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

Teaching Centered on Helping Young People Survive

CWS Indonesia | November 26, 2019

In a project named PURE, CWS staff in Jakarta, Indonesia work together to protect urban refugees through empowerment. Protection starts with information-sharing and progresses in a number of ways – including vocational skills building. Of special importance to CWS for education and training programs are refugee youth transitioning to independent living as they reach age […]

Celebrating International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction by Preparing for Future Disasters

CWS Indonesia |

Eleven-year-old Taufiq still remembers when a series of earthquakes hit his village, Ombo, in Central Sulawesi last year. “I was inside the house with my mother when the quake struck”, he said. Expecting other quakes or a tsunami, Taufiq, his family and neighbors fled to nearby mountains. And, even when they returned home, thousands of […]

Leading by Example to Promote Village-led Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Planning

CWS Indonesia | October 27, 2019

Rano is a village high in the barren mountains of western Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Because there is very little vegetation around Rano, seasonal rains make the area prone to landslides. Since Rano’s families are already vulnerable from poverty and lack of basic public services, like a clinic or government-organized emergency responders, the […]

Empowering Young Men for Transition from Group Home Living

CWS Indonesia |

As part of the Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment (PURE) project, CWS supports young refugees as they transition to adulthood and, as a result, leave group homes when they turn 18. PURE, as its full name implies, supports these youth to be empowered for independence with vocational and language training, plus info-sessions and skill-building sessions, […]

Em[POWER]ment in Knowledge

CWS Indonesia |

Adela Missa, a 26-year-old housewife and mother of one, lives in a small village in West Timor in far southeast Indonesia. About five years ago, Adela decided to contribute to her family’s income by weaving shawls and blankets to sell. Unfortunately, she was not as successful as she hoped. This was mostly because she did […]

The DREAM of a Business becomes a Resilient Reality

CWS Indonesia | October 26, 2019

Surianti Makamban is a hard-working woman in a rural mountain village in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. In the past, Surianti and her family relied on small rice and cocoa fields’ produce to support themselves. But their harvests were never enough to meet their basic needs. Ibu Sari, a community leader in the village, noticed how Surianti’s […]

A Village Organizes to Change Its Life

CWS Indonesia | October 25, 2019

CWS has supported water access for families in Nitutoli, a small community in rural West Timor, since mid-2017. Before this, the only water source was an unprotected spring about one mile from the village that provided minimal water. People lined up one or two hours in to get water; and, in fact. it was just […]

Safe, Suitable Toilets Are Key to Disaster Recovery and Returning to a Sense of Normalcy

CWS Indonesia |

Nearly 25 million people in Indonesia don’t use toilets. They defecate instead in fields and forests, streams and rivers, ditches and canals, and even streets. Open defecation is not only an affront to dignity, it also poses health risks. Since the September 2018 earthquake in Palu, Central Sulawesi, many families there are now part of […]

Building a House into a Home

CWS Indonesia |

Delti watched as her house crumbled to the ground on September 28th in 2018 as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. While running to find safety, all Delti thought about was how her life would change completely – if she even survived the disaster. Delti was one of about 212,000 people displaced […]

Settling in and Getting to Work for the Future

CWS Indonesia | October 3, 2019

Roble (not his real name) was born in a small town about 25 kilometers from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Roble’s family was part of a minority clan and, in a country where clan is more esteemed than nationality, Roble’s clan faced discrimination … and worse. For example, one day men from the area’s majority clan attacked […]

Community Volunteers Like Andi Tuo Are Sustainable Change Makers

CWS Indonesia |

Andi Tuo is a volunteer Community Health Promoter in Palu, Central Sulawesi, where an earthquake, tsunami and land liquefaction devastated her town and dozens of surrounding villages last year. In mid-August, Andi and her colleagues joined a CWS-led skills training to support their work in a community-led total sanitation (CLTS) initiative led by Indonesia’s Ministry […]

Empowering Youth to Protect Their Own Health

CWS Indonesia |

Christina ‘Intan’ Nitbani, is a 14-year-old student in a small rural village in West Timor, Indonesia. She is the youngest of three children and an only daughter. Intan, like most girls her age, and even much older, are not well informed about their basic biology and health. “Sex and reproduction are taboo topics here”, said […]

Elsi Is Leading Other DREAM-ers to Succeed

CWS Indonesia | October 2, 2019

Because of its valley location, Rano, which is in South Sulawesi, Indonesia has temperatures that are hotter than other Tanja Toraja villages. This location means families there experience harsher drought most of the year when it doesn’t rain in the area. Harsher still are landslides that come along with the rains. In late 2016, deadly […]

Artistic Talents Discovered and Nurtured Among Young Refugees in Jakarta

CWS Indonesia |

Mustafa (not his real name) was born the oldest of 6 children in a remote village in a Hazara ethnic village in Afghanistan. Because Hazara people are largely Shia Muslims and a minority in Afghanistan, they are under constant threat from those who identify as Taliban and follow Sunni Islam. One day some years ago, […]

Growing groups, Growing vegetables

CWS Indonesia |

The Oe’ayo farmer group started almost by accident when a plot of land donated to a church youth group by Welmince Kase and her husband was left fallow. So, after a year of the youth’s inactivity, Welmince decided on another idea for her land. Knowing that she would have help from CWS, she invited nine […]

Indonesia Earthquake Anniversary | CWS Response

CWS Indonesia | September 28, 2019

A year ago, a horrific series of disasters struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The earthquake, tsunamis and liquefaction killed more than 5,300 people and wiped out communities. CWS have been on the ground in Central Sulawesi for the past year helping to address critical water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter needs. This video gives a glimpse at […]

CWS Most Valuable Player!

CWS Indonesia | August 27, 2019

Mohammad (not his real name) is a 16-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan. He has lived a safe, healthy and happy life in a CWS-managed group home in Jakarta for four years, and for almost two years, regardless of his disability, Mohammad has become more active and stronger in body and spirit. Last summer Mohammad was […]

Empowering Ety

CWS Indonesia |

As one CWS approach to sustainable economic development for women in West Timor, Berdaya, which means empowerment in Indonesian, supports women in a few ways, including support to organize and lead their own savings and loans groups. Woman, in turn, support each other as they start and grow small businesses, make profits, save … and […]

New Skills Help Revive Timor Weaving Traditions and Raise Women’s Earning in the Bargain

CWS Indonesia | August 26, 2019

Deni Seteria Saufeto is a jack-of-all-trades in her West Timor village. Besides taking care of her children and home, Mama Deni earns money weaving textiles as her mother taught her. For years, she had successfully sold shawls and blankets to family or friends. But, many other women in her village also weave, so competition for […]

Lesson Learned: Don’t Take Water for Granted!

CWS Indonesia |

Like many people in the world, Diana used to take water for granted. Now, after the complex natural disaster changed her life last year, she understands how valuable and rare safe water can be. Diana lived in a coastal village near Palu in Central Sulawesi. But when an earthquake and resulting tsunami washed her home […]

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