Climate Action

Mohit Rauniyar: Educating the community to fight climate change

Hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal are at risk from the effects of climate change — but education can help.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal are at risk from the effects of climate change — but education can help. Image: Mohit Rauniyar

Julie Masiga
Communications Lead, Centre for Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum Geneva
Chris Hamill-Stewart
Writer, Forum Agenda
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This article is part of: Global Shapers Annual Summit

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  • This Global Shaper has helped thousands of underprivileged children in Nepal access education.
  • Now, he’s expanding his attention to climate change, and ensuring that Nepalese schools have the tools they need to teach the impacts of climate change.
  • He is one of the many Global Shapers attending the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Annual Summit.

Mohit Rauniyar is an entrepreneur, activist and community leader. Despite his many accolades, he is most comfortable being called an educator.

Founder of Canopy Nepal and a Global Shaper, Rauniyar, from Nepal, has dedicated the last 13 years of his life to expanding access to education for disadvantaged children in his home country of Nepal.

When he started, he was barely more than a child himself — just 16 years old. But he had a vision.

“I started working in this field at 16, and it wasn’t an easy journey,” he says. “Every school, parent, stakeholder, or even student that I approached with this idea doubted my capability of bringing even the slightest change.”

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Delivering education for all

Canopy provides resources, mentorship and support to ensure children from less privileged backgrounds have access to quality education. It also provides interactive programmes to students, which help them nurture skills like self-expression, creativity, critical analysis and storytelling.

Now, Kathmandu-based Canopy has worked with nearly 10,000 students across Nepal, reached over 200 schools, run 830 engagement programmes with teachers across the country and awarded 180 scholarships.

Its impact runs deep — and it runs in the parts of Nepalese society that need it most.

“Through Canopy, I am trying to ensure that education is accessible to all, promoting social equity and empowering individuals who might otherwise be left behind,” he tells the Forum, explaining that he’s also aiming to equip these children with the soft skills they need for the future.

“My emphasis on interactive learning approaches in Nepal is equally significant, as it cultivates students’ critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, preparing them for the complexities of the modern world.”

This expertise in education, hard-won over 13 years of work, is also proving critical as he takes on another critical global challenge: climate change.

Rauniyar has now participated in The Climate Reality Project's Climate Leadership Training and The Climate Reality Project Incubator. These experiences, he explains, inspired the theme of the SHAPE South Asia meeting, and being part of the team that created the Advocacy Paper for South Asia.

His journey has also inspired other Global Shapers to lead climate projects in the same region. Rauniyar will present these accomplishments at the upcoming Global Shapers Annual Summit, showcasing the power of training and incubation programmes in driving positive change.

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Taking up the fight against climate change

Rauniyar has witnessed first-hand how climate change is affecting his country and his community.

“From missing the perfect temperature in my city, seeing the rise of mosquitoes, hearing more about landslides and droughts in nearing communities in Nepal, unnatural rainy seasons and warmer winters regularly, it didn’t take long for me to realize that these were due to climate change,” he says.

His inspiration for taking up this fight also came from a less-likely and ostensibly lighter-hearted place, too: the dystopian Pixar film Wall-E, which humorously depicts the flight of the human race (and subsequent replacement by robots) from a planet Earth filled to the brim with garbage and pollution.

“The movie strongly depicts the importance of sustainable practices and the need to preserve our planet for the next generation,” says Rauniyar. “Experiencing all the changes first-hand and keeping Wall-E’s lesson in mind, I couldn’t help but start to think of solutions.”

Mohit Rauniyar runs Kathmandu-based Canopy, which has helped improve the education of nearly 10,000 students across Nepal.
Mohit Rauniyar runs Kathmandu-based Canopy, which has helped improve the education of nearly 10,000 students across Nepal. Image: Saurav Thapa Shrestha

Global Shapers working for climate education

As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community, a global network of dynamic leaders working to catalyse positive change in their communities and globally, Rauniyar is blending his experience in education with his drive to solve critical climate issues.

As part of the Kathmandu Hub’s Green Shapers Team, he’s designing, developing and launching climate curriculum and handbooks, which will be used in schools in Nepal to educate students and expand awareness of climate change and related issues.

With the support of The Climate Reality Project and Rosamund Zander, and additional resources from the World Wildlife Fund Nepal, Rauniyar and his colleagues at the Hub collectively designed and printed 1,500 books, and distributed them across 16 public schools in Nepal and nearly 1,500 students.

“The Global Shapers community also aligns perfectly with my values and aspirations, particularly in addressing pressing global issues around climate change, mental health, and education,” says Rauniyar. “I have had the flexibility and the opportunity to create ideas and actually work on them by joining the community, and this I think is a wonderful platform for any individual. Being a part of this community, I can and have contributed my knowledge, skills, and passion to the causes and worked with like-minded individuals who share the same drive to make a difference.”

Striving to expand education and address climate change isn’t just the right thing to do — it also brings Rauniyar peace.

“My work helps me sleep at night,” he explains. “I know it’s having a positive impact on the lives of many individuals and families.”

As for the future, he wants to bring in more stakeholders in his work at Canopy and scale up the efforts, perhaps even internationally. Working with government in shaping policy, too, is an option.

In fact, he’s the first to admit he’s not entirely sure where the future will take him — “This is a tough question and I always end up giving a vague and vast answer,” he says — but he is sure he won’t stop broadening access to education. He won’t stop working against climate change and bridging the educational gaps foundational to catalysing climate action.

Learning to Lead: How Grassroots Activism is Saving Our Planet is a blog series that delves into the Global Shapers Community's top Climate Leaders. This series aims to celebrate the accomplishments of our Climate Leaders and inspire readers to take action in their own communities.

By amplifying their voices and sharing their stories, we hope to empower individuals to join the global movement towards a sustainable and resilient future.

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