About Us

Governance Lab (GovLab), an initiative of Daayitwa Abhiyaan, is a platform to bring together experienced researchers, policy makers and other partners for sustainable development of Nepal. 


The mission of GovLab is to create an ecosystem which influences research driven national policy, by conducting policy research, facilitating dialogues among various stake holders and sharing knowledge. GovLab also strives to be a platform for policy making researcher to exchange ideas and advocate for evidence based policy making in Nepal. 

Policy Focus

1.  Youth Employment

2.  Access to Investment

3.  Women’s Economic        Empowerment 

4.  Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

5.  Governance Reform


Dr. Pukar Malla


Dr. Pukar Malla has been leading parallel careers as a leadership coach, community organizer, and innovation specialist. As a Founder and Executive Chairperson of a leadership non-profit, Daayitwa, he has been organizing youth to lead innovative solutions in the government, business and civil society sectors.

As a Former Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, he investigated and piloted frameworks for communities of innovations to lead change. As a Senior Innovation Policy Specialist at the World Bank, he supported Indian, Chinese and Ghanian governments to promote innovation and inclusive growth. Prior to that, he led technology designs at Intel, AMD, Silicon Graphics, and a Silicon Valley startup, and secured 2 US patents. He received his Bachelors from Swarthmore College, with a focus on engineering and economics. He spent 3 years at Cornell, attaining a MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering with a Minor in Business Management. He earned his MPA from Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard, he also led the university-wide Harvard Graduate Student Government as its elected President. 

Nisha Onta, PhD


Nisha Onta, PhD is the Executive Director at Governance Lab. Nisha is a gender and climate change expert who has completed her PhD in Gender and Development Studies from the Asian institute of Technology, Thailand. 

Her thesis title is “Gender and caste relations in climate change adaptation. The case of Burgaron village, Humla district, Nepal”. She was a recipient of NODARD fellowship in UNDP Human Development Academic Fellowship. She has been engaged in research in South Asian and South East Asia related to climate change adaptation, livelihood diversification and gender and climate change. She has also participated and presented papers in various climate change workshops and conferences, and is actively involved in gender and climate change scholar networks. She has also published papers and book reviews in peer reviewed journals. Nisha has been working as a Regional Coordinator for a women led INGO, WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM) since 2012. She is also the Secretary of her family foundation Iswer Raj and Sharada Onta Foundation. 


Salina Bhattarai


Salina Bhattarai serves as the Governance and Research Coordinator at GovLab, where she conducts research on governance and public sector strengthening. In addition to research, Salina also coordinates the outreach efforts of GovLab with government and policy partners.  She also provides relevant support to other entities of Daayitwa Abhiyaan, including the Leadership for Economic Governance project. 

She holds two Masters degrees, one in Public Administration from Central Michigan University in the USA, and the other in Sustainable Development from Kathmandu University. She has a wealth of experience in the field of governance, having previously worked as a Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Officer at Informal Sector Service Center (Insec), a Research Consultant at National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, and a Graduate Assistant at Central Michigan University. 

Medha Joshi


Medha Joshi is the Research Manager at GovLab where she supports Research and Evidence for Nepal’s Teansition (RENT) project. Her research interests lie in the area of governance and accountability.

Prior to working at GovLab, she was working as a consultant at the World Bank facilitating the Agile Bank Evaluation survey to map out the management practices within units and staff experiences within the organization. She has also served as a Teach For Nepal Fellow teaching English to secondary school students in rural Lalitpur.

Pratigya Adhikary


Pratigya works on day-to-day operational and long-term strategic goals of IE Nepal. She has an experience of over a decade in managing operations and communications in various organizations.

Shuvangi Poudyal


Puja Sharma


Srijana Shrestha


Sakila Chaudhary


Sakila looks after administration in Inclusion Economics Nepal at Governance Lab. She has completed her bachelor’s degree in Business Studies form St. Xavier’s College. Previously, she worked as an Admin in a Telecom project.


Gauri Shankar Gautam


Gauri Shankar has completed his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Master’s in Economics from Howard University. His interests lie at the intersection of politics and economics with a focus on issues of representation and inclusion. At Inclusion Economics Nepal, his role is to provide assistance in collecting data from different sources, cleaning them up and getting insights from them to answer broader research questions.answer broader research questions.


Aayushma Manandhar



Aayushma primarily works with data. She is involved in data preparation and analysis, and aspires to expand her understanding of mathematics and societies. Additionally, she enjoys long walks, fat books, and idle musings. 

Anubhav Dhakal


At Inclusion Economics Nepal, Anubhav works on preparing and analyzing research data. He is interested in the intersection of economics, mathematics and programming. Learn more about him, here.

Siddhartha Rayamajhi

Governance and Research Intern

Siddhartha is Currently working as Governance and Research Intern. Before joining the Governance lab, he worked as a Research intern at the National Young Academy of Nepal.

He is also an alumni of  Aspire Leaders program,  founded at Harvard University. His research interest lies in a broader range of subjects, mainly Economic development and Applied Econometrics. 



Daayitwa envisions a thriving Nepal where all citizens embrace their responsibilities to collectively transform social challenges into innovative opportunities. Daayitwa aims to:

1. Promote inclusive and enterprise driven economic growth. 

2. Strengthen governance of public service delivery

3. Foster resilience in local communities

Nepal Leadership Academt (NLA) is a non-profit company established to help address the growing issue of leadership cries around the world. 

NLA is a signature component of Daayitwa Abhiyaan, which envisions a resilient and thriving Nepal where all citizens embrace their responsibilities to collectively transform societal challenges into innovative opportunities. 

EPoD India at IFMR, a joint program by Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School and the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), works with policymakers and key partners in India and Nepal through an iterative process of policy design. It identify areas where research and data can make the greatest difference to policy, then engage in a process of designing, testing, and refining solutions to problems.

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