History »

Prior to materialize the concept of CHESS Nepal, a community development project was implemented in Bharte VDC of Lamjung district by Save the Children, Norway focusing mainly on children and women during the period of 1995. As per the working approach of the project, various children groups were formed in different areas of the village which were named as Bhai-bahini Samuha (Brother-Sister group) The staffs of the project used to involve the children of those groups in various activities such as child rights, health and sanitation, and also in various child related competition and also promote sharing and caring habit among themselves.

During that period, a similar ‘Bhai-Bahini Samuha’ including 25-30 children was formed in Belghari, the area of emergence of CHESS Nepal, with the leadership of a social leader Mr. Rajkumar Pandey. As per the working approach of the project, various children related activities were conducted in this group also. Later the project took the strategy of phase out by forming the local organization constituted by women. Consequently the established Child Club didn't get flourish enough.

At that time, Belghari was one of the popular tr
ansit points to link the eastern part of Lamjung. The up-growing in migration of the Bhotewodar bazaar, located on the other side of Belghari caused to digging the edge of the Marshyandi River that distorted the geographical harmony of   Belghari. Similarly, the unmanaged garbage and deforestation caused the deformity of the naturally beautified of tiny market. Those events remained as the matter of concerns to the social activists. They were compelled to think over the deformity of the market on the one hand.  With due consideration of above mentioned problems Mr. Raj Kumar Pandey took the initiation and discussion was made among the members of that ‘Bhai-bahini Samuha’. The discussion took the decision to conserve the natural beauty of the market through children as its mission. As per that mission, the ‘Bhai-bahini Samuha’ was renamed as ‘Bal Vatabaran Samuha’ (Child Environment Group). The children group was scaling up to keep the small market clean by putting dustbins at the footpath. The Club also took the initiation to discourage the unpleasant condition from gambling and taking alcohol. The children dared to preserve the watershed area of Marshyandi basin by stopping sand digging out.  However, those initiatives gained the wider level of appreciation but some of the people were not satisfied with the work of the children and questioned on the legal base of the group. The members of the group wanted to register as legal institution to cope with the barrier of social disorder. Since the members of the group were under aged, that group could not be registered. To cater the spirit of children and aiming for the better future of the market, eventually a decision was made to register the group in the form of a Non-government organization by involving the adults of that area and an organization named as Child Health and Environment Save Society (CHESS) was established and registered in District Administration Office, Lamjung in 1998 as per the Organization Registration Act, 1977 under the leadership and coordination of Mr. Rajkumar Pandey. In the same year it was affiliated with Social Welfare Council under the Ministry of Women and Children.

Fund raising and management was tough work but the organization raised some fund through child drama, cultural program, campaign, folk song competition. With the support of that fund a small office was established in Belghari. The organization started to work as the catalyst in the area of advocacy for child right and also paid the higher consideration on the continuity to the work being conducted by Child Environment Group. The organization also extende
d its activities in six VDCs of Lamjung (Tarkughat, Bharte, Mohariakot, Bhotewodar, Archalbot and Srimanjhyang) by forming community child clubs and conducted many activities related to child right and environment conservation. But as there was no any strong funding source of the organization, it became difficult to conduct such activities. So, an interaction and discussion was done in Kathmandu with artists of Radio Nepal, Rastriya Nachghar and the members of Nepali cinema on the first annual day of the organization in 1999 for the further funding sources. As a result the cultural program was conducted in Lamjung district to collect fund for the organization. Finally a committee was formed under the leadership of the senior officer of Radio Nepal of that time and a great singer, Late Yukta Bahadur Gurung and in 17th and 18th April1999, a cultural program named ‘Naya barshako Ramjham Sanjh’ was performed in Besishahar and Sundarbazar of Lamjung district in the participation of many renowned singers of Nepal.

However the fund was not much but had been the instrumental to carry out the different activities.  Additional child clubs were formed in the district.  Knowing the fact, the UNICEF Regional Office, Pokhara also provided some fund for the purpose of conducting awareness raising  programs on child right, capacity development, strengthen the child club. That also encouraged women for the nutrition child health and sanitation. A video documentary named ‘Kopila’ was also made which was shown in various communities to create awareness about the child labor and many people also supported CHESS Nepal financially at the individual level.

At the end of 2000, the office of CHESS was shifted to district headquarter Besishahar to further extension of its motive and for the wider networking and to strengthen the organization. In the meantime CHESS worked with local NGO called Committee for the Promotion of Public Awareness and Development Studies (COPADES) Lamjung and three VDCs of Lamjung Mahoriyakot, Bharte and Archalbot for the Trickle Up program to uplift the economic opportunity of the underprivileged people of those VDCs.  

Initially the theme of the CHESS Nepal was 'children and environment'. In 2001 CHESS reviewed the slogan and set it as "Development should be done in harmony with the environment, not by contradicting with it.” The organization started to advocate on child and environment friendly development by staying in headquarter Besishahar. As there was no any reliable funding source, fund was created through concerts and lottery. In 2001, CHESS was selected as a NGO partner to work on Natural Resource Management Sectoral Assistance Program (NARMSAP); a collaborative forestry project between DANIDA and Government of Nepal in cooperation with District Forest Office. Then it started to work on community forest program involving and encouraging women on non-timber forest products and its conservation. In the same period, an audio album called ‘Baneli’ which includes songs related to environment conservation was also made. This album became the milestone after ‘Kopila’ in the history of CHESS Nepal for creating awareness and for fund collection.

 In 2002, CHESS worked with Heifer International Nepal on livestock and agriculture for livelihood promotion. This program was implemented in ward no. 1 and 2 of Tarkughat VDC of Lamjung district involving women of 55 families. This was the first long term project in that period. At the same time, CHESS Nepal made another video movie named ‘Paribartan’ (Change) with the support of Heifer Nepal using Heifer’s cornerstone for value based community development to reflect the changes seen in the community due to Heifer’s cornerstone. This video is still being used by the Heifer Nepal and its partner organization as training materials which are expected to play the vital role in changing the attitude and behavior of the people. The collaboration with Heifer International Nepal helped CHESS Nepal for institutional development and also for extending its coverage area. In 2002, Heifer Nepal helped CHESS Nepal to extend its coverage area to Pokhara by providing one small Agro-forest pilot project which was implemented in collaboration with Khatikh
ola Community Forest User Group of Hemja and Dhital VDC of Kaski district.
    
CHESS Nepal expectedly was in progress in leadership with Mr. Pandey and his colleagues Mr. Binod Dhamala, Secretary, Mr. Rajkumar Shrestha, Treasure and Mr. Indra Bahadur Bhujel, the Executive Officer.  After the 9th general assembly held in 2005, the new generation entered in many positions of the organization from the members of the child clubs and women groups. As per the decision of the general assembly of 2005, CHESS Nepal insisted to register other wings in Kaski, Tanahu and Gorkha district of Gandaki zone. All the district offices deserved the legal status from the government.  In 2007, CHESS Nepal celebrated its 10th Annual day wit
h with larger number of stakeholders. After the 10th years of establishment of the organization, in 2008, the chairperson of CHESS Nepal Mr. Rajkumar Pandey handed over all the leadership of the organization to the new generation.

CHESS Nepal is grateful to its executive members, professional staffs, clients and beneficiaries who contributed to the organization for their end. Mrs. Sarita Neupane, Former Western Regional Director of UNICEF Nepal, Mrs. Kalpana Sarkar, Former Rural Sociologist of Western Regional Office Pokhara, NARMSAP, Danida, Ms. Bishnu Maya Thapa, Former Program Assistant  of Heifer International Nepal, Dr. Mahendra Nath Lohani, Former Country Director ,  Dr. Bidur Pakhrin, Former Technical Officer of Heifer International Nepal  are counted as the specific persons in the history of CHESS Nepal. CHESS Nepal extends its gratitude to all valuable local Community Based Organizations, community people, Government Offices, Non-government Organizations, National and International community who helped to generate a meal for the poor, a book for illiterate, a pair of clothes to those who could hardly cover their body and more than that who contributed for the moral valued life of the rural people. Further, CHESS expects to have instrumental support to create a better future of rural community since the mission is yet to be completed……