With access to roads now a fact in Mugu and Humla, the RAP3 MHLR field team conducted a road traffic safety education for our workers and local students to minimize the risk of accidents due to lack of experience in vehicles and road use. A total of 756 workers attended the road traffic safety orientation programme in Mugu which started on 5th March 2021 and similarly, 511 students from four different schools of Mugu also participated in the training. The same training was conducted in Humla on 19th March 2021 where 150 students from two schools attended the training. The informative education on road traffic safety provided the participants with information on how to be aware while getting in and out of a vehicle, how to walk on which side of the road, how to cross the road and how to teach the children to walk on the road. This orientation on road traffic safety is aimed to make participants aware of road safety and how to use roads and vehicles safely.
On 25th December 2020, the RAP3 MHLR team handed over to the Government of Nepal the UK Aid funded first 26km long section of the 67km Mugu Humla Link Road (MHLR). Some time back the government had planned to build a bridge across the Mugu Karnali River, but for various reasons has not been able to move forward with the construction. Considering this situation, the Chhayanath Rara Municipality has started the construction of a bailey bridge over the Karnali River. As this bridge is also critical for all year vehicle access to MHLR, RAP3 MHLR is helping them to construct about 920 metres of approach road on both sides of the river, to connect to the new bridge. In the presence of the general public on 17th March 2021, Mugu Mayor and RAP3 MHLR project field officer jointly organized an inauguration ceremony on both the upcoming construction of Bailey bridge and approach roads.
The Jalap/Rabi Chakra JV construction company, has been awarded the contract for construction of the Bailey bridge by the municipality. They have to complete the work of retaining walls on both sides before the water level rises in the Mugu Karnali River. Mayor has also stated that the Bailey bridge will be completed by the end of next fiscal year. The ward member of Chhayanath Rara Municipality, Mugu shared the bitter experiences of local people that even when they brought the patients in a vehicle to Rugha, the lack of a road bridge on the river meant the patients had to be carried to the hospital on their backs through the wire bridge (Tuin). Locals and the project had a difficult time on transporting goods and construction materials across the river because of the lack of a bridge, and the risk of transportation was much higher during the monsoon season. Now, the locals of Mugu and Humla are happy and optimistic about the timely construction of the Bailey bridge, believing that they will soon be able to make full use of the road.
The International Day of Happiness is observed every year on 20th March all over the world to highlight the importance of happiness, to spread happiness and to promote happiness as a fundamental human goal.
On the occasion of International Day of Happiness, the Surkhet group of our RAP3 MHLR inclusion and diversity team organized a virtual event on 19th March 2021 in which they presented a video depicting glimpses of their happiness by sharing photos of their happy times. The team members also highlighted in their video what happiness means to them and their source of happiness. They gave a strong message that happiness can be found in the little things we do and we should be able to see and experience it daily.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the members of the Surkhet team to mark this meaningful celebration of International Day of Happiness. We wish you happiness in every situation and may you spread happiness wherever you go.
Happy International Day of Happiness, 2021!
Poetry is a form of expression and a part of human life. On the occasion of world poetry day that is celebrated annually on 21st March, RAP3 MHLR organized a virtual poetry recital competition on 19th March 2021, wherein project staff showcased their linguistic talents. The staff were encouraged to submit their poems in either English or Nepali languages, and there were entries of nine Nepali poems and seven English poems in the competition. Through their creative poetry, the staff shared their life experiences, the problems COVID-19 presented to the world, the bitter experience of being a daughter, the love letter to their loved ones, the lifestyle of Mother, injustice and chaos in society, and there were entries of many other interesting and fascinating topics. The staff recited their poems one by one and our four Honorable Judges concluded the ceremony by announcing the poetry competition winners. These were “Love Letter” by Agaman Subedi with runner up “The Chaos Within” by Neelam Thapa and similarly Ashok Bhandari, Rakesh Khadka, Tika Maden and Milipa Thapa won for Nepali poetry.
Thank you to all of the team members who joined the competition, to whom we now say: “Keep writing.”
RAP3 MHLR celebrated the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 at MHLR site offices as well as at Kathmandu. Rural women from various road building and maintenance groups, local officials, RAP3 MHLR field team and other stakeholders came together in various project districts: Mugu, Humla, Salyan and Surkhet to celebrate IWD 2021. In Mugu and Humla, more than 300 local women and men including local bodies and the project field staff joined the women’s rally to support the liberation of all women, their equal rights, gender equality and to stand for the IWD 2021 international theme, ‘Choose to Challenge’. There was a discussion with local women to raise awareness about preventing violence against women, increasing gender equality, women’s rights and the benefits of an equal society. Explaining the difference between before and after the project implementation, Mrs Susila Budha, a member of Local Road User Committee (LRUC) in Mugu, shared that earlier women could not go out the door but now women work outside with men, and men are also helping women on household chores. Similarly, Mrs Chuchhe Baduwal, LRUC of Panidhara, Mugu, spoke about the importance of eradicating the blind practices of “Chhaupadi” and “Chhaugoth”. She encouraged all women attending the event to fight bravely against every challenge they face in their community, as well as sharing the importance of being an independent woman. She also expressed her gratitude to RAP3 MHLR and PHASE Nepal for imparting education on menstrual hygiene in the rural communities of Mugu and Humla, and providing training on how to make reusable sanitary pads, which improved their health and sanitation in the village. Also, Bandana Aidi, Road Building Group (RBG) of Humla district shared that RAP3 MHLR hands out money directly into the hand of female workers which has helped them gain respect in their community and made men aware of the value of women empowerment. Maya Devi Shahi, another RBG from Humla shared that in the past, men were given leadership roles and they always had more opportunities. Now, women are gradually changing the scenario as they start doing various skilled jobs like dressing stones, filling gabion boxes and others. Similarly, other women from Salyan and Surkhet districts highlighted their success stories and the changes they have found after joining the project and also mentioned that they are fully committed to work for the growth of women in their community.
The event in all districts was concluded with local songs, dances, various games, refreshments and a meaningful discussion around how to end violence against women and girls, the future of women in society, and how RAP3 MHLR is helping to support women’s empowerment.
International Women’s Day is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Our project, RAP3 MHLR also believes in acknowledging and advancing the achievements of women and since 2017 we have been celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD).
On the occasion of IWD 2021, the Salyan group of our RAP3 MHLR inclusion and diversity team, organised a virtual event on Monday 15th March in which they shared a video depicting glimpses of the celebration of women’s Day from 2017 to 2021 at RAP3 MHLR. The video also featured insightful interviews of female workers of Mugu and Humla districts, as well as local employees who shared the advantages of working with RAP3 MHLR project. The team wrapped up the event with an IWD quiz where staff were asked a series of multiple-choice questions about the interesting facts and figures of women’s day.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the members of Salyan team to mark this meaningful celebration of International Women’s Day 2021. We hope that in the days to come, our world will be a safer and equal place to live for people of all genders.
RAP3 MHLR project field team organized health and safety orientation programme for 77 newly mobilised Special Road Building Groups (SRBGs) in Humla. The RAP3 MHLR safety package that focuses on work site safety, proper use of safety gear, daily checklist of safety equipment at work sites for group leaders, list of first aid items and their proper use method was thoroughly discussed to each group. Our newly formed SRBGs were also briefed about the health and safety information, the COVID-19 safety measures and guidelines on what to do and what not to do while working on a construction site. The same health and safety orientation will be given as refresher training in a few weeks.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, recognise their roles and contributions and to help them advance in a number of areas for equality and better future. On the occasion of this special day, RAP3 MHLR would like to wish a very happy women’s day to all the brave and incredible women all around the world.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’. The theme celebrates the continuous efforts of women and girls around the world to shape a better future and a healthy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With safe distancing, let’s come together and support each other to celebrate women’s participation in combating COVID-19 pandemic, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
Happy International Women’s Day 2021!
The world day of social justice promotes social justice, which involves bringing the various communities internationally together to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender inequality, unemployment, human rights and social protections.
On the occasion of World day of Social Justice that is annually celebrated on 20th February, the Dolpa group of our RAP3 MHLR inclusion and diversity team, organized a virtual event on Friday 26th February in which they shared their views and opinions on the importance of social justice. They also collected views from Specific Maintenance Groups (SMGs) on how RAP3 MHLR supports the promotion of social justice in society. Our SMGs shared that equal opportunities for women, poor and marginalized people of the community and equal pay for equal work regardless of their gender, race and religion is a successful project strategy to promote social justice. The Dolpa group concluded the event by presenting answers to questions related to social justice that they had asked our in-house staff before the event.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the members of the Dolpa team to mark this meaningful celebration of World Day of Social Justice. As long as we value social justice from our individual level and remain committed to equality, progress is possible.
Happy World Day of Social Justice, 2021!
On 25th December 2020, the RAP3 MHLR team handed over to the Government of Nepal the first 26km long section of the 67km Mugu Humla Link Road (MHLR). While the rest of the road is still under construction, a full width track along the entire road length has now been opened. Whilst the road is still a construction site, some vehicles have travelled to deliver goods to the local people of Humla who are benefitting from the transport services of food, construction materials, and health services.
Ward chairperson, Bhaire Tamang says that after the transportation services reached Piplang, the SNG thick rice, which costs Rs. 4500 a bag is now available at RS. 3500 in Chankheli and Nepca. Similarly, retailer Nabaraj Singh of Palima village says that the same thick rice that used to cost Rs. 3000 per bag is now available at Rs. 2100 to Rs. 2300, while cooking oil at Rs. 165 per half liter is now available at Rs. 130 and sugar which was Rs. 200 per kg is now available at Rs. 130 to Rs. 150 in village shops.
Likewise, Basanta Chaulagain of Soniraj General store in Loti, Chankheli and local businessmen of Darma and Deuli also reported that prices of food items have come down as compared to the past with a market survey showing that the price of these items has dropped by 35 to 40 percent compared to past years and the locals have started getting goods at more affordable prices.
Local residents in Humla are hopeful that once the entire section of MHLR is completed, they will be benefitting from the provision of regular transport services in the district and further cost reductions. In the meantime, RAP3 MHLR is liaising with local leaders to work out a way of allowing regular goods delivery to Humla during construction, whilst keeping the workers and vehicle operators as safe as possible.
Encouraging women in the sciences requires action on all aspects: preventing harassment, changing institutional cultures and ensuring that women are included, recognized and heard. The above picture was taken recently by RAP3 MHLR Team Leader, Kirsteen Merrilees at Edinburgh airport while she was on her way back to Nepal. The special poster publicly recognizing “Women in Science in Scotland” made our project staff happy and proud in Nepal as it represents a perfect example of recognizing the achievements of successful women in Science.
Thursday, 11 February, is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To celebrate the day, our RAP3 MHLR inclusion and diversity team, the Mugu group—the first group to showcase the inclusion event of the 2021 season, organized a virtual event last Thursday. The Mugu team organised several activities related to women in Science. The first activity was the ‘Women in Science’ quiz where participants were asked a series of 22 multiple-choice questions about the successful work of popular women scientists around the world who smashed gender bias and forever changed the world. The team also sent an E-card to quiz winner, Ayasta Pokharel as a commendable prize for her active participation in the quiz. In the second activity, our all-female staff were asked to reflect on their career experiences as a woman in the science and non-science fields. Each of their stories was very motivating and we are really proud to be surrounded by these wonderful women engineers and non-engineers of RAP3 MHLR who are incredible sources of support and inspiration. The third activity included a number of videos where one of our staff based in Nepalgunj, Kamal Adhikari recited his heart-touching poem describing how women in Nepal have to struggle all their lives and why it is not enough to thank women for their contribution to this world.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the members of the Mugu team to mark this meaningful celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We hope that in the days to come, the challenges girls and women face in science will lessen.
Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 2021!
“One of the most valuable gifts we can offer our colleagues while working remotely is the opportunity to connect and collaborate. The “Recharge Your Team”, virtual team building event delivered exactly what its name suggests—the opportunity to recharge teams by strengthening connections.”
—Ayasta Pokharel, Safeguards and Compliance Engineer, RAP3 MHLR
In times of pandemic, RAP3 MHLR team members are no longer working next to or across from one another. They are no longer crossing each other’s hallways or leaving work at the same time. Especially in times of crisis, long-term homeworking and decreasing interaction of employees can pose various challenges to the productivity and mental health of our staff. Therefore, RAP3 MHLR organized a two-day virtual refresher event, “Recharge Your Team” on 2nd and 5th Feb 2021 in order to encourage our team members to interact virtually, to connect colleagues across Microsoft Teams, to keep our employees motivated, and to help staff stay fresh by offering various ice breaker games and casual conversations.
Our team members enjoyed the refresher event and it helped them regain some needed face time with each other. The ice breaker games gave them an opportunity to use the first letter of their good name and surname to introduce themselves through the two-word phrases that describe their personality. We also asked them to share a fun fact about themselves: two truths and a lie where other team members had to guess which statements were true and which was false and also, they were given the chance to submit some fun/interesting questions that they secretly wanted to ask their peers. Such virtual events at RAP3 MHLR stress the importance of taking breaks for our team members. Moreover, it is not only a fun social event; it also offers an opportunity to learn about the members of our RAP3 MHLR team.
Province Support Team, Dailekh, Surkhet and Salyan organized an orientation programme to newly formed Specific Maintenance Groups (SMGs) at various Provincial Road Networks (PRN) of Dailekh, Kalikot and Salyan on different dates between 19th January and 27th January 2021.
The SMGs were briefed about the health and safety information to be followed while working in the maintenance site, insurance policy, roles and responsibilities of SMG members, and also shared information on public auditing and reporting. In addition, wage payment system and work evaluation system of SMGs’ were also discussed during the orientation programme. Moreover, our team have already been proactive in raising awareness against corona virus to our working groups and local communities. Similarly, our newly formed SMGs were also briefed about the COVID-19 safety measures and guidelines on what to do and what not to do while working in the field. All the issues raised by SMGs were also addressed during the orientation programme and the team has now committed to start maintenance work in various PRN roads.
We are grateful to the local government officials of all the districts for their assistance and support to deliver our work effectively during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tree logs felled for the construction of the Mugu Humla Link road within the Chankheli National Forest in Humla were stacked at eight locations designated by the Humla Divisional Forest Office. The project field team handed over these tree logs and firewood to Humla DFO on 12th January 2021 in the presence of Mugu Divisional Forest Officer and local people of the district. In total, there were 47,783 Cu ft. of Timber and 24,869.00 Cu ft. of Firewood from 1731 trees. As per the contract signed with the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation and Divisional Forest Office, Humla, 2,967 trees have been cut down in the Humla section. To date 5,967 tree saplings have been planted to compensate. A total of 74,175 saplings will be planted to replace those felled at a rate of 1:25.
All the logs and firewood of Chankheli National 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.
“I did not have the opportunity to study or to spend that precious time exploring my inner talents. I wanted to be an actor but I could not risk my career in this field because I had to earn some money to take care of my family. So, I gave up what I wanted to be and focused on earning money. But today, as part of an inclusion event, I am happy to present my short play with all RAP3 MHLR team”.
– RAP3 MHLR driver, Krishna Prasad Maharjan
As part of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, RAP3 MHLR has been organising a wide range of recreational and informative activities since 2019. Due to COVID-19, our inclusivity event was briefly halted in 2020, but we decided to restart it to help break any mental stress that the COVID-19 might have caused. The team organised eight various activities over the past five months, creating a virtual fun space on our ‘new normal’ schedule so that we can all come together and watch the creative and innovative activities performed by our team members. The final inclusion event for 2020 was planned to be presented by our support staff but, in the meantime, some of our team had to reschedule their event due to corona infection and that postponed the inclusion event of our support staff to 2021.
The support staff who were given the team name, “Mugu Group” conducted an event on ‘Hidden Talents’ where they demonstrated their talents in storytelling, dancing, singing, cooking, acting and more. We have seen our support staff doing their day-to-day job, but aside from their life skills, we were thrilled and delighted to see the potential of their unique and hidden talents which we had never seen or known before. While presenting their show, some of our staff expressed that despite their desire to become proficient in their talents, they had to give up their dream in order to fulfil their family responsibilities. However, they are happy with the job they are doing for their living and they thanked RAP3 MHLR for providing the opportunity to present their hidden talents.
Conducting such events at RAP3 MHLR invigorates our minds during this difficult time of the pandemic as well as giving a platform for our employees to present their creativity and talents. Our team is now planning and preparing a range of inclusion activities for the year 2021 because coming together and holding such an event is all about inclusiveness, respect, and a sense of belonging at our workplace.