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08 October 2020

 

 “I have attended only one inclusivity event but I found that everyone in the office is excited about such events. I think it gives everyone a break from their routine jobs and give some time to work on their more creative side as well. I also like that it brings all level of staff together, be it auxiliary staff or department heads, everyone worked together”.

—RAP3 MHLR, Senior Staff 

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. The survey report prepared at the end of the year showed that the inclusion programme was very successful and that such events should be continued. But, 2020 is presenting new and unique challenges for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and this also halted our inclusivity events for the first few months. However, we have realised that to help break the mental stress that the COVID-19 might have caused many of us, we need to set up a designated fun space on our ‘new normal’ schedule so that we can recharge our batteries. Therefore, we have divided all the project staff into diverse groups and each group now comes up with their creative and innovative fun activities. Such virtual activities invigorate our minds during this difficult time of the pandemic as well as help to build strong bonds, especially among the team members who do not work together and are based in different project locations. Every two weeks on a Friday, when all the staff come to watch the exciting and surprising event at 15:00, the platform now feels like a virtual coffee room where we enjoy some time together with chit-chat and laughter.

08 October 2020

Tree logs felled for the construction of the Mugu Humla Link road within the Khara community forest in Humla were stacked in one of the places designated by the Humla Divisional Forest Office. The project field team handed over these tree logs and firewood to Khara Forest Users Committee on 29th September 2020 in the presence of Humla Divisional Forest Officer and ward chairperson of Chankheli Rural Municipality.  In total, there were 2,928.44 Cu ft. of Timber and 2,116 Cu ft. of Firewood from 214 trees.  All the logs, firewood and its management are now the responsibility of the community forest and should be used only with the approval of the Divisional Forest Office (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 even during this difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic.

19 August 2020

With the increase in the number of shops in the Chhayanath Rara Municipality of Mugu district, garbage has increased in the market area and a sanitation programme has been required because of a lack of proper cowsheds and toilets. RAP3 MHLR and PHASE Nepal coordinated with the ward chairperson and formed a sanitation and waste management committee on 8th January 2020 to increase sanitation awareness among locals in the Municipality. Along with the formation of the committee, it was decided to keep wooden dustbins in places, clean the market every Saturday and keep the toilets and cowsheds clean in every house.

Project field office and PHASE Nepal again facilitated a meeting with locals and the sanitation management committee on 8th August 2020. At the meeting, it was decided that every house and shop should manage its garbage properly and the public dustbin was also cleaned on the same day. At present, the committee members and the locals of Chhayanath Rara Municipality, Nafa is actively involved in the sanitation programme to keep their area clean and hygienic.

19 August 2020

RAP3 MHLR ensures that all project staff and those engaged through our partner and implementing organisations understand and comply with the RAP3 MHLR code of conduct. Code of conduct training is mandatory for all of our staff. Since it was not possible for most of our auxiliary staff and drivers to complete the training online, they were given this training in-person at RAP3 MHLR office. To ensure social distancing norms, the training was spread across three batches to keep the number of participants below 10. The training took place between 31st July and 6th August 2020. At the end of the training, the staff were also quizzed on the course to ensure they understood the contents. The 19 auxiliary staff involved in the training, shared positive reviews of the training and mentioned that it was very effective. They also said that it would help them to be more aware about what to do, what not to do and understood about complying with this code of conduct while performing their duties.

19 August 2020

Whether someone travels to unfrequented places or remains within easy medical access, first aid skills can always come handy. This training was very well designed and captured essentials for managing medical emergencies. The instructors explained and demonstrated every process meticulously and I learnt with the same vigour. Many thanks to the organising and the delivering teams.”

— Ayasta Pokharel, Safeguards and Compliance Engineer

RAP3 MHLR has conducted a nationally recognised wilderness first aid training to prepare participants to respond to emergencies in remote areas like Mugu-Humla where access to medical care and communication is unreliable. The first aid training was given by professional trainers from Himalayan Medics. Due to COVID-19, the training was conducted online and the first batch training was attended by 15 project staff including auxiliary staff. They all found the training useful. RAP3 MHLR is now rolling out the training to other staff members in various batches. 

21 July 2020

As the Covid-19 pandemic has grown rapidly inside the Kathmandu Valley, the project has paid more attention to the cleanliness of the office.

16 July 2020

“The road from Ruga to Darke Khola where the soil is overflowing, grass has been planted and for a deeper soil stabilisation, brush layering has been carried out using branches of local plant species called ‘Bains’ plant in Nepali. Bio-engineering has been extremely good thanks to RAP3, and make the roads green”.

 –Chankha Baduwal, Bama Gaira LRUC, Chairperson

 

Bio-engineering work has been carried out in an area of 7316.40 square metres where full widening of the Mugu Humla Link Road section has been completed. Bio-engineering works are required for the protection and stabilization of slopes. The plants provide the functions of catching debris, armouring the surface, reinforcing the soil, anchoring the surface layer, supporting the slope, and supporting successful drainage. Similarly, they also enhance the aesthetics of green roads. Before commencing Bio-engineering work on the Rugha section, virtual training was given to field staff, attended by more than 30 local participants. Bio-engineering techniques like brush layering using branches of local plant species, covering 2929.80 running metres have been adopted. Also, in order to stabilize fresh soil cut-and-fill slopes, salimo grass was planted. The purpose of bio engineering work is to improve slope stability and prevent the erosion of cut and fill slopes along the MHLR alignment.

15 July 2020

“Equal pay for equal work system for both men and women of the RAP3 MHLR project has encouraged us to adopt the system in the Palika and helped in establishing a society of equality in the village. Hence, we all are very proud of the project".

-Mr. Bhakta Bahadur Malla, Chief Administrative Officer, Mahabu RM Dailekh

With the global pandemic Covid-19 virus now in Nepal, the virus has spread to districts of Karnali province. The growing number of Nepalis entering the country from the Indian border has increased the risk of Covid-19 infection among many of those who were migrant labourers in India. Due to the pandemic and the resulting lock down, the project has been unable to distribute wage payments to our Special Maintenance Group (SMGs) in Dailekh.

With the support from government officials, our team in Surkhet got a travel permit recommendation from the District Administrative Office (DAO) Dailekh, but as the number of infected people increased, Dailekh district was sealed off and the project team was not allowed to travel for their own safety. Even in such an unusual situation, the Dailekh Ward Chairperson committed to support and manage the SMG wage distribution in the district on behalf of the RAP3 MHLR team.

Together with support from other officials of Mahabu Rural Municipality and following the norms and procedures of the project, SMG wage distribution was successfully completed on 22nd June 2020.

Due to the possibility of spreading the virus, only one group of SMGs was called in per day and wages were distributed to 5 groups on different days between 18th June and 22nd June 2020. We are grateful for the assistance government officials have provided in this time of lockdown and we look forward to their continued support in the coming days as well.

 

01 July 2020

Nepal Engineering Association has celebrated this year’s International Women in Engineering Day through webinar on “gender mainstreaming in shaping the world in the post COVID situation”. The theme for INWED 2020 is ‘Shape the World’ and RAP3 MHLR Team Leader, Er. Kirsteen Merrilees was invited to be the keynote speaker at the webinar.  Kirsteen Merrilees in her presentation discussed about why post COVID situation is all about practicing good engineering and she has also made it clear that in the current situation, both men and women’s participation in the engineering field is equally important. For more information on her presentation and conversations with panelists about gender mainstreaming in shaping the world, you can listen through this NEA Facebook link.

https://www.facebook.com/neanepal

01 July 2020

The lockdown has affected people's lives in Karnali province. The Karnali residents who have gone to work in India continue to return home, and at the same time, corona virus infections are on the rise. This has shaken the lives of daily wage earners even harder as the current situation has severely restricted economic activity and forced laborers to stay home. Even in such a turbulent time, our project field staff have safely distributed wages to Specific Maintenance Groups (SMGs) in Salyan, Surkhet, Rukum west and similarly to Road Building Groups (RBGs) in Mugu and Humla districts by taking appropriate measures to protect against COVID-19, including wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing.

There were 18 members in the group who travelled to the project office in Chaurjahari, Rukum West to receive their wages. Upon consultation with Chaurjahari Municipality, the arrangement of wages distribution was made with the advice that this group should travel in smaller groups i.e. 4-5 members at a time and maintain social distance while they travelled and similar precautions were taken in other districts as well. We are grateful to the local governments of all the districts for their support in distributing the wage to our laborers.  A much needed financial relief for families who are very dependent on this income.

01 July 2020

Due to the nationwide COVID 19 lockdown, most of our project field staff are back to their homes and the project area is being taken care of by the local staff in Mugu and Humla. Although all the construction work has stopped now in the districts, there is still some work such as IPC bill preparation, wage distribution, safeguarding office site stores, winter plantation and many other tasks to be done in the field. For this, the project field manager has given orientation training from Google meet to the field staff for assessment of monsoon damage, construction of the live check dam and other works. Also, bioengineering work has been started from Rugha section, Mugu and the virtual training on bioengineering was given to field staff on 18th June 2020 where more than 30 participants attended the training. With the help of virtual meetings, junior local staff in the field are in regular contact with senior staff and are updating the field situation, status of the road, and community issues. Even during lockdown, our senior staff are working in the capacity building of our local staff in Mugu and Humla.

23 June 2020

International Women in Engineering Day focuses on the amazing careers of women in engineering, science and technology and celebrates the achievements of outstanding women engineers. This year's theme for INWED is 'Shape the World'. Women (and men) all over the globe can help raise the profile of women engineers and encourage more people to consider engineering as a profession for all. This year many engineers all over the world are working from home. INWED celebrations will be quite different this year but we will be celebrating this day virtually and reflect on the celebrations that have happened in the past.

Through our website, https://rapnepal.com/inwed we will look back at some amazing women who have been pioneers of engineering in Nepal.  We will also look at some images from previous year’s INWED Celebrations.

06 May 2020

As per the contract signing with Department of Forests and Soil Conservation and Divisional Forest Office of Mugu and Humla, 744 trees in Mugu and 2043 trees in Humla section have been felled for the construction of Mugu Humla Link Road (MHLR). Trees play an extraordinarily important role in our environment and therefore, in order to increase forest products, soil conservation, and habitat of wildlife, RAP3 MHLR has focused efforts on replanting 25 new trees for every 1 tree felled during construction. In addition to the earlier year plantation of saplings of various species in Mugu and Humla, this year, our project field team carried out winter plantation and planted 5000 walnut saplings in Humla as well as 4050 saplings at various locations in Mugu. These saplings are growing well in Mugu and Humla in favourable temperatures.  As part of the tree planting, we also raise awareness among our local people to protect these growing saplings from cattle and children.

06 May 2020

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, RAP3 MHLR in coordination with PHASE Nepal team has distributed 4180 pieces of locally produced masks to our Road Building Groups (RBGs) and their family members. This provided masks to 747 different households in Mugu and Humla.  Our RBGs were taught to wash hands properly with soap and water before distributing masks and were also oriented about the COVID-19, its causes, means of transmission, signs/symptoms, and preventive measures. The locally made cloth masks (3 layered clothes) can help prevent transmission of the virus if used appropriately and as long as hand washing and physical distancing are practiced as much as possible. We hope that our effort in raising awareness against Corona virus will support our RBGs and local communities and reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19. 

Our team has maintained physical distance (2-3 metres) during mask distribution. We hope that, during this pandemic period, everyone will stay at home and maintain social distancing as much as possible to remain safe.

20 April 2020

Prior to lock down, the RAP3 MHLR team had success in breaking through the critical section at Jacche-Ghanduska. In the absence of transportation facilities, people in Humla had been relying on mules to transport food and other essentials but after the outbreak of Coronavirus, local government has strictly prohibited any movement of mules and pedestrians. This has badly impacted the settlements access to supply of food and essential goods. In response to CDO, Mugu request, we allowed temporarily the Nepal Food Corporations for transporting emergency food items up to Bagwani along our newly constructed road corridor helping to avoid a shortage of food items and other essential goods. 300 bags of rice and boxes of emergency medicines have been transported to Bagwani, approximately 66.5km from Gamgadhi. We are relieved that the MHLR can provide a vital link to these remote villages in this time of crisis, and know that the benefits will be even greater in the future.

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