Seven newly appointed engineering interns completed a 6-day induction training course organised by RAP3 MHLR central team. The training covered areas of planning, design, procurement, implementation, and safeguarding. All seven of the interns successfully passed a training assessment based on these five themes, with one intern achieving a distinction mark. The interns have been assigned districts, reflective of their preferences and assessment scores, where they will be based for the next six months. It has already been a month since the interns were mobilised in their assigned districts and their review will be done at the end of their internship based on their performance and experiences in the field. RAP3 has been employing young civil engineers as engineering interns since 2014.
After the Post-monsoon Damage Assessment Survey in provincial road network (PRN), 64 worksites were identified on 12 roads in 8 districts of Karnali Province except Humla and Dolpa. About 36 Specific Maintenance Groups (SMGs) have been proposed with an estimated cost of NPR 36.82 million for specific maintenance work and SMGs are already formed in 5 out of 8 districts and the formation process is still ongoing in other districts. SMGs in Jajarkot district have already started road maintenance work from 2nd January 2020 and the ward chairperson appreciated the RAP3 MHLR working modality and expressed his commitment in a meeting with the DFID field visit team to support and cooperate in SMG work.
SMG pilot demonstration road maintenance works normally include gabion retaining wall, stone soling, and road widening in narrow road sections.
The DFID team accompanied by DoLI, PC and RAP3 MHLR team attended some of the maintenance pilot districts in Karnali Province from 6th to 9th January 2020. The team met officials of MOPID Surkhet, Gurbakot municipality in Surkhet and Shivalaya Rural Municipality in Jajarkot. The team also interacted with Road Maintenance Groups (RMG) mobilised under IDO Surkhet and also observed the Specific Maintenance Groups (SMG) site in that road corridor. Furthermore, the team has also explored issues and problems in RMG maintenance works, the importance of RMG works, functional status of Palikas and the support or requirements the area needs for its further development.
The overall field visit went well and the team got an opportunity to observe the situations and the MRPC pilot demonstration works in the field.
Inclement weather and heavy snowfall has affected normal activities in Mugu and Humla districts. Excessive cold has forced many people to stay inside their houses but our Dudhedaha Local Road User Committee (LRUC) from Humla walked for two days, ignoring the cold, to reach the Project Field Office, Gamgadhi for collecting their wages of 1st, 2nd and 3rd running bills and IPC-2 of tree log management works. With snowfall, LRUC headed to Bohorabada carrying a bag full of money. Our project field staff accompanied them to safely distribute wage amount of NRS. 2.94 Million to all RBGs/SRBGs. Our workers were, however, excited to receive money for their hard work in a cold chilly winter.
At the end of last year, RAP3 MHLR Team Leader, Kirsteen Merrilees, decided to sign up to run a marathon. Not any old marathon of course, but the highest marathon in the world – the Everest Marathon. Her reason was simply that “as I’m living here I might as well give it a try!”
The Everest Marathon is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world. The marathon starts at the original Everest Base Camp in Gorak Shep at an altitude of 5184m (That’s over 3.5 times taller than the highest mountain in the UK where Kirsteen is from). Just reaching there involves a challenging trek, and to acclimatise for running a marathon the pre-race trek planned by the race organisers takes 15 days with side trips to the Gokyo lakes and up to the new Everest Base Camp site at 5,364m.
The race itself takes runners through glacial moraine, sandy scree, narrow and uneven trails, stony staircases, narrow suspension bridges and exposed paths high above the river below. It involves a descent of 2,779m and a climb of 1,007m. Not only is the terrain difficult, but the altitude makes it an even more challenging experience. And of course, you have to dodge other trekkers and yaks. It is certainly not for the faint hearted!
Kirsteen completed the marathon on 2nd December and describes it as “one of the toughest things I’ve ever done”. But having said that, she enjoyed the whole experience immensely. Whilst the Everest marathon is described as a race, for her it was a chance to spend some time away from all the hussle and bussle of life in Kathmandu, to escape the stresses of work and to reconnect with nature: to enjoy a trek in a wonderful part of the world with a bit of a run at the end – albeit a bit of a long run!
Congratulations to our Safeguards and Compliance Manager Philippa who has just passed her Professional Engineering exam in the UK. Philippa very nearly didn’t make the exam when the team was delayed in returning to Kathmandu from the field. Luckily, she did with 23hours to spare before her flight to the UK, and she says she now has a much greater appreciation for how remote and rural the MHLR site is.
The RAP3 MHLR project is supporting the Nepal Engineering Council to develop their own professional review process, and there are now a number of Professionally Recognised Engineers in Nepal. It is hoped in future a number of our graduate engineers may become professionally recognized in Nepal for the engineering skills.
As the Mugu Karnali River is currently passable due to its low water levels compared to the monsoon season, the project field te
Some areas around Mugu and Humla have experienced the first snowfall of this year’s season.
With the approaching winter, RAP3 MHLR has provided high masks (or buffs) to all the Road Building Groups (RBGs) to keep them warm and free of dust when working on the construction site. After wearing a high mask, our happy RBGs have been posing for photos.
International Men’s Day is celebrated every year on November 19, but unlike the Women’s Day, we barely see any special events on this day. Therefore, as part of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this month, our Ruby team organised an event at the Central office to celebrate International Men’s Day, conscious of our efforts to create a fair environment that gives everyone a chance to thrive. The men in the team presented a short video of their roles, which they are obligated to carry out in their family and society, accompanied by a presentation that included concerns that men silently face on a global scale. The team highlighted the following statements:
Men are always influenced by the obligation of family, social and economic responsibility.
Men too struggle with their mental health
Men are constantly told that they need to “man up” and “be strong”
Men do cry
Men need support in their lives to stop the increasing rate of suicide
In addition, RAP3 MHLR celebrates this day to let go of all the judgments and to be more open to understanding the issues that male gender faces. Also we have created a safe space, a "Feelings Basket," where everyone in the office can freely express their feelings and emotions. We conduct such kind of various activities every month to promote greater equality and understanding in the workplace.
Happy International Men’s day to the all the great men around the world.
As part of capacity building training for project field staff, the RAP3 MHLR Central Team, held a three-day technical and management training at Gumgadhi, Mugu, from 13 to 15 November 2019. The project field team and the CTEVT interns participated in the training. The training materials discussed in detail included gabion retaining wall and dry wall construction methods, updating strip maps, hill road water management, and excavator management . In addition, the technical trainers also highlighted the importance of keeping the technical signoff sheet and instruction sheet for our RBGs/SRBGs. Furthermore, the environment specialist briefed about the Environment Management Plan, with particular focus on the importance of bio-engineering work and the compensatory tree planting along the MHLR corridor. The Safeguard Specialist held a session on safety and incident management. The team concluded the training with the on-site field demonstration to enhance our staff’s technical skills. This training helps to create cohesion among field workers and also allows them to solve the various issues that may occur in the field.
The RAP3 MHLR field team started our continuous orientation programme for our newest Road Building Groups (RBGs) from 19 November 2019 along the MHLR corridor. The team trained our workers on the RAP3 MHLR safety package, which focuses on safety at work, the proper use of safety gear, the daily checklist of safety equipment at work for group leaders, and the list of first aid items and their proper use in each group of workers. They are also briefed on health and safety information, wage payment procedures, personal and workplace hygiene, insurance policies and on the system of public audit after payment of wages. In the case of any accidents that occur at work, groups are also trained on the importance of maintaining accident record forms on a regular basis so that trends can be monitored, and safety improvements can be made. We have also instructed our staff to respect and protect local cultures and resources when carrying out any construction work.
On this auspicious occasion, the entire RAP3 MHLR team would like to wish a prosperous and Happy Dashain to you all. May your Dashain holiday be blessed with the love and warmth of family and friends full of happy memories.
Have a Good Dashain Festival 2019!
In every area of struggle there are still rays of hope
As part of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this month, the Silver team conducted an event on how generation gaps can also be a hindrance, interfering with cooperation between the various age groups and creating disconnects between people. The team performed a short play that conveyed the message on how the seniors can play a major role to drive collaboration and understanding the needs of different age groups. The play focused on the value all ages can add in work and the effective way of communication to reduce conflict between generations. The team also conducted a quiz contest between young and old members. The audiences were divided into two groups: people below 40 and people above 40. The younger team were asked questions that were more familiar to the old age group and vice versa. The Older group won the quiz contest with an extra 30 marks. This was a great play with a strong message that learning can go both ways. Coming together and holding such an event is all about inclusiveness, respect, and a sense of belonging at our workplace.
Next month, the Gold Team will have an event on “Team building”. The promotion of such activities at RAP3 MHLR is also about giving the platform for our employees to present their creativity and talents. We are excited to see what the Gold Team has to show us next month.