of personal professional information of NRNs. This component will integrate a global network of professionals. A global database of professionals will be user-friendly both for data entry and easy search for their access. Related activities will include the following:

  1. Every member of the team will be asked for his/her recommendations to prepare a list of criteria to store, access and update the NRN’s professional information on the Skills Directory including the contents of the web pages.
  2. A criteria document will be compiled and sent to the members of the sub-task force.
  3. Examine current Skill Directory database structure then create a new database structure and identify constraints.
  4. Investigate current data storage location, access, security, capacity and administration.
  5. Investigate how we can integrate with the professional database of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).
  6. Prepare a plan for the data de-duplication, cleansing and migration.
  7. Prepare a project plan for the development and launch of the new Skills Directory.
  8. Activate the project.
  9. Launch new Skill Directory web page linking from NRNA website.
  10. Propose a strategy and a plan for its continued and sustainable updating.

Proposed Activities in Professional Mentoring Program:

OBJECT: ASSISTANCE TO THE FELLOW PROFESSIONALS TO ESTABLISH THEMSELVES IN THE NEW COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE

This is a program to address the special needs of newly arrived Nepalis in a new country. This will include the following activities:

  1. A formal program of mentoring professionals in need of professional support will be launched by every NCC of the NRNA. Regional Coordinator and Deputy Regional Coordinator in each NRNA region will provide an oversight to facilitate the program.
  2. Any professional interested in mentoring can apply formally through the national/state/city mentoring coordinator to participate in the program by paying a nominal registration fee as may be decided by the NCC.
  3. After scrutinizing the need of the applicant, the national/state/city mentoring coordinator will identify a matching mentor and connect the participant with the assigned mentor.
  4. Mentor and participant will exchange their contact information beginning their communication channel.
  5. The new arrival will be mentored by an established professional of the same field as the new arrival for a period from 6 months to one year.
  6. Each participant of the mentorship program participation will have been officially recognized by the NRNA upon successful completion of the program.
  7. The mentor may also serve as a valid reference person for job application process of a mentored person.

Expected Outputs:

  1. A global dynamic online bio-sketch database of NRN professionals with their skills and expertise will be established. The NRN professionals can make entries and continually update their bio to be available to the users of that information. The Inventory will have been ready for users within one year of its project launching.
  2. A functional professional mentoring program will have been up and running in each participating country within six month of launching its project.

The STF Coordination Mechanism:

The work of managing the initiatives of the Sub-Task Force (STF) will be coordinated by a Global team comprising STF Lead, Skills Directory Lead, Professional Mentoring Program Lead and STF members and associates. The NRNA Secretariat shall provide the logistics for creation and maintenance of the Skills Inventory in its website. This STF will have a global operational network with an organized structure as shown in Figure 1 to implement its program successfully, and the membership will be growing and evolving.

Figure 1: Organization structure of the Skills Inventory & Professional Mentoring Program

Reported by:

  • Dr. Drona P. Rasali, SIPM-STF Lead
  • Mr. Shree Napit, Skills Directory Lead
  • Dr. Pujan Rai, Professional Mentoring Lead
  • Dr. Krishna C. Prasad, Member, SIPM-STF
  • Mr. Tribhuwan Shrestha, Member, SIPM-STF
  • Dr. Suraj Thapa, Member, SIPM-STF

Source: Souvenir of the 4th NRN Regional Conference, Houston, Texas, USA.