Shelter Mission to Nepal

Shelter is a partnership between Arcadis and UN-Habitat aimed at a common goal: to improve the quality of life of citizens in rapidly growing cities around the world. We are highlighting one of our Arcadian’s stories’ who went on an Shelter mission. In this blog post we cover the experience of the Shelter mission of Nyima Zoutenbier who traveled from Arnhem, The Netherlands to Bidur, Nepal.

Mission objective

This mission’s objective was to provide support to UN Habitat, WLSP and the Government of Nepal to achieve alignment on the common vision on the Comprehensive Development Plan for the Bidur Municipality. Specifically, Arcadis was asked to critically review the documentation created by WLSP and to provide suggestions and evaluation of their work. Also, we were asked to assist in the analysis of the present situation and the impacts of the development scenario’s. Together with WLSP we were challenged to set a common urban and territorial development vision among national and local stakeholders.

My specialist skills are advising on and setting the framework – defining the boundaries really – in which the proposed urban development plan should be developed in the short, medium and long term.

« Kathmandu is impressive; the city is very vibrant, crowded and loud. The surroundings are even more impressive! »

best part of the mission

Experiencing a new country, not as a tourist but to really understand a new way of living and working. It was a two-way street of learning from each other – learning from Nepal, learning from our Chinese counterpart, and also learning from myself. It was enlightening. I would recommend every Arcadian to keep an eye out for all platforms the Shelter program uses to share their work and experiences. It gives a lot of insight in the type of projects that Shelter undertakes and you can find the perfect opportunity for yourself. Also, I really recommend to broaden your horizon in your own work too, to get comfortable in getting out of your comfort zone. My shelter mission definitely put me out of my comfort zone, but it’s good to build on that resilience for yourself, to get yourself prepared.

Most challenging part of the mission

When I first heard I had been chosen for the mission, my first reaction was…Very excited! I was really honored that I was considered and I did not hesitate to say yes. However, I was also very nervous to experience something this exciting, but mostly I was thrilled. However, the most challenging part of the mission was to not get disappointed by the lack of a complete database, strong leadership and/or a clear vision. There sure was a lot of ambition, but it requires a lot of deep understanding of the current procedures to define a manageable and realistic development plan. That requires some alterations of the current plan, but this is definitely an interesting challenge for the next phase.

Learnings and experiences

I definitely learned what the impact is of (not) having enough resources for the development of a country. This was a very valuable insight that I learned during the mission and this requires of all team members to be more creative.

The international Shelter program, which allows Arcadians to share their pro bono knowledge and expertise to find solutions for global urbanization issues in the field of infrastructure, environment and water, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

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