A few words

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 speacialist. As a Founder and Executive Director 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. 

Dr. Nisha Onta


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.

Dhrub Bhandari


Dhruba Bhandari is post-doctoral fellow at Governance Lab where he supports RENT (Research and Evidence for Nepal’s Transition) project. He completed his PhD in development economics from Oklahoma State University, USA. Prior to Joining GovLab he worked at Institute for Integrated Development Studies, (IIDS) as a senior economist.

Binod Paudel


Medha Joshi


Medha completed her MPP from George Washington University on a Fulbright scholarship. She also holds an MA in Rural Development from Tribhuvan University.

Medha Joshi is a Research Manager at Governance Lab(GovLab) where she supports Research and Evidence for Nepal’s Transition (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. 

Gauri Shankar Gautam


Sirsha Risal


Sirsha completed her Masters of Arts in Mass Communication from School of Broadcasting and Communication (Mumbai), Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Communication and Journalism, India. 

She had previously worked at Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI) as Head of Communications and at Prisma Advertising (an associate of Ogilvy and Mather) as Sr. Public Relations Executive.

Salina Bhattari


She completed her Masters In Public Administration from Central Michigan University, USA, and Masters in Sustainable development from Kathmandu University.

She had previously worked as Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Research Consultant at National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, and Graduate Assistant at Central Michigan University.

Srijana Shrestha


Aakansha Sharma completed her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from University of Northampton.

She is an active youth Environmental advocate who has been with local communities and representing young voices. Aakansha is a Research and Communications Intern for GovLab who supports digitization of data, monitors and translates local and national news on online news sites and organizational websites, and supports communication tasks.

Shreyas Kharel


He had previously worked as a web content writer, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from National College, Kathmandu University.

Niyati Adhikari

Research Associate

Niyati is a lawyer with a Master’s degree in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law from Bangor University, UK. At Gov Lab, she conducts research on the identified topics, including but not limited to women ‘s political empowerment, local governance, gender justice and economic growth.

Dr. Sujit Pandey


Sujit Pandey is a researcher and consultant with interests primarily in entrepreneurship, firm competitiveness and human capital. He completed PhD from the NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Norway. 

In his doctoral thesis, he studied the process of accumulation of human capital in new firms and the effect of human capital on their performance. He worked as a researcher at NHH and taught a course on international business there.
Over the past six years, Mr. Pandey has studied various facets of entrepreneurship ranging from how recessionary business environment affects entry and performance of new firms to the resources that give firms competitive advantage. He has also conducted research on the factors that are affecting the growth of micro and small enterprises in Nepal and potential policy solutions to address those impediments. Mr. Pandey has previously also worked in the financial sector, where he managed a credit portfolio composed primarily of small and medium enterprises.


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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