Scott Faiia       Museum Marg,  Chaunni,  Kathmandu,  Nepal

Environmental Engineering

I was born and raised in Waterbury Connecticut. After receiving my RPI degree in Environmental Engineering I joined the Peace Corps and served in Malaysia from 1973 to 1976. In Peace Corps my main contribution was highlighting the need for attention to increasing pollution in rapidly developing Malaysia and setting up a water quality monitoring network covering all of peninsular Malaysia.  Following Peace Corps, I spent a number of months traveling in Asia and Europe.  I then joined CARE in December 1976, initially in Bangladesh, later serving in Indonesia (1977-83), Haiti (1983-86), Ethiopia (1986-91), Nepal (1991-98), Somalia and South Sudan (1998-2002), Sri Lanka (2002-2005) and Egypt (2005-2008).

My work in Indonesia and Haiti involved rural community development with a particular emphasis on village water supply. I made several visits to Indonesia in the mid 1990s and was really pleased to see functioning water systems that I had worked with villagers to design and install more than ten years previously. Over the years I have been involved in dozens of piped village water systems and hundreds of hand pump installations (including developing local manufacturing capacity for the hand pumps). From Ethiopia onwards I served as a CARE Country Director managing a wide variety of relief and development programs with annual budgets exceeding $20 million and staff of up to 800.

I have worked in a wide range of cultures and have extensive experience in managing programs in complex and insecure environments. I first experienced serious insecurity in Haiti during the anarchic period when Jean Claude Duvallier fled the country. In Ethiopia I was involved in the response to the 1980’s major famine while the civil war raged in the country. As CARE’s Country Director I oversaw a food distribution program for 650,000 people, as well as a water tankering operation for over 220,000 Somali refugees. Managing a truck fleet of over 150 vehicles, whose drivers all carried guns, was particularly interesting. I once again experienced serious insecurity during the period around Mengistu’s fall, including a harrowing incident when the windows of my house were shattered by explosions in the middle of the night. Following my Ethiopia assignment I had a well deserved seven year assignment in Kathmandu, free of war and security concerns. In this period I oversaw programs in remote areas that built dozens of trail bridges, water systems and irrigation systems. The programs also involved agriculture and reforestation, with several million trees being planted. I walked at least seven thousand kilometers in the Nepal hills during this period. In 2002 I returned to Africa and managed extremely challenging programs in Somalia and Southern Sudan. Security was a big issue there with my staff’s lives constantly in danger. It was particularly challenging to work in environments with no government structures, no police force, no banks, no normal services and the presence of many lawless, armed factions. However, CARE’s food distribution and health programs in these two countries saved thousands of lives. I then moved on to another war torn country, Sri Lanka. It was already a challenge dealing with the LTTE, and then the tsunami came. Needless to say, it was a very high pressure environment. It was a relief for me to move to Cairo in 2005 where the situation was stable and there were no security issues. After two and a half years there I decided I needed a real break from work and left CARE to spend some time in Nepal.

I have visited dozens of countries, witnessed first hand a number of historical events and met an incredibly wide range of people from remote villagers and nomads to kings, presidents and rebel leaders. I have visited extremely remote areas, seeing both pristine beauty as well as incredible devastation.  And to think this is where I went from the ‘tute!

I have three children, a 13 year old son with me in Nepal and an older daughter and son working in legal firms in London and Boston. My Nepali wife is a trained dancer (classical Indian and Nepali) and an accomplished painter who has exhibited in Sri Lanka and Egypt. I’d love to hear from all of you.

Photos: My wife Sharmila and me at our son Santosh’s Brata Bandha (coming of age ceremony) in Kathmandu (March 2009). Ravi, Santosh and Shanti, July 2008.