Cardno’s successful large-scale conference in Nepal draws rural access practitioners from over 20 countries around the world
In the international development sector, programmes are often multi-regional and therefore operate over two or more time zones. From headquarters, to the project office, and into the field, communications between all parties can prove tricky, especially in an often dynamic working environment. At Cardno we give ourselves every possible chance for maximum cohesion, utilising online software platforms, social media and establishing definitive, and varying lines of communication throughout sometimes very large multinational, multidisciplinary teams.
In the case of the UK aid-funded Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) Programme, the task is to keep these lines open across not only the 17 partner countries it operates in, but also the 40+ countries from which service providers are procured, and back to the management team at headquarters in our London office.
ReCAP boasts an extremely robust online management system built using bespoke database and application software. However, nothing compares to having all the delegates, partner representatives, experts, stakeholders and the programme management team in one room to share knowledge, plan and strategise for the future.
Indeed, planning for the future was very much the theme of the Inter-Regional Implementation Meeting (IRIM) 2019 in Kathmandu. Uptake and embedment are vital if we are going to make best use of the research this large-scale programme has completed over the last five years.
This means having governments and other key stakeholders apply the quality research and lessons learned derived from ReCAP to inform rural access policy and legislation.
“IRIM 2019 was an instrumental forum for critically and constructively stocktaking the meaningful results of ReCAP to date, and informing possible mechanisms for sustainability as the Programme enters its final year.”
ReCAP is a rural access programme. Research carried out on low volume roads informs how rural populations in low income countries can have better access to vital amenities and grow their local economies to be more prosperous.
The six-year programme is now entering its final year. The success of this penultimate mass conference, the last of which is scheduled just a couple of months before the programme closes, was arguably allied with the success of the programme overall.
“A stronger collective voice for rural transport and access is needed, since most poor people live in rural areas. ReCAP is an excellent way to provide that voice, and DFID is happy to take the lead in supporting it.”
IRIM 2019 began with the lighting of a traditional lamp by the Chief Guest, H.E. Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Secretary, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Government of Nepal, with further introductions and key note addresses by ReCAP PMU staff and the likes of DFID Nepal representative Dr Simon Lucas. Over the three days there were high level presentations and discussions on subjects like sustainable rural mobility, uptake and embedment of supported research, capacity building, the preservation of sustainable rural road infrastructure, and more.
IRIM 2019 also provided the opportunity to physically showcase ReCAP’s achievements and impact on the communities it targets. On the third day, together with the Government of Nepal’s Department of Local Infrastructure, ReCAP hosted a site visit to an area of the Kathmandu Valley where innovative dust measuring equipment is being deployed. This equipment was recently tested in the Terai Region of Nepal and the research concluded that the equipment can function as a reliable measuring instrument of dust particles. The equipment can now be used to further research and test the optimal dust suppressant methodologies, helping future projects combat the negative effects unwanted road dust can have on rural communities.
The full three-day programme listing all the sessions is online.
Overall the proceedings were considered a resounding success. Verbal feedback was overwhelmingly positive and all attendees agreed that the cross-cutting knowledge learned at the event, simply couldn’t have been achieved remotely. Not only this, but partner country associates were exposed to the progress made, and challenges faced, in other ReCAP countries, on different continents even. This can empower country officials, breed confidence in their own ability, and confidence in the team providing the guidance throughout the research, reaffirming that their country’s internal rural access programmes, and institutions, are going in the right direction, in safe hands.
“Rural roads are not as ‘visible’, but if you’re talking about large projects, then at that scale you can have an impact on cross-cutting issues like road safety and gender. You have different discussions with different key players.”
IRIM 2019 can be considered a benchmark for all programmes of ReCAP’s size. It is an example of good practice, and an initiative to aspire towards.
If you wish to learn all about the outcomes of IRIM 2019 visit its dedicated web page on the ReCAP website.