7 March 2017
Photo (from left to right): L-R Hassan Reza (Architect), Glyn Utting, Aziz Royesh (Headteacher), Hussain Saramad (Executive Director MCCBO), Alizada (Engineer), two members of the school's security team.
So far, our successful collaboration with the CAN charity has facilitated the reconstruction of three schools, a dozen health posts, and three porter shelters in Nepal. It has changed the lives of hundreds of people, including those of our colleagues who travelled to the country to share their knowledge and expertise and help with the reconstruction effort.
As a result of the tangible, long-lasting difference that we have made, we have elicited positive reactions across the industry and attracted other high profile opportunities to lend our skills, such as this recent mission at the Marefat school in Afghanistan.
Marefat High School, on the outskirts of Kabul, is one of the very few in the country where boys and girls are educated to the same standards. More than 3,000 pupils attend the establishment. The Headmaster, Aziz Royesh, has fought relentlessly for this gender equality for the past 15 years.
This story of resilience, resourcefulness, and growth, in line with our own values, prompted Glyn Utting, Principal Project Manager in Leeds, to get involved with an important project to support the school.
Last year, Lord Dennis Stevenson approached him, on behalf of the Marefat Civil Capacity Building Organisation (MCCBO), and asked if he would accept to lend his expertise in assessing and providing quality assurance to an auditorium under construction at Marefat. Lord Stevenson was inspired to contact Glyn after his recognition at the ACE Consultancy & Engineering Awards, where he was named Young Professional of the Year and received the Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence. Glyn had wowed the judges with his contribution to, and passionate support for CAN’s work in Nepal, and this was exactly the type of commitment and experience that the MCCBO needed.
The MCCBO, a charity founded and run by Baroness Frances D’Souza, has been funding the construction of the auditorium at Marefat. It is an important project, widely regarded as a beacon of hope for future generations. The large, two-storey building is set to serve both cultural and educational roles. It will be a place to show theatre, music, and dance programmes; host debates; and provide mixed girls and boys teaching.
With an inauguration date scheduled for March 2017, and in a city whose atmosphere Glyn described as “still tense”, the MCCBO team sought reassurance that the charity’s money was being put to good use and the new building met all the safety and seismic resilience standards necessary.
Glyn spent a couple of days on site in Kabul last December, and conducted a thorough assessment of the auditorium. He ensured that the design met the requirements, and provided quality assurance on the current construction. He checked that there was a clear audit trail for where the investment had been allocated during the construction process. To conclude his report, he also made further recommendations and provided feedback for the rest of the work period.
He was able to witness first hand that, overall, the school had built to a good standard, which is testament to its strong leadership and good governance.
Commenting on Glyn’s visit and subsequent report, Lord Stevenson wrote: “Glyn has done a WONDERFUL job deploying not just his expertise but his considerable diplomatic skills. As a result, we are all feeling much more comfortable about what is going on there.”
The subsequent report produced by Glyn provided the quality assurances required for the key donators on the project to release the funds to complete the project.
WYG supports CAN to "Build Back Better" in Nepal