Chhimeki (meaning ‘neighbor’ in Nepali) is a non-governmental grassroots volunteer organisation which was established in 2004 by neighborhood women volunteers and members residing in Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) wards. The objective was to empower women from poor backgrounds to promote the nutritional health of mothers and their children; and to improve their overall wellbeing. Chhimeki is registered with the District Administration Office, Kathmandu, Government of Nepal, and affiliated with the Social Welfare Council.
Starting initially in 9 wards, the group expanded its activities to 11 wards (Ward no.9, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 25, 27, 31 and 32 of KMC) by 2008 through the creation of an active volunteer base in the community. Volunteers form the bedrock of Chhimeki. Each of them together provide some of their time and work needed to implement the project activities in the communities in which they live. Chhimeki Sanstha has trained 1730 neighborhood volunteers and has 352 registered members in the 11 wards in KMC. These volunteers, with the support of staff organize monthly baby weighing sessions, promote healthy eating for babies/toddlers, provide information on hygiene, and run Child Care Centers in their locality. The aim of the organization is also to empower the women of the community by mobilizing them through saving groups, income generation activity like tailoring. With this aim, Chhimeki volunteers are currently running tailor shops and Sarbottam Pitho production.
Now Chhimeki has been receiving support from Germany (Stiftung 100), Fons Català de Cooperació al Desenvolupament, Barcelona Spain, Terre des hommes (Tdh) and other individual well-wishers thereby facilitating the continuity of some of Chhimeki’s key activities. Paid staff members are responsible for the administration of Chhimeki and the implementation of the programs. Chhimeki works with approximately 23442 families in 11 wards of Kathmandu Metropolitan City through volunteer’s mobilization.
Before Chhimeki was established, the Urban Nutrition Project (UNP) of Terre des hommes Foundation (Tdh) was implemented through a local NGO called Sagun. With the active support of Terre des hommes the project significantly grew over the years in terms of capacity and reach, with a geographical expansion into 11 wards across Kathmandu Metropolitan City, a growing numbers of volunteers, the hiring of additional staff and improved community participation. During the phased out period, Sagun, Tdh and trained volunteers decided to continue the great work Sagun was doing by establishing Chhimeki. From 2001 to 2004 volunteers were trained through Sagun but after the establishment of Chhimeki in December 2004, volunteers were continuously trained through Chhimeki. Geared at urban communities, their families and children, our programs actively engage in the promotion of child and mother nutritional health. Between 2001 and 2012, 1730 community volunteers were trained and engaged in neighborhood nutrition and empowerment activities. For every 30-50 families living in a given area, a volunteer was selected based on a door-to-door visit by staff and a short discussion about the program. Preference was given to women with small children under the age of 3 who were of similar socio-economic background to the majority of the population in the community. All the selected volunteers received training for 16 weeks (once a week), which focused on imparting basic information related to the nutritional status of children and pregnant and post-natal mothers. The volunteers were trained on following subjects: psychosocial counseling, antenatal and post-natal mothers, monthly growth monitoring, appropriate food for children, breast feeding, immunization, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), diarrhea, and home visits in the community. Most volunteers were able to give two hours every month assisting in these activities.
In 2012 Terres des hommes Nepal phased out the Urban Nutrition Project, however trained volunteers from all 11 wards of Kathmandu Metropolitan City have continued with their work with Chhimeki.
Mobilize communities and its local resources through direct and indirect engagement of women from community to create positive social changes for the promotion of the health of children and mothers using nutrition awareness as an entry point to improve autonomy and self sufficiency.
Chhimeki’s vision is to bring about improved nutrition and wellbeing of young children, pregnant women, and post-natal mothers through the empowerment of women.
⦿ The main objective of Chhimeki is to promote the health and nutrition status of antenatal and postnatal mothers and their children under three years old (especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds).
⦿ Empower women through improving their social and economic status.
Chhimeki Sanstha Nepal’s (CSN) governance system is exemplary with transparent and highly participatory elections being convened in every two years. It elects nine executive members through the election represented by more than 300 women community volunteers. CSN regularly convene its Annual General Meeting (AGM) as of the provision of its constitution. CSN has become a thriving social movement which has been able to establish a strong platform for community women and mothers for their empowerment and overall wellbeing.