In Asia, CWS works with families, communities, governments, ecumenical and technical partners and other non-government organizations to help some of the region’s most vulnerable people. Most often we partner in support of long-term socioeconomic development and, when needed, we help people cope with the effects and aftermath of natural and manmade crises across the region.
CWS works in partnership with communities and families in six Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam – to help them improve their lives. We do this by enhancing access to information, hands-on education and training for development and disaster preparedness. National teams and local partners follow up with individuals and communities with coaching and monitoring to help ensure quality, accountability and sustainability. In Japan, CWS supports the work of CWS Japan: its advocacy and humanitarian initiatives in Japan as well as its development outreach and emergency response in other countries.
November 17, 2020 – Cao Binh is a Tay ethnic minority village in Vietnam’s northwestern mountains. Its name likely comes from its location. “Cao” means “high” and “Binh” means “flat”. So, it’s the flat area on a high mountain.
For drinking water, people here use a small stream about a mile from the center of their village. The stream’s flow changes seasonally, so families often face water shortages. This is especially so in the dry season from December to March. Because of this, villagers do not care much about water quality. They care about the quantity they can collect.
Not surprisingly, especially during shortages, water is a causes conflict. And, since water sharing among families was not a past practice, the situation was bad. And, since better-off households had money to build simple pipelines to tap upstream water, this left others without much, if any, water.
Facing the challenge and opportunity to help Cao Binh families address its water crisis, CWS was blessed to have funding from our friends at Week of Compassion. This group in a long-time partner of CWS in Vietnam. Another partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, funds much of our work in Vietnam, so our partners were able to partner with us!
With special funding in early 2020, CWS staff joined community leaders for a community needs assessment and water supply survey in Cao Binh. With findings in hand, Mr. Thang, the official Cao Binh leader, met with Women’s Union members, school leaders, respected villagers and People’s Committee leaders. And, with CWS staff, they thought through, discussed and planned a solution to their water crisis.
In two community meetings, everyone had a chance to share ideas. Then, there was consensus for the design and use of a gravity-fed piped water system. In all, 43 families registered to join a new Water Users’ Group. Importantly, they also agreed to contribute their labor to dig trenches and transport materials. Additionally, each family agreed to pay 300,000 Vietnamese dong ($13) to buy a water meter and small pipe to connect the main pipe to their house.
An operation and maintenance (O&M) team was also formed. Everyone agreed on a three-person team. Then, water use fees were agreed for operations and maintenance costs. Each family agreed to pay 1,000 dong per cubic meter of water used for the first 20 cubic meters, and 2,000 dong if they used more water. After these agreements, CWS helped the team create a water use and fee collection record keeping system to ensure transparency.
Recently, repeating his thoughts from June, Mr. Thang said, “People are now satisfied with the water supply system. It is well designed and, as planned, easy to use and maintain. With meters [that show use], people are more responsible in using water. Also, homes at the end of the pipeline now have enough water. And village solidarity is improved and conflicts over water no longer happen.”
November 09, 2020 – Countless families across southeast Asia continue to suffer because of COVID-19. Few are as heavily affected than Burmese (Myanmar) migrant workers in Thailand. Recently, a US-based CWS colleague joined a HIAS colleague to ask for help. Quickly, the Asia Regional Office in Bangkok was able to allocate a small grant to help 40 families for a month or so. Earlier, the families had been helped by a Princeton in Asia alumnus and his friends. The PIA graduate had been a volunteer with the community years ago. Now, they have lifesaving food and essential non-food items that met their immediate needs. The collage below shows highlights of the aid effort in Koa Lak.
CWS Indonesia | November 19, 2020
Disaster struck the village of Balongga in Indonesia in September 2018. A massive earthquake–and the resulting tsunamis and land liquefaction–destroyed or badly damaged most houses here. Today, many families in Balongga still live in “temporary” shelters that organizations including CWS helped them build. They are meant to be an intermediate solution and have a couple […]
CWS Indonesia | November 9, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of South Central Timor, Indonesia, closed public markets. And with all local markets closed, Afes worried. He wouldn’t be able to sell his cassava or banana harvests, and his family urgently needed the money. His recent corn crop had failed because there wasn’t enough rain, so his […]
CWS Thailand | November 8, 2020
Naw Paw Lue Lu and her husband are raising two children in Umpiem Mai camp in Thailand, which is home to refugee families from Myanmar. Their son is 6 years old, and their daughter is 18 months old. Naw Paw Lue Lu hasn’t had access to information or parenting classes, so she mostly followed the […]
CWS Thailand | October 24, 2020
Fabrianna Natasha | October 21, 2020
I’m Fabrianna Natasha, a Child Protection Officer with the CWS Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment (PURE) project. I work in Jakarta, Indonesia. Recently I had the opportunity to join a virtual gathering about A Decade of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and […]
CWS Myanmar | October 15, 2020
Not just on World Food Day, but for six months of the year, CWS supports volunteer Mother-Leaders in Myanmar to help families improve their diets. Together with our Field Coordinators, the leaders host cooking demonstrations for mothers and other caregivers of children under age 5. Demonstrations focus on making nutritionally balanced meals. They also give […]
CWS Cambodia | October 11, 2020
In honor of #DayoftheGirl, meet 15-year-old Sreynong (pictured on the right). She lives with her widowed mother in western Cambodia. The family grows an herb called culantro in a small home garden and sells it in order to earn a living, but it’s never enough. Sometimes they don’t have enough food, and Sreynong dropped out […]