School of Ecology, Agriculture and Community Works


The School of Ecology, Agriculture and Community Works (SEACOW) was CAED’s first project, operational since 1992.  SEACOW began in the upper catchment of Lothar watershed, a narrow valley called Kandrang at the juncture of Makwanpur, Dhading and Chitwan Districts. Later, it expanded some of its activities to three other districts inhabited by an autochthonous indigenous group of people called the Chepangs.
SEACOW has helped the Chepang community in a variety of ways. Environmentally appropriate agricultural techniques made better use of their land. Cash was generated by effective management of marginal land and other common resources. Individuals gained confidence and the group as a whole made greater claims to their rights and asserted their identity more strongly. Educational quality was enhanced and access increased, and the community became more involved with the school to make it receptive to the needs and desires of their children.

General Achievements

General productivity increased. After five years of work, SEACOW reviewed the changes it had brought about in Kandrang. Although the issue of poverty persisted, positive changes were significant. General productivity, self-awareness and empowerment increased in Kandrang and surrounding areas and some village development committees (VDCs) in Makwanpur. People had greater crop and cash production from marginal lands and forests. The community adopted a more sustainable tree-based form of agriculture rather than the crop-based approach, which was problematic in their steep terrain. People planted a number of citrus and fodder trees and medicinal plants, and established hedgerows in the slashed-and-burnt slopes.
The Chepangs’ organisations have furthermore developed. A number of Chepang organisations emerged as a result of SEACOW as described below. The program simultaneously increased CAED’s experience and skills in relation to working with minority and indigenous groups of marginalised people. A Chepang co-operative (Praja Cooperative Ltd/PCL) was formed with the moral and technical support of SEACOW, and is operating a cooperative shop in Chitwan and marketing non-timber forest products to national as well as international buyers. While SEACOW had direct bearing on the formation of Kandrang Chepang Community (KCC) and Chepang co-operative (PCL), even the emergence of the Nepal Chepang Association (NCA) is a clear symbol of achievement when compared with the situation 10 years before. NCA, as an indigenous peoples’ organisation, represents the Chepangs from Chitwan, Dhading, Gorkha, Makwanpur, Lamjung and Tanahu districts. The NCA was established to influence and guide Chepang development programs of various agencies and to advocate for Chepang interests and indigenous rights. To support this organisation, the Chepangs have established formal structures of representative committees from the village, district, and central levels.


Achievements in 19 Primary Schools

Enrollment rates increased by 14% in 2005 and by 4% in 2006 in 19 primary schools.  Drop-out rates were reduced to 19% and pass rates increased to 68%, as per the data provided by the schools. The latter figures showed the need for improvement among the marginalized communities participating in SEACOW when compared with national data for 2003, namely an average drop-out rate of 9.82% and pass rate of 70.66%.  Students’ daily attendance was increased by 70% on average ( 69% for girls and 72% for Chepangs and other indigenous group, 67% for dalits,  and 77% for other ethnic group).  In most of the target schools, students started coming to school prepared to learn and having practices improved hygiene. Parents started taking responsibility to observe activities carried out in the schools and to be mindful of the attendance of students. Some child groups were furthermore successful in bring their friends who had left the classroom back to school. Data was collected from schools and, it should be noted, may need verification as it was found that teachers exaggerated the figures that were to be reported to the District Education office (DEO).




  • EcoNepal vzw (EN), a support group in Belgium
  • Stichting EcoSchool in Nepal (SEN), a support group in the Netherlands
  • Oxfam UK/I (Oxfam United Kingdom and Ireland)
  • The Body Shop International
  • Oxfam-Wereldwinkels, Belgium


  • SNV-Nepal (Netherlands Development Organisation/Praja Capacity Development Programme) 
  • Public Health Concern Trust Nepal (phect-Nepal)/Kathmandu Model Hospital
  • Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) Nepal
  • Nepal Chepang Association (NCA)


  • District Development Committee (DDC), Chitwan
  • District Cooperative Office (DCO), Chitwan
  • District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), Chitwan
  • District Forest Office (DFO), Chitwan
  • District Livestock Service Office (DLSO), Chitwan


  • Praja Coorperative Ltd (PCL), Chitwan
  • Village Development Committees (VDC) in covered VDCs in Chitwan
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