Children, Health, Education, and Supporting Services (CHESS)

CHESS Nicaragua logo

The Children, Health, Education, and Supporting Services (CHESS) initiative is actively working to empower the communities of Villa El Carmen by focusing on education and healthcare. The collaborative effort brings together Rotary International, Gran Pacifica Nicaragua, co-founder at Gran Pacifica, Mike Cobb, and local NGOs to address the needs of the community comprehensively.

CHESS, a U$300,000 education and health program, was implemented from 2006 to 2009 in 12 primary schools in the Villa El Carmen municipality. This program was a collaborative effort between Gran Pacifica Resort, the Pittsburgh Rotary Club, and USAID. Its primary focus was to benefit the Villa El Carmen school system, specifically targeting around 6,000 children. Through this initiative, the aim was to provide educational and health support to enhance the overall well-being of the students in the region.


Education is a fundamental pillar of the CHESS Initiative. Recognizing the importance of ongoing professional development for teachers, we are continuously enhancing education classes. These classes provide opportunities for teachers to stay updated with the latest teaching methods and strategies, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high-quality education to their students. By investing in the professional growth of teachers, we aim to improve the overall educational experience for children in Villa El Carmen.

“The CHESS Initiative is a collaborative effort that aims to empower the communities of Villa El Carmen by focusing on education and healthcare. By bringing together various organizations and individuals, we are addressing the needs of the community comprehensively,” said Mike Cobb.

Peer Mentoring Programs 

To foster a supportive learning environment, the CHESS Initiative is implementing peer and mentoring programs in elementary schools. These programs promote collaboration and cooperation among students, allowing them to learn from and support one another. Mentoring relationships provide guidance and encouragement, boosting students’ confidence and motivation. By nurturing these connections, we aim to create a positive and inclusive school culture that inspires students to thrive academically and personally.

“The legacy of the CHESS Initiative lives on, as the impact it had on the education and health of the students in Villa El Carmen continues to be felt. The program served as a model for future initiatives, inspiring others to invest in the well-being of communities and empowering children to reach their full potential,” said Joel Nagel.

Parent-Teacher Association

Additionally, the project recognizes the importance of strong relationships between parents and school administrators. To strengthen these bridges, the CHESS Initiative has facilitated the creation of parent-teacher associations to provide a platform for open communication, collaboration, and shared decision-making. By involving parents in the educational process, we foster a sense of ownership and shared responsibility, leading to improved educational outcomes for children.


Health Education

The CHESS Initiative also places a significant emphasis on improving basic health education in Villa El Carmen. Health education programs have been developed to address critical issues such as handwashing techniques, filtering and storing safe drinking water, maintaining clean bathrooms, etc. By promoting these essential practices, we aim to create a healthier and safer environment for the community, enhancing the overall well-being of children and their families.


Improving Literacy

In addition to education and healthcare, the CHESS Initiative recognizes the crucial role that libraries play in improving literacy rates. As a corollary program, we are focused on building library facilities, providing resources, and teaching students and teachers how to make the maximum use of library assets. By fostering a passion for reading and expanding access to knowledge, we aim to improve literacy levels and empower students with the tools necessary for personal and intellectual growth.

Through the collaborative efforts of Rotary International, Gran Pacifica Nicaragua, and local NGOs, the CHESS Initiative is committed to helping the communities of Villa El Carmen. By addressing the needs of children in the areas of education, healthcare, and supporting services, we aim to create a brighter future for the community as a whole. Together, we can foster sustainable change and ensure that every child in Villa El Carmen has the opportunity to reach their full potential.