Mario Milanesi, Chief Technical Advisor:
I just got back to the SUSWA office after a week of progress monitoring in the village of Mugu – and what a week it has been. While I am still tired from the travel I am excited to share this experience with all of you, as the encounters I had this week left a lasting impression on me.
To reach the remote village of Mugu, we traveled for 5 days from the SUSWA project’s office. The arduous two-day car journey on some of the most dangerous roads in the world was followed by an even tougher two-and-a-half-day trek along the river of Mugu Karnali in the Himalayan region of Nepal. In the rural municipality of Mugum Karmarong, situated at an elevation of 3,400 meters, we finally reached the village of Mugu. Mugu is the last village in Nepal before reaching the border with China, and one of Nepal’s most isolated and unserved communities.
The SUSWA project works with municipalities in Karnali to reach unserved communities such as Mugu, where the SUSWA project provides technical assistance to the community for building a much-needed water supply system as well as school toilets. While SUSWA provides the technical expertise, training, and support for e.g., surveying, designing and monitoring the water supply system, the community’s ownership is vital for the construction of it – and I am sure you can guess by now that this is no easy task. For example, transporting all the necessary pipes and equipment to the site is an extraordinary feat in itself, taking four days by mules and human porters. You can see a glimpse of this in the images attached, as well as the Mugum Karmarong WASH Unit Coordinator showing the digging that is going on. Digging the pipeline is of course also exceptionally challenging due to the rocky ground.
Despite all the challenges such a remote mountainous location brings, what stood out to me the most during our monitoring visit was the strength and deep-rooted sense of community of the Mugu people. Working here is a journey of real dedication!
I, therefore, wish to extend my appreciation to the Mugu community members, the amazing technicians and WASH Unit members from Mugum Karmarong rural municipality, all project partners who have supported them in this endeavor, and the SUSWA project team. I assure you it is not an overstatement to say that I feel it is a privilege to be part of a team dedicated to supporting the Mugu community in their journey to accessing clean water, a fundamental human right.
Together, we are fostering change, breaking barriers, and ensuring no community is left behind.