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22 November 2021

As part of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this month, the Kathmandu team held an event on the Lessons Learned from COVID-19 on 12th November 2021. The team performed a short play that conveyed the message on how we need to remain flexible, safe and cautious during this pandemic to best handle the “new (temporary) normal.” The team also emphasised the significant role of organisations in society in containing the coronavirus by keeping their staff informed and aware of the COVID-19. They also praised the efforts of RAP3 MHLR in developing a remobilization plan that guides staff on how to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion team concluded their event sharing that the project’s leadership and efforts have helped the project staff remain conscious and rational throughout this tough period of the pandemic, which itself is a tremendous learning opportunity for the staff.

We are delighted to learn from the inclusion event that RAP3 MHLR’s contribution on coronavirus prevention and guidance has enabled our staff spread positivity and awareness in the community.

10 November 2021

RAP3 MHLR organised a one-day internal workshop for the first time since October 2019. As cases of coronavirus infections have been dropping in recent days, the project held an internal team workshop on 29th October 2021 at Dhokaima Café, Patan. The workshop was conducted in compliance with the Health and Safety protocol of the Government of Nepal as well as the project’s Remobilisation Plan, version 3.

At the workshop, the construction and the institutional teams held separate meetings with their respective team members and discussed various topics within their component. The construction team discussed field challenges such as site monitoring, measurement of work, valuation and payment of workers, site management during monsoon, site safety and sought solutions to manage these challenges. The session also focused on the lessons learnt while working in hybrid construction and liaising with different government agencies, and the implementation plan of the outstanding works and monsoon damage works. Similarly, the institutional team presented on various topics including issues related to technical, political, social and geographical challenges they faced while working in the field, lessons learnt, achievements, the way forward, and impact of COVID-19 in the field.

Following the sessions of the construction and the institutional teams, the governance team briefed about FCDO compliance, procurement and disposal, technical management, risk management, performance management, safeguards and communication, focusing on information that needs to be shared between the field and central teams, as well as lessons learnt. The admin team further elaborated on asset disposal procedures and plans to re-open the central office for general use following the decline of new COVID-19 cases in the Kathmandu valley. The full team workshop was highly informative and productive in terms of sharing challenges, project accomplishments, areas for future improvement, as well as allowing all team members to catch up and meet in person after a long time.

10 November 2021

RAP3 MHLR conducted a Graduate workshop for everyone in the graduate programme on 1st November 2021 at Dhokaima Café, Patan. The graduate workshop was attended by all the graduates based in Kathmandu and Karnali Province, the Team Leader, Deputy Team Leader, Senior Stakeholder Coordinator, Safeguards and Compliance Engineer, Province Support Engineer, Deputy Province Support Engineer and two Senior Engineers.

Each graduate was given three different questions to address in their presentations.  The graduates presented on what they like the most working in RAP3 MHLR, aspects they would change if they had an opportunity, if their job description met their expectations, challenges they have faced while working, their professional development and their ambitions/expectations both within and outside the project. The presenters addressed concerns and queries from fellow participants as well as provided recommendations and highlighted accomplishments based on their learnings and work experiences in the project. The senior staff helped clarify the issues and queries raised during the workshop and also noted down recommendations for moving forward.

All of the graduates gave excellent presentations and their years of work experience, learnings and solving issues independently that emerged in their work have made these young graduates matured, professional and strong which is a great accomplishment for the project and graduates.

08 October 2021

On this auspicious occasion, the entire RAP3 MHLR team would like to wish a prosperous and safe Dashain to you all. May you celebrate this festival safely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep your loved ones safe. 

Have a memorable Dashain Festival 2021! Stay safe and healthy!!!

08 October 2021

As part of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the third season of the Inclusion Event series has kicked-off from October 2021. First group from Kathmandu team held a Quiz Contest on 1st October 2021 where they presented a series of recreational and informative activities. There were altogether 5 rounds in the quiz covering general knowledge, movie, sports, music and project related information. The team is planning to announce the winner at a special upcoming event at RAP3 MHLR. In between the quiz, the participants also thoroughly enjoyed solving riddles shared by the team. Inclusion event is well appreciated among all employees since such virtual activities once in every two weeks bring everyone together for a fun-filled session along with some chit-chat and loud laughter.  

In the next event, the second group of Kathmandu team will present on the “Lessons Learnt from COVID-19: Based on the Experience of RAP3 MHLR staff.” We are excited to see what our team has to share on this interesting topic. Stay tuned until then. 

08 October 2021

Following the completion of the second section of the UK aid funded Mugu Humla Link Road (MHLR) from Darke to Chankheli, 11.350 Km, the road section has been officially handed over to the Infrastructure Development Office (IDO), Mugu on 30th September 2021. Representing MOPIUD, Mr. Yogendra Dharala, IDO Chief, Mugu accepted the road handover of MHLR second section. The handover was witnessed by the chief guest, Ganesh Prashad Koirala, Assistant Chief District Officer (Assist. CDO). Mr. Koirala appreciated RAP3 MHLR’s contribution to the improvement of socio-economic growth in Mugu and Humla. Similarly, RAP3 MHLR Team Leader, Kirsteen Merrilees and Deputy Team Leader, Ram P. Thapaliya expressed their sincere gratitude to all the organisations, working groups, and excavator owners associated with the project for their resilient support and contribution in achieving project’s objectives and success.

Local residents of Mugu and Humla are hopeful that they will be leveraging the benefits of regular transport services once the entire road section of MHLR is completed. In the meantime, vehicles are being allowed for regular delivery of essential goods to Humla by prioritising the safety of workers and vehicle operators. With the operation of vehicles, there is already evidence of significant reductions in the cost of food and construction materials in the newly served communities. 

26 September 2021

RAP3 MHLR gives high importance to workplace safety for every employee and worker associated with the project. We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and have policies, procedures and Codes of Conduct to guide our staff to work safely and prevent injury or any harm, to themselves and others. RAP3 MHLR field team organised a safeguards orientation programme to Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) from 35 Municipalities in Karnali Province working on 771.75 km of Municipality Road Core Network (MRCN) from September 12 to 19 2021. The training was delivered by the project field teams of Salyan, Surkhet, Dailekh, Rukum West and Jajarkot districts. The training was attended by 459 RMG members (271-Male and 188-Female, i.e., 41 %) of the five districts. The training primarily focused on safeguarding guidelines and best practices, and RAP3 MHLR Codes of Conduct (Safeguards, Anti-corruption and Behaviour).  The participants were briefed about the definition of safeguarding at RAP3 MHLR, individual responsibilities  to comply with Codes, do’s and don’ts, PSEA (Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse), SEAH (Safeguarding Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment), safeguarding against SEAH during COVID-19, modern slavery, child labour, gender based violence/discrimination, health and safety—secure working environment with prevention from accidents and spread of diseases, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

26 September 2021

RAP3 MHLR Central Team, held one-day virtual training on site safety for field-based supervision staff on 8th September 2021.  Supervision staff from Salyan, Surkhet, Dailekh, Rukum West and Jajarkot attended the training. The training covered topics such as the importance of site safety, various risks at site and their mitigation, purpose and handling of safety gear, proper handling of construction tools, site management, first aid kit management, usage and record keeping, incident management, and Covid-19 prevention and protection. The participants engaged in sharing site-related issues, concerns, queries, and feedback. All concerns and feedback raised during the training were immediately addressed by the concerned teams and immediate actions taken as needed.

26 September 2021

While the country was facing a shortage of medical oxygen and other health essentials for a growing number of COVID-19 cases all over the country, UK aid funded RAP3 MHLR immediately responded by providing 50 cylinders of oxygen to the District Hospital, Mugu on 30th May 2021 along with other essential emergency medical supplies and medicines to Gamgadhi district hospital, local isolation centres and health posts in Mugu and Humla.

The District COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (DCCMC), Mugu organised an event at the District Administrative Office, Gamgadhi to recognise organisations for their generous contribution in fighting against the second wave of COVID-19 in Mugu and Humla. At the event, DCCMC appreciated the project’s contribution in the prompt delivery of medical supplies in Mugu and Humla and awarded RAP3 MHLR with a letter of appreciation.

RAP3 MHLR would like to express our gratitude to DCCMC, Mugu for appreciating our efforts and we are pleased that our medical supplies in Karnali have helped them in minimising the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during the difficult time.

06 September 2021

At RAP3 MHLR, all staff are required to understand the project’s values and ethics to build a thriving work culture and respectful environment for everyone involved with the project. RAP3 MHLR ensures that all project staff and those engaged through our partner and implementing organisations understand and comply with the RAP3 MHLR Codes of Conduct. In August, staff completed three mandatory Code of Conduct courses, focusing on anti-corruption, behaviour and safeguards, as well as four other mandatory training. The training is available through the project’s e-learning platform, and was given in-person to those who don’t have access to the online platform, following social distancing norms and other Covid 19 safety protocols.  

26 August 2021

The third round of Professional Engineer PEng. (Nepal) title for senior Experience Route Engineers’ has been duly awarded by NEC Chairperson, Er. Dilli Raman Niraula in presence of ICE Country Representative for Nepal, Professor Bharat Raj Pandey. The title was awarded to 20 qualified engineers who have achieved eligible milestones in academic and professional experience. The award ceremony was organised by Nepal Engineering Council (NEC) on 11th August 2021 and was conducted in compliance with the Health and Safety protocol of the Government of Nepal.

British Embassy Kathmandu and RAP3 MHLR Project would like to congratulate all qualified engineers’ and especially Dr. Er. Thusitha Chandani Shahi who is the first woman to earn the PEng (Nepal) title. We hope that the number of female engineers with the title of PEng. will increase in the coming years.

The PEng title was first launched in 2018 where 13 experienced engineers of Nepal were awarded this title in recognition of their achievements having demonstrated their engineering skills through their work. NEC with support from UK aid funded RAP3 MHLR has played a vital role in introducing the Professional Engineer title for the first time in Nepal to establish and maintain professional standards for engineering careers and provide long term benefits for engineers being recognised and competitive internationally. 

26 August 2021

MHLR has an agreement with the Department of Forest and Soil Conservation (DOFSC) that for every tree felled during road construction, the project needs to plant 25 new trees at the ratio of 1:25 and to take care of those trees for five years from planting. A total of 3,358 trees cut on Humla side means 83,950 new trees must be planted as compensation. Out of this, RAP3 MHLR has completed the plantation of 11,883 trees. In Mugu, the project has completed the plantation of all 18,600 trees that are required as compensatory plantation.

There is limited land available for compensatory planting near the Mugu Humla Link Road in Humla, which is mostly dense forest or agriculturally productive land, so it has been agreed with Divisional Forest Office Humla that they will carry out the planting on our behalf in other locations throughout the district. 

DFOs of Humla and Mugu will take over the care responsibility of the planted trees on behalf of the MHLR project. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between RAP3 MHLR and the DFOs of Humla and Mugu for the remaining compensatory planting and care taking of all trees planted. The MOU defines the total numbers and remaining care taking period of the trees along with the cost of providing these services, which will be funded by the project.

26 August 2021

Logs from the trees felled for construction of the Mugu Humla Link Road within the area of Jadikausi community forest in Humla were stacked at 14 locations designated by the Humla Divisional Forest Office. The project field team handed over these tree logs and firewood to Humla DFO on 9th August 2021 in the presence of Humla Divisional Forest Officer, chairperson of community forest and local people of the district. In total, there were 85,929.78 Cu ft. of Timber and 18,187.12 Cu ft. of Firewood from 1491 trees.  As per the contract signed with the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation and Divisional Forest Office, Humla, 1,491 trees have been cut down in the Humla section out of 2337 trees stamped by DFO in this region. The Chairperson of Jadikausi Community Forest of Humla thanked RAP3 MHLR for promoting the green road concept for sustainable development. Similarly, DFO Humla has also requested the community forest users to fully utilise the woods in a proper manner, as well as local residents to use these woods for house construction, if necessary.

All the logs and firewood of Jadikausi Community Forest and its management are now the responsibility of the Divisional Forest Office (DFO), Humla and should be used only with the approval of the DFO, Humla.

The Humla DFO has also provided the letter of appreciation to RAP3 MHLR for successfully executing all the tasks and responsibilities on time. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the concerned teams and authorities for their assistance and support to deliver our work effectively during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this handover now, RAP3 MHLR has completed the handover of all logs in both Mugu and Humla districts.

27 July 2021

Everyone has been affected differently by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health measures such as lockdowns and social distancing are necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19, but such restrictions may also have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees. Therefore, understanding the importance of positive mental well-being of staff and to cope with stress in a healthy way in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, RAP3 MHLR conducted “Stress Management and Mental Health Training” in June and July 2021 for all RAP3 MHLR staff. The training was spread across several batches to keep the number of participants low so that participants could have sufficient time and space to interactively share their feelings with certified psychologist/stress counsellor, Karuna Kunwar. The training provided practical information, tips and exercises on preventing stress, anxiety and our staff found the training useful and beneficial for managing their mental health and keeping them optimistic and hopeful in the midst of the pandemic. In addition, staff who want a private session with the psychologist or have personal questions are now able to contact Karuna for assistance.