DRR Field Practicum with Korean NGOs in Myanmar

CWS Myanmar | January 29, 2014

CWS-Asia/Pacific in cooperation with the Korean Council for Overseas Cooperation (KCOC) organized a 7 days Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) field practicum workshop to expose Korean NGO workers to the DRR environment in Myanmar.

Ten members from different Korean based NGOs participated to the workshop (see list below), together with Sithu Wai, CWS-Myanmar Project Coordinator and Takeshi Komino, CWS-Asia/Pacific Head of Emergencies.

The workshop gave to the participants a unique opportunity to learn about the concept of disaster risk reduction in the specific context of Myanmar, share CWS approach and experience in the country and build up the skills required to potentially start their own DRR programs.

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Sithu Wai (left) and Takeshi Komino (right) presenting DRR in Myanmar Credit: CWS

The workshop started with an introduction on the concept of disaster risk reduction in Myanmar and followed by a meeting with UNDP representatives, who are also coordinating the DRR working Group, and a presentation from our partner SEEDS Asia.

But the main milestone was the field visit to Pathein, west of Yangon, where participants had the opportunity to meet the YMCA local team, and learn about the CWS-funded pilot project they implemented to raise villagers awareness and support disaster preparedness and mitigation programs based on villages specific needs.

Focus group with village women committee Credit: CWS

Focus group with village women committee Credit: CWS

While visiting the village of Ka Ma Lu in Napudaw Township, the participants led a focus group discussion with the village committees to evaluate the current situation and identify potential gaps in their disaster preparedness projects. This practical exercise was beneficial for both workers and villagers. By listening the villagers, NGOs workers realized “that NGOs should work more as a facilitator than a driver” as Lee Kyung Shin, KCOC Director, analyzed after the visit. But it was also positive for the villagers as the participants provided a detailed evaluation, identifying several gaps and raising some important concerns that YMCA Pathein was eager to take into consideration for their future program.

Thanks to the workshop, Park Junguk, Global Hope Project Manager “discovered the hidden part of the iceberg. The fact that DRR projects are so interconnected with other type of programs, and the are endless programming possibilities.” As the other participants, Park realized that, following this visit, his “conception of disaster risk reduction has completely changed”.

Before going back to Yangon, the participants at the chance to see the Mobile Knowledge Resource Center (MKRC) truck who was training some kids in a school in Pathein. This was another interesting concrete experience to share demonstrating how we can effectively work on the reduction of risks.

Before flying back to Korea, Lee Kyung Shin underlined how satisfied she was, as “participants have clearly increased their knowledge and will be able to push the DRR agenda among organizations in Korea.” As for Yeo Dongkuen, from the Miral Welfare foundation working with disable people, he expressed his motivation “to keep learning and studying DRR policies and practices, in order to share with colleagues and integrate a DRR component in their future programs.”

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For CWS-Asia/Pacific it has also been a great learning experience, thanks to our Korean friends feedback on the program they visit and the chance we had to create strong links with Korean organization.

NGO participating to the DRR Field Practicum
– Habitat for Humanity Korea
– Korean Buddhists’ Foundation for Social Welfare & Volunteering
– Global Hope
– Child Fund Korea
– Miral Welfare Foundation
– MediPeace
– KCOC

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