In early December the CWS Regional Leadership Team for Asia was pleased to welcome CWS President & CEO, Rev. John McCullough to the region to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the agency’s leadership of Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (LARA) at an ecumenical gathering in Tokyo and to visit CWS projects in Vietnam following Leadership Team meetings in Hanoi, which the CWS Vietnam team was generous in hosting.
Meetings included reviews of CWS regional focus, including the need to be increasingly vigilant about emergency response preparedness for Asia. Additionally, there was a review all country programs and priorities, and discussion of the way forward for greater impact, especially for children and women, who are most greatly helped by our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and home-based livelihoods initiatives.
A field visit to a WASH project, funded by a private sector donor, Tetra-Pak Vietnam, gave Rev. McCullough, other US-based colleagues and Country Reps from across Asia a chance to visit with early primary grades students and their teachers at one of 13 satellite schools where the project has helped thousands of students have improved access to water and sanitary latrines in Thanh Hoa Province one of the country’s poorest areas. The delegation also visited a village where 100% of families have stopped practicing open defecation by using CWS technical assistance to build safe, sanitary latrines, and where the village leader has become a strong local advocate for CWS-led WASH initiatives, especially household latrines and public sanitation.