Marking the 30 years of devoted social service to the nation, Caritas Nepal celebrated its anniversary on 28 October 2019 at Lalitpur. The event was followed by the closing ceremony of “Nepal Earthquake Recovery Program (NERP)”, one of the significant programs of Caritas Nepal. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”, said the masters of ceremony, Ms. Sylvia Rai and Mr. Chintan Manandhar, thanking the guests for their presence.
Distinguished guests gathered in the podium: His Excellency Bishop Paul Simick (Patron of Caritas Nepal) as a chairperson; Honorable Mr. Sushil Gyawali (Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority) as chief guest; Respected Mr. Shree Ram Khadka (Ward Chairperson, Bulung rural municipality, Dolakha); Mr. Aloysius John (Secretary of Caritas Internationalis); Dr. Benedict Alo D’Rozario (President of Caritas Asia); Rev. Fr. Ajay Pradhan (President of Caritas Nepal); and Fr. Lalit Tudu (Executive Director of Caritas Nepal) as a special guest.
Representatives from the various stakeholders had their presence and immense contribution acknowledged. A welcome speech was delivered by Fr. Ajay Pradhan while the lamp was lit by His Excellency Bishop Paul Simick and Honorable Mr. Sushil Gyawali. Caritas Nepal’s 30th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet and NERP’s Good Practices Booklet were officially released. All participants expressed their respect by standing up attentively while the National Anthem was played.
Mr. Manindra Malla (Program Manager, Caritas Nepal) gave a presentation about Caritas Nepal’s 30 years of journey and applying Innovative socio-technological approaches to facilitate change, which was followed by the screening of a video about NERP’s achievements.
Mr. Sushil Gyawali’s demonstrated his appreciation and congratulated Caritas Nepal for its work, “I am pleased today to participate in this program as a chief guest, thank you very much for honoring me in this program. We looked into the video, as well the 30years of journey of Caritas Nepal in our county and its engagement to create a socially just society, and also have equitable access to all the different services provided by the government and by other different agencies.”
Members of staff joyfully sang Caritas Nepal theme song, which delivers a message of solidarity to serve the poor, the vulnerable and make a better world for them to live in.
Mr. Zar Gomez, coordinator of Caritas Asia, delivered the congratulatory note from Caritas MONA (Middle East and North Africa) to Caritas Nepal on the completion of its 30 years.
Dr. Benedict ALo D’Rozari shared his good memories of Late Mr. Ashish Gurung and the time he had spent to learn the good practices from Caritas Bangladesh. He also appreciated the relationship with CN and the work it has been doing until date.
Mr. Aloysius John said that “2019 is an important year for Caritas Nepal. It was 30 years back that Caritas Nepal was made an autonomous member of the confederation. Caritas Nepal today is a full-fledged member of the confederation of 168 members Caritas spread out all over the word… Thanks His Excellency Bishop Paul Simick, Patron of Caritas Nepal, for his guidance and support, as well as the board members and the staff of Caritas Nepal, who have worked to make this program a success and make Caritas a recognized and respected instrument of solidarity.”
Mr. Shree Ram Khadka appreciated the presence of Caritas Nepal in one of the remote villages of Dolakha and the synergy between Caritas and the local government, which was one of the key tools for the successful implementation /completion of the recovery program.
His Excellency Bishop Paul Simick (Patron, Caritas Nepal) announced the closing of the 1st session with his remarks, “Two decades ago, in response to the Humanitarian Emergency caused by the natural calamities, Caritas Nepal has significantly progressed in its journey on this mission to mercy and charity… Caritas Nepal has succeeded in reaching out to the most needy, the weak, the poor, the marginalized, the voiceless, victims of natural and man-made disasters and also animating and sensitizing the local community to build a more vibrant, tolerant and resilient civil society…”
The second session started with the dance performance by children from Puspanjali School, Godawari.
Mr. Melville Fernandez (manager of Humanitarian Emergencies, Caritas Australia) shared his experience with Caritas Nepal, “It has been a great journey for me to be part of the many successes and also the challenges that CN went through and also the Caritas Federation… I think it also goes without saying the tremendous contribution made by Caritas Nepal, playing a leadership role that has also been reflected earlier in many of the development programs…”
Fr. Pius Perumana (Former Executive Director, Caritas Nepal) talked about his experience during the earthquake emergency period and thanked CIMOs teams that visited Nepal during that time for assistance. Likewise, Fr. K.B Bogati (Former Executive Director, Caritas Nepal) also shared his experiences of the earthquake days and the working modality used to implement the recovery program. “We were the first ones in our agency/NGOs to have declared one VDC to have first completed its reconstruction. Caritas was the first NGO to complete that… People are the ones who speak for us, even if we visit now we have lots of praise for Caritas Nepal”, he proudly said.
Mr. Charles William Mendies (Executive Board Member) on behalf of all board members, praised the work done by Caritas Nepal in the humanitarian and social development fields, and expressed his gratitude for the support received from CIMOs and CI, especially during the earthquake recovery.
Caritas Nepal family payed a tribute to His Excellency Late Bishop Anthony Sharma and Founder Director, Late Mr. Ashish Gurung, for their contribution. An appreciation certificated was given to His Excellency Bishop Paul Simick (Patron, Caritas Nepal) for his cooperation and contribution.
The certificates of appreciation were distributed to representatives from different government organizations, I/NGOs, CIMOs, and the Society of St. Vincent De Paul for their magnanimous support and contribution. Similarly, appreciation certificates were given to the implementing partner CDAFN- Mahottari and PACE Nepal- Jumla, which have been awarded for their innovative contribution by the UK Aid and WWF Nepal Conservation Award. Also recognition and appreciation certificates were delivered to NERP implementing partners: ECARDS, Relief Nepal, Sajak Nepal, Community Development Program-Sindhuli and Collective Concern Society. Likewise, certificates of appreciation were provided to Executive Board and General Members of Caritas Nepal, Former Executive Directors, retired staff, and current staff of Caritas Nepal. Similarly, NERP staff of Caritas Nepal were appreciated for their hard work and were provided with appreciation certificates too. Late Mr. Albert Giri was remembered for his contribution to Caritas Nepal as well. The session ended with the closing remarks by Fr. Lalit Tudu.
The second day, September 29th, was dedicated to the presentation of results of the external evaluation of NERP – Nepal Earthquake Recovery Programme. Mr. Frank de Caires and his team emphasized the important progress of communities assisted due to livelihood support offered by the project. They advised Caritas Nepal to further expand such type of support in other projects, since relatively small amounts of cash invested have the potential to lead to more prosperity and independence in the long term.
The external evaluators praised the four women from Baseswor village, in Sindhuli, who participated in a 5-day pickle making training in April 2018, and now have a pickle business in Sindhuli district. That means a great progress and more independence for those women.
The evaluation naturally found room to improvement, and Caritas Nepal will use the lessons learned to adapt and improve future interventions, promoting the sustainability and enhancing the impact of its projects. It was a moment of reflection, with active participation of members of staff and NERP sector coordinators commenting on the results of the evaluation.
Consultant Ms. Era Shrestha has been assisting Caritas Nepal in the development of guidelines in various fields. She presented the results of her work so far and some elements of the policies that will be implemented.
For example, CN will roll out its Complaint Handling Mechanism soon, as well as its Monitoring & Evaluation Policy. Ms. Shrestha is also working on Information and Communications Technology guidelines, among others. Caritas Nepal will gladly take the challenge of implementing such policies and guidelines, making sure that its staff will abide by the proposed standards, to guarantee the quality of our work and performance of staff.
Programme Manager Mr. Manindra Malla presented a new initiative that represents the way forward as per the Strategic Plan 2017 to 2021: SERP – Socio-Economic Resilience Programme, which will focus on Livelihoods enhancement and WASH facilities to promote appropriate water sanitation and hygiene in vulnerable communities of Nepal.
Our guests also provided their opinions about the findings presented, and many of them agree on the following: Caritas Nepal needs to work in unity to reach its objectives and take the opportunities of the present context to grow. Our project coordinators also provided their recommendations regarding the course of action that Caritas Nepal should take in the next year, such as promoting onfarm action research or expanding actions to deal with unsafe migration and Bhutanese Refugees.
Father Lalit Tudu ended the meeting thanking all the inputs received, but also focusing on the need for unity and cooperation of Caritas’ staff and different projects, so we can be strong to face obstacles and the challenges of helping the disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Nepal.