Following the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal in the spring of 2015, the University of Colorado imposed a travel ban for students. This meant that suddenly the EWB-CU Student Chapter (EWB-CU) could no longer travel to implement Karka Dhara, a spring source project the students had designed in partnership with our joint in-county partner, the Namsaling Community Development Center (NCDC). Fortunately, the community of Ilam was not impacted by the earthquakes and the users of Karka Dhara were ready and eager to implement the project whether or not EWB-CU could be present to oversee the construction of their design.
Since RMP was already planning to travel to Ilam during Summer 2015 for an assessment trip, the two teams began exploring the possibility of RMP helping to implement Karka Dhara on behalf of the students. Since RMP is not affiliated with the University of Colorado, we were allowed to travel to Nepal after EWB-USA lifted a temporary travel ban following the earthquakes. EWB-USA was supportive of the idea to have RMP implement Karka Dhara, so we moved forward with the plan. Two RMP members, Will Nabours and vice-president Doug DeVoto, volunteered to travel and focus on the Karka Dhara implementation. The other two RMP members traveling would focus on the assessment of upcoming projects.
RMP and EWB-CU only had a few weeks to get Will and Doug prepared to implement the project. Both teams put in an amazing effort to prepare travel documents under very tight deadlines, review the designs and get up to speed with all the stakeholders and project requirements.
Once the RMP arrived in Ilam they immediately jumped into the construction. As with almost any EWB project, the team faced various challenges and had to adjust according. At Karka Dhara more excavation was needed then what was originally planned. Additionally, the community requested modifications to the proposed design which required excavating further around the spring eye. Despite these increased excavation needs, we were able to keep construction largely on schedule.
Overall Karka Dhara was implemented successfully, and all of the stakeholders are happy with the final product! While we were all disappointed that the students did not have the opportunity to travel this summer, everyone is happy that RMP was able to step in and that the project was ultimately constructed successfully. Additionally, Karka Dhara was a great opportunity to increase the collaboration between RMP and EWB-CU, and the success of this project has lead to further integration of the two chapters. Moving forward, RMP and EWB-CU will work closely together on an upcoming project at to build a spring source and distribution system for a school in the nearby community of Godak. Looking to the future, the teams are also considering moving together to a new village impacted by the earthquake.