CWS Asia


While visiting Timor Zero Hunger project activities, including technical support for improved vegetable farming and women’s savings and loans groups, CWS President & CEO, Reverend John McCullough (third from right, standing, in the photo) met with members of the Bauk Usif B weaving group in Enonabuasa village in south central West Timor. He was joined by CWS Cambodia program colleagues Ek Sothea and Kim Nimol, who work on similar issues with families in rural Cambodia. They were hosted by Vincent Surma (standing first on the left in the photo), who is CWS Program Manager in West Timor, and other members of the CWS Indonesia team. Photo: CWS

A boy gets water from a CWS truck. He is one of more than 13,000 people who CWS delivers water to each day (Central Sulawesi earthquake). Photo: CWS

Buttu Tasik feeding his pig supplements (DREAM project). Photo: CWS

Laila (not her real name) is an 18-year-old girl who lives in a CWS-sponsored group home in Jakarta, Indonesia. Laila reading her poems about gender based violence. Photo: CWS

Overview |

CWS teams first served the people of Indonesia through the Communion of Churches in Indonesia in the 1950s. Then, following decades of humanitarian and development work, and a brief hiatus in 1997, CWS partnered significantly with the U.S. government through USDA and USAID funding after a series of crises, both natural and manmade, caused a dramatic increase in food prices and pervasive poverty, as well as high malnutrition rates among young children.

As the economy stabilized and grew – before the ongoing COVID-19 socioeconomic and public health crisis – many people’s lives and livelihoods improved. However, even before the Coronavirus hit, there were countless communities and families living in poverty and with hunger and malnutrition in many places. So, CWS continues its original work through our signature Timor Zero Hunger initiative. Based on known best practices, Timor Zero Hunger integrates agriculture and livelihoods improvements with water and sanitation improvements. In 2020, we added COVID-19 hygiene promotion in partnership with CROP Hunger Walks, CWS Members, Week of Compassion, Latter-day Saints Charities and some individual donors. And, despite COVID-19, Timor Zero Hunger continues to contribute to achieving United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge and the collective goals of the 1,000 Days partnership. While West Timor is far away from reaching these goals, and Indonesia’s Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, hunger and malnutrition, CWS is committed to continuing our long-standing partnership.

CWS also works with communities in Central Sulawesi to promote and support continuing recovery and rebuilding from the 2018 earthquake and tsunami. Now, our Australian partner Act for Peace is funding a second phase of Disaster Resilience through Enhanced Adaptive Measures (DREAM²). DREAM² aims to support communities to reduce and adapt to climate change-related risks and build resilience. DREAM² aligns with a pilot project funded by CWS members and the David and Carol Myers Foundation, Moving Toward Resilience. In this initiative, CWS teams are partnering with communities to assess the relationship between climate change and migration in some Central Sulawesi villages, and to address climate change-related risks to farming.

In a different direction, CWS partners with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, the Australian government and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to protect and support refugees and asylum seekers predominantly from Afghanistan, East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia by Protecting Urban Refugees Through Empowerment.

Latest News

Public School Access for Refugee Children in Jakarta

CWS Indonesia | February 24, 2021

Most refugee and asylum-seeking children in Indonesia are left out of the nation’s formal education system. In partnership with UMCOR – United Methodist Committee On Relief, we’re working to change this. As a first step, we’re hosting information sessions for parents (pictured) and enrolling children in Indonesian language classes. When the students officially join public […]

CWS Stands Ready to Respond to Serial Disasters Across Indonesia

CWS Indonesia | January 18, 2021

Tragically, Indonesia has been hit in recent days with a series of devastating natural disasters. There is not yet a call for CWS staff to join government-led response activities. But we are monitoring the situation and are ready to help in partnership with ACT Indonesia Forum member. As of Sunday evening, January 17th, the death […]

Refugee and Asylum-seeking Children Give Thanks for CWS Support

CWS Indonesia | December 23, 2020

A very difficult year, 2020, is drawing to a close. And, despite the heartache of being separated from their families, and the added threats posed by COVID-19, a group of children and teens who live in Church World Service care in Jakarta, Indonesia, took time to thank one of our generous friends for his support […]

Disaster Resilient Village Teams in Indonesia Are Fighting the Coronavirus Together

CWS Indonesia | December 1, 2020

A few years ago, CWS and our partner Pusbinlat helped people in five Central Sulawesi villages to form Disaster Resilient Village teams. Their impetus was to get out ahead of the next inevitable natural disaster. One of the villages is Pondingao. And its people came together to form a volunteer team to prepare for, and […]

Household latrines help families in Indonesia stay healthy during Covid-19

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 […]

Eggs and chickens: emergency nutrition + long-term resilience

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 […]

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children Marks a Decade of Progress

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 […]

Rebuilding & Becoming More Resilient: Progress & Lessons Learned with Central Sulawesi Communities

CWS Indonesia | September 29, 2020

On the evening of September 28, 2018, a massive earthquake hit the Minahasa Peninsula of Sulawesi island in Indonesia. The quake triggered tsunamis as high as seven meters, which caused landslides and soil liquefaction. More than 5,000 people lost their lives to the disaster; twice that many people were injured – some severely. At least […]

Three 16-year-old Refugees Take Top Honors In CWS World Refugee Day Poster Contest

CWS Indonesia | July 3, 2020

To mark World Refugee Day 2020 in a time of social distancing and movement restrictions, CWS organized a stay-at-home poster contest among the boys who live in group homes we support in Jakarta. Originally from Afghanistan, Asadi was awarded First Prize. He told the judges he was happy to have positive activity to help pass […]

Back in Business: CWS Cash Transfer Initiative Helps Nurmita Return to Work

CWS Indonesia | July 2, 2020

Nurmita lives in a Central Sulawesi village where, before a devastating earthquake in 2018, she sold traditional cakes to earn a nice income. In the disaster Nurmita lost her baking equipment and supplies … and her livelihood. Her situation was not uncommon, unfortunately. And it has taken quite some time for people to recover and […]

CWS Teams Have Continued Grassroots Development Work in Communities

CWS Indonesia | June 15, 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, CWS teams have continued grassroots development work in many communities. In the video below, our colleague Andi Juanda, shares our gratitude to the many Americans who help us in our work in Indonesia. He speaks for all of us!

Past Learning About Frequent Handwashing Helps Families Avoid COVID-19 Harm

CWS Indonesia | May 2, 2020

By Indarwati Palembangan, our Senior Project Officer in Tana Toraja. State Primary School 177 is in Se’seng village in the Tana Toraja district of Sulawesi island in Indonesia. The village lies in a mountainous area prone to landslides. So, back in 2015, schools and community leaders joined teachers, students and parents to join a Safe […]

CWS Is Working to Ensure the Wellbeing of Young Asylum Seekers and Refugees

CWS Indonesia | March 27, 2020

In our urban refugee program in Jakarta, PURE+, CWS staff have acted together with group home residents to respond quickly to COVID-19 risks. There was deep cleaning in each of four homes to start. At the same time our security guards, who have a lot of responsibilities for the homes’ safety, were learning the facts […]

Nofi’s Uncle Supports Her Will To Have Power Over Her Life

CWS Indonesia | December 31, 2019

Nofrita Eky, who goes by Nofi, is a 19-year-old girl who has lives with her grandmother and uncle. When she was 14, Nofi’s father died and, to make ends meet, her mother moved to a community about 4-hours away from Nofi, to work as a teacher. So, while she is sad to not be with […]

Never Stop Learning

CWS Indonesia |

The women of Sikara Tobata village recently formed the Healthy Orchid Care group to raise awareness about community and family health issues. Recently, the women came together to learn about the five pillars of Community-Based Total Sanitation, a participatory process by which people come together assess the sanitation and hygiene in their community. The process […]

Farah’s Future

CWS Indonesia | December 30, 2019

In 2010, 17-year-old Farah’s family home in Mogadishu was burned down while she and her family were still in it. Though severely burned over her whole body, Farah was the only survivor. For a long time, Farah was hospitalized. But finally, she felt able to take the long journey that she knew she must do […]

Empowering Emiliani

CWS Indonesia |

Emiliani is a 44-year-old housewife, mother and farmer from Balombong village. In 2018, Emiliani joined KSPP Anggrek, a women-run savings and loan group. Anggrek is supported by the CWS Disaster Risk Reduction through Enhanced Adaptive Measures (DREAM) project, which helps families build their resilience. One way DREAM works is by supporting women farmers to organize […]

“Now we can take part in saving ourselves”: Disaster Resilience Grows in Sulawesi, Indonesia

CWS Indonesia | November 27, 2019

Lembang Pondingao village of about 700 people in remote mountainous South Sulawesi, Indonesia. As such it, like much of the country, is earthquake-prone. This is a big concern for 45-year-old Dolo Karua, the village’s leader since 2007. “Every time there is an earthquake, people panic”. Understandably. Because of his responsibility for 700 people, Dolo Karua […]

South Sulawesi Organizations Join Communities to Build Disaster Response Awareness and Skills

CWS Indonesia |

In mid-October, CWS joined Pusbinlat Toraja Church and the South Sulawesi Indonesian Red Cross Society to lead First Aid skill-building activities with the Lembang Disaster Preparedness Team and Disaster Risk Reduction Forum. The activities included an information exchange as well as hands-on learning for saving lives, preventing disabilities and providing comfort and support during emergency […]

Knowing More, Hoping for More and Making Changes for the Better

CWS Indonesia | November 26, 2019

Ercy is a 33-year-old mother of three young children who, along with her husband, struggles with daily life. Sadly, in their West Timor, Indonesia village they are not unique in this regard. So, this is a key reason CWS is working with Ercy and many others in the Timor Zero Hunger initiative. Timor Zero Hunger […]

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.

ACT Alliance InterAction ICVA BBB Accredited Charity Charity Navigator

Church World Service • 1.800.297.1516 • info@cwsglobal.orgPrivacy