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Building a world where there is enough for all

CWS has worked in Asia and around the world for seven decades with one goal: helping build a world where there is enough for all.

We affirm the power of individuals and communities in creating their futures. We work to help people find solutions to the challenges and problems they face, and to seize the opportunities they have to – and build on – the change that comes from our partnership.

In Asia this means a poor rural family is able to start a home garden and raise chickens to ensure enough nutritious food, and a small income, for themselves. Or a community is able to have nearby access to clean, safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing and household chores. And unaccompanied and separated children seeking asylum are protected and sheltered and offered hope as well as safety.

At CWS we believe that there is enough food, water and justice for everyone in our world. Our aim and work is to build alliances among faith groups, civil society, advocates and communities and individuals needing support to secure their basic rights.

CWS in Asia

CWS first worked in Asia as a leader of humanitarian action to support the people of Japan at the end of World War II. As part of the Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia, CWS, together with many other organizations, facilitated delivery of about 200 shiploads of relief and recovery supplies that helped more than 14 million people survive the aftermath of the war. Over the past six decades as CWS has evolved in Japan, our engagement has remained strong.

Our work in Asia has expanded greatly since 1946 and it has changed in response to humanitarian and development needs.

  • In 1954 CWS was among the first American agencies to provide aid – primarily medical and material – to 300,000-plus internal refugees in South Vietnam.
  • In the 1960s, CWS worked in Myanmar through the Myanmar Council of Churches and the Myanmar YMCA and in Indonesia through the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI). In both countries, these groups and CWS worked together to support and implement humanitarian and development programs.
  • CWS has been working in Cambodia since 1979, and was one of the first humanitarian organizations allowed in the country when the Khmer Rouge era ended.
  • Since 1984 CWS has been active in initiatives to support the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from Myanmar (Burma) who live in closed camps along the Thai-Myanmar border, and we continue to work with The Border Consortium as displaced families prepare to return home.
  • Since 2003 CWS has worked in Timor-Leste: at first through the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste, and now directly with the national army, supporting HIV/AIDS awareness-raising, education and prevention activities.
  • In 2008 a renewed partnership with The Church of Christ in Thailand was agreed to support child safeguarding protocols and practices in Church schools, universities, hospitals and congregations.

Today in Southeast Asia, CWS focuses significantly on integrated community development for improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and livelihood opportunities. Some country teams also lead programs to support community-based disaster risk reduction; others work for refugee protection and basic rights; for improving health care for marginalized people; for HIV/AIDS awareness-raising and prevention, and for advocacy for nuclear risk reduction and response preparedness.

Together, as a regional team, CWS stands ready to respond to natural and manmade disasters in partnership with members of the global ACT Alliance and local organizations, including churches.

In the broader Asia-Pacific region, CWS partners with many national and international non-government and government groups, including these:

Humanitarian Quality and Accountability

CWS is committed to globally recognized Sphere Project standards, and to keeping Core Humanitarian Standard commitments in our work. We also work with related initiatives and groups that seek to ensure quality and accountability in humanitarian action. In all emergency and crisis response activities in Asia, CWS follows core and technical minimum standards – which put the people we help in times of crisis or disaster at the center of our response.

Download the 2011 edition of The Sphere Project Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.

Church World Service is a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.

Church World Service, Inc., is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

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