With rising unemployment compounded by equally outrageous levels of inequalities foreseen in the months ahead, the only way forward is pursuing, individually and collectively, a good leadership. It is an effort that will not only uplift the self but also be instrumental in helping the society improve as well
In times of crises, perhaps, the only pathway forward is to introspect on ourselves and rethink about our role and our contribution to the common good.
Amid the pandemic and prolonged political uncertainty, the citizens of the country might wonder what comes next. Disillusion, apathy, disenchantment and, in many cases, even despair might prevail and take over, drastically influencing the way we look at the future.
Yet falling in this emotional status might prevent all of us from re-engaging and re-committing to a prosperous Nepal just when the country needs its citizens the most.
As we also experienced during the earthquake's emergency, the worst situations inspire the best actions.
And even now we witness, example after example, extraordinaire gestures of solidarity with people trying to help each other in trying to overcome this second wave of the COVID-19 that has claimed the lives of millions of people worldwide since last year.
With so many challenges ahead, perhaps, the only way forward is to focus on not only ways each of us can be better as individuals but also as members of a bigger community or polity.
The key to a better future lies on a commitment to embracing a different kind of leadership, but to start with, I am not alluding to any political change.
I am instead referring to what each individual could do to step up and play a bigger role in their communities, fully exercising and espousing the principles and values underpinning what I call the duty to engage and be active.
With rising unemployment compounded by equally outrageous levels of inequalities foreseen in the months ahead, with a climate that is worryingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous for the lives of thousands of citizens of the country, the only way forward is pursuing, individually and collectively, a good leadership.
It is an effort that will not only uplift the self but also be instrumental in helping the society improve as well.
Good leadership means that ego-centred impulses driving our daily behaviours and attitudes should be reconsidered, and at the end, got rid of because we can strive to achieve personal and professional success, while also thinking about the broader society.
"Is what I am doing at the moment also benefiting the members of my community?"
"Is there anything that has a broader purpose that could also be pursued while I am deeply focussed on achieving my goals?"
"Are my goals somehow aligned to broader collective goals?"
As distanced from day-to-day reality, these questions, which might be criticised as being full of naivete and high in rhetoric, could offer us a useful check list or even a moral compass to help us understand if we are on the right path to practise the "good leadership".
Some examples of doing so implies doing our best while being assigned duties and responsibilities that we dislike or trying to go to bed in the evening with at least something to feel satisfied about or having done something useful.
It's not about being a Good Samaritan with uniquely good deeds every single day, this is something that only a few exceptional individuals can achieve.
Rather it is about being self-aware and conscious of what's going on, what is happening around us, making sure that in one way or another, if not today but tomorrow, I will try to be a responsible citizen.
This is why good leadership is the driver of the duty to engage in civic life, something that should become a pillar of a new social contract that the United Nations is trying to promote as a new way to build forward better, involving citizens.
This is being done not out of coercion but out of their sheer desire to contribute and play a part in a new way of "doing" decision-making.
Schools have a huge role in trying to embed their curricula and extra-class activities with activities that will help students to realise that their full potential can be harnessed if we prioritise positive values for the common good.
Just a few days ago, I was assisting a virtual class organised by ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) with Canadian Coach Paul Bowes, one of the most successful wheelchair basketball leaders in the game's history.
Paul was talking about team culture, and a winning team culture is based on positive values, on common and shared priorities that must be leveraged through personal accountability, which simply means "walking the talk" and do what you are supposed to do and a bit more, if you can.
What is true for a multiple gold medalist coach can also be applicable to individuals and members of the broader community in Nepal and elsewhere.
For example, this year, World Environment Day could have been a true call for action for changing our life paradigms to lead our lives more sustainably.
There are many such special days, opportunities to reflect on a vast array of priority issues that are essential for our humanity.
Why can't each of us check online about a special day that fits with our own interests and plan something useful for that day? This one and other ideas like having each of us embrace one particular Sustainable Development Goal and try to become little "champions" in promoting it and doing something about it, are just simple ways to start doing something.
After all good leadership propelling a new sense of active citizenship is driven by action, and we can all start with small ones by joining a cause we feel passionate about.
The sooner we start embracing this new way of leadership, the better the chances for creating a thriving and more just future for Nepal.
Galimberti is the co-founder of ENGAGE, an NGO partnering with youths living with disabilities. He can be reached at simone_ firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appears in the print on June 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.