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05 February 2020

This year Mugu and Humla faced a very early snowfall from 29th November 2019. This snow made it harder for the RBGs to work and most of the RBGs from Mugu and Humla stopped working for a few weeks. So far, we have already had three major snowfalls this year and they arrived earlier than last winter’s first snowfall which was not observed until mid-January. On average, with each snowfall, we have had 3 feet of thick snow around Chankheli pass and between 1.5 to 2 feet around Saatthaple and other parts of Humla. Due to the fact that most of the Humla sections are north-facing sides, snow melting takes a long time. With the first snowfall, excavators were mobilized to clear snow from Chankheli pass to Digapani which made road pliable for a few days. We then hired local tractors for transporting diesel and other construction materials at Saatthaple and Melchham site offices. During this period, around 36,000 ltrs. of diesel was stocked at Melcham and other construction materials to ensure uninterrupted operation of excavators and other RBG/SRBG work at Humla section during this heavy snowfall season. However, with more heavy snowfall adding to the existing layer the clearing of the road surface is no longer possible.

The extremely cold climate and slippery road surface after freezing the surface snow have made it difficult for the mobility of staff and other local pedestrians. As a precaution, the Project Field Office (PFO) decided to shift all staff and machines works from Saatthaple office to Bohorabada which is at a lower altitude compared to Saatthaple and so slightly warmer. A temporary field office has been established and all field activities are now being run from there.

In spite of all the difficulties, the field team is utilizing available resources to their best to expedite the work progress. We are very impressed and proud of the hard work and dedication of our team in these challenging conditions.

03 February 2020

Province Support Team (PST) Surkhet organized orientation program in Salyan, Surkhet and Dailekh for newly formed specific maintenance group (SMG) on 10th -11th, 22nd and 25th Jan 2020 respectively. The objective of the orientation was to strengthen the knowledge and skills of SMG members for the maintenance of roads as per SMGs guidelines. The training was conducted at respective sites of three districts. Various queries and suggestions relating to maintenance works were discussed during the orientation session. Initially, there was a theoretical session later followed by tools and safety gear distribution. A total of 255 members forming 13 groups from three districts participated. Of these number there were 95 women, which contributes to a 37% of female participation. The program was chaired by the Ward Chairperson from each district, and the participants were encouraged to provide their strong determination of completing their assigned tasks on time. The training was facilitated by the PST Surkhet cluster on each district.

31 January 2020

PTMP summary presentation was made in the first session of second day of “Karnali Province Coordination Council Meeting” on 27th December 2019. The presentation was delivered by SDE Mr. Gopal Sharma – MoPID Surkhet with some support by Central Stakeholder Coordinator Mr. Laxman Bhakta Dahi Shrestha. The presentation was in Nepali and contained 30 slides in total and also PRN roads demarking in the Google map. The time allocation for us was one hour and presentation was within the allocated time and MoPID secretary was quite happy with the presentation.

There was no discussion session but some of the members put their views for implementing PTMP with clear cut responsibilities between Province and Local Level (Palikas).

31 January 2020

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.

31 January 2020

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.

30 January 2020

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.

30 January 2020

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.

29 January 2020

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!

03 December 2019

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.

03 December 2019

As the Mugu Karnali River is currently passable due to its low water levels compared to the monsoon season, the project field te

03 December 2019

Some areas around Mugu and Humla have experienced the first snowfall of this year’s season.

03 December 2019

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.

26 November 2019

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.

26 November 2019

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.

26 November 2019

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.

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