CWS Asia


Indonesia

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

Women in Central Sulawesi Keep Organizing as Change Agents for Improved Hygiene

CWS Indonesia | April 8, 2019

Six months after the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu, thousands of people, like 42-year-old Juarni, continue working day in and day out to cope with displacement. When the late September 2018 disaster hit, Juarni was an active health post worker who loved her job. After the crisis’ early days, and as life settled […]

A Savings and Loan Group Leader Takes Pride in the Group’s Success

CWS Indonesia | March 29, 2019

Bilau is like many rural communities in West Timor. Here, families have simple lives. They make do by farming, for subsistence and income, as their families have done for generations. They do so even though their land is arid and there is no reliable water supply. This makes growing enough extra vegetables to sell for […]

Laila’s Journey Toward Freedom Continues

CWS Indonesia |

Laila (not her real name) is an 18-year-old girl who lives in a CWS-sponsored group home in Jakarta, Indonesia. In early December, Laila joined the 16 Days of Activism international campaign against gender-based violence by drawing pictures and writing poems to raise her voice against such violence. Since the end of the official 2018 campaign, […]

Using Local Resources to Improve Livelihoods and Build Resilience and Diversification

CWS Indonesia | March 28, 2019

Buttu Tasik, his wife and four children live in a village in South Sulawesi. They, like many rural Indonesian families, raise pigs for income while continuing to learn how to adapt their farming for climate change. “Changes in the weather here are quite extreme and we have not yet been able to [fully cope] with […]

Learning what “water is life” REALLY means in Central Sulawesi

Josephine Oguta | March 22, 2019

“Water is life.” It’s a common saying in the humanitarian community, and you’ve probably heard it before. I certainly have. But even after a long career in community development and emergency response organizations, I didn’t really understand what it meant. Not until I visited Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, earlier this month. Central Sulawesi was hit by […]

From Fritters to Financial Freedom

CWS Indonesia | March 7, 2019

Thirty-five-year-old Yuniarti A. Nabuasa – Ani, for short – is a community health volunteer, farmer and entrepreneur in Oebaki, where she lives with her husband and three children. A number of years ago, Ani started selling pisang goreng, which is a popular Indonesia snack similar to American banana fritters. In fact, these fritters are so […]

Women Leaders Extend CWS Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Response Impact

CWS Indonesia | March 6, 2019

A look into the lives of those affected by the 7.4 M earthquake in Palu, Indonesia shows glimpses of grief, to be sure; but there are also snapshots of resilience, too. Among the central Sulawesi earthquake survivors, particularly women and girls, most have increased responsibilities and more hard work than before to ensure their families […]

The Resilience of Suriati Roro

CWS Indonesia |

In villages throughout rural Indonesia, starting and maintain a family business, even if it’s a small or micro one, is a challenge. One reason for this is that loans for start-up or expansion, come at quite a hefty cost. In talking to CWS staff about her benefits from joining neighbors and friends in the DREAM […]

Living the Dream

CWS Indonesia | January 21, 2019

Mawar savings and loan group formed as part of DREAM, which is a community development program led by CWS with funding from the Australian government though our partner, Act for Peace. The core focus in DREAM is disaster resilience, and one proven key to disaster resilience is economic security and resilience. So, the women who […]

Farmers Group Grows with Gusto – and Gusti!

CWS Indonesia | January 20, 2019

With 33-year-old farmer Gusti Koa as its new leader, Fetomone farmers group in Fatutnana, West Timor, is growing and changing. Gusti and his wife are farmers in area near Fatutnana, and the group he now leads was formed by 11 farmers in their hamlet in February 2016. At that time, there was support from government […]

Improved Sanitation and Hygiene Supports Women’s Safety and Security in Central Sulawesi

CWS Indonesia |

“Before latrines were in the camp, we defecated in the river; and, often, we [women] had to wait because there were always men in the river, so felt insecure and uncomfortable.” This statement from Sanuba, who moved to an evacuation camp in Donggala after the September 2018 earthquake that centered on Palu, could have been […]

Now, I Am Making Up for Lost Time

CWS Indonesia | January 19, 2019

Taman was born to a poor family in Afghanistan, which didn’t have money to send her to school. So, she took matters into her own hands to be educated. “I was always working odd jobs and learning and trying different things so I could earn extra money to pay for my education,” Taman told one […]

Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Response Update

CWS Indonesia | January 15, 2019

CWS distributed collapsible jerry cans from UNHCR to 4,373 households in Sigi and Donggala districts and has constructed twelve four-stall public latrines in seven camps in Sigi district, plus an additional four in Donggala district. Nine more latrines are under construction…..

Climate Change Is Real: CWS and Partners Help Indonesia Farmers Understand and Adapt to the Change

CWS Indonesia | December 27, 2018

“The weather is unpredictable now,” says Buttutasik, a fiftysomething farmer in Bau village in South Sulawesi, who is chairman of the Harapan Lembang Bau farmer’s group. “This leaves us feeling confused: some of us continue planting our seeds, knowing we are risking crop failure from weather change and pestilence; others of us are reluctant to […]

It’s Never Too Little; and It’s Never Too Late … for Hope

CWS Indonesia | December 26, 2018

Yohanis Tefu, who is 29, lives in a tiny hamlet in West Timor with his 73-year-old adoptive mother, Silpa Sopaba, and his three other siblings. Silpa is actually the siblings’ aunt, and she has been caring for her sister’s children since her sister died, along with the children’s father. When Yohanis was young he developed […]

A Young Somali Asylum Seeker Reshapes and Revives His Dream

CWS Indonesia | December 25, 2018

From an early age Abdi dreamed about going to university. Born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia, Abdi’s dreams were shattered when he was in 8th grade when civil unrest, insecurity and government disarray cause the education system to collapse, which meant that Abdi’s education ended when he was only 14. The collapse of Somalia’s schools […]

“The ground opened up and turned liquid”

CWS Indonesia | December 24, 2018

“The mud flowed and destroyed our house and dragged it and other houses, or what was left of them, away.” Henny Putong, who is 43, vividly recalls the moment on September 28th when her life and that of her neighbors turned upside down and their village, Jono Oge, disappeared. NOTE: What happened geologically when the […]

Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Response Update

CWS Indonesia | December 14, 2018

CWS distributed collapsible jerry cans from UNHCR to 2,760 households in Sigi and Donggala districts. CWS received an additional 1,500 collapsible jerry cans from UNHCR to share with affected families, ……

CWS Asia learning exchange: spotlight on Indonesia and Timor-Leste

Ek Sothea - CWS Cambodia |

This blog is the last in a four-part series focusing on CWS water, sanitation and hygiene programs in each of four Asian countries where we work. This one focuses on Indonesia and Timor-Leste. It’s important to know that the acronym WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Access to safe water is a rising concern […]

Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami Response Update

CWS Indonesia | December 4, 2018

CWS continues supporting and augmenting Government response to the late September earthquake and tsunami by distributing 3,000 collapsible jerry cans, 2,750 mosquito nets, 6,000 mats and 4,000 solar lamps from UNHCR to affected families……

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