My name is Jessica and I’m a Chartered Mechanical Engineer from the UK. Since 2001, I’ve lived in ten different countries around the world, studying and working across Engineering, Project Management, Business Development, International Development and most recently Post-Disaster Emergency Response, Early Recovery and Reconstruction.
In July 2014, I moved to Kathmandu, Nepal (country number ten) working as an International Volunteer with VSO. I began working as a Business Development Adviser Development Adviser to support the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) to implement a “Waste to Energy and Large Biogas Programme” across the country.
On April 25th 2015 however, everything changed. A devastating earthquake hit central Nepal causing a heart wrenching loss of life and widespread damage to infrastructure. With the support of the VSO Nepal team, I immediately changed roles to focus on providing whatever support I could to the emergency relief and early recovery phases.
From May 2015 to January 2016 I was based in Sindhupalchok district working as a District Lead Support Agency (DLSA) Coordinator (and living in a variety of tents). Following on from this remarkable experience, from January to September 2016 I moved to a national level equivalent role heading up a new coordination initiative the National Disaster Recovery Coordination Secretariat (NDRCS).
After an amazing, rewarding, challenging and wholly unexpected 2 years with VSO Nepal, I completed my placement in September 2016. Upon leaving I chose to continue to work to support the post-earthquake reconstruction efforts and I am currently working as a Housing Reconstruction Program Manager with Build Change.
In my current role I continue to live in this fascinating and diverse country, working alongside a fantastic team of young, enthusiastic Nepali Engineers, Architects, Builder Trainers and more. The challenges and the adventures are set to continue to I hope you will continue to join my along my journey…
This blog documents my own thoughts, reflections and experiences of my time living and working in Nepal. It does not reflect the views of Build Change, VSO or any other organisation mentioned and it shouldn’t be taken too seriously! Plus, 99% of the photos are mine (i.e. some form of copyright) so please don’t reuse them for monetary gain without asking first!