CWS Asia


Biosand water filter in Yae Le Gyi School in Maubin Township in southwest Myanmar. Photo: CWS

Feeding time. Photo: CWS

Overview |

During the 1960s CWS was in Myanmar (Burma) through the Burma Council of Churches and the YMCA. Our work expanded in 2008, after Cyclone Nargis devastated much of the country. Today CWS initiatives, funded by our members, CROP Hunger Walks and individual donors, support integrated community development with special focus on preparedness for and resilience to perennial disasters, especially floods, in the Irrawaddy River delta region. We also partner with community-based groups, including local YMCA chapters, to help families improve their livelihoods and food security. Livelihoods support, usually for improved home gardening and poultry raising, helps families improve their diets and earn money selling eggs and surplus vegetables.

Partnerships with families and communities also focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in challenging environments. CWS helps communities increase their safe water access with new and restored wells. CWS also supports families to build sanitary latrines at home, and this relates to another part of our work with families. Through education from Mother-Leader volunteers, mothers and other caregivers better understand young children’s nutritional needs, and how to ensure a balance diet for them. In addition, the volunteers lead conversations about ways to promote their overall health and wellbeing. Simple things, like keeping a clean kitchen and a sanitary latrine, are key topics. Another part of CWS WASH work is with principals and teachers to bring safe water and sanitary latrines to schools.

Finally, with local government and community leaders, team members work to help communities address natural disaster risks related to flooding, mainly, and to changing weather patterns. Focus in on risk reduction and mitigation as well as preparedness to respond when needed. In an ongoing initiative with the Global Network for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), CWS is also organizing grassroots advocacy from villages to the national government to ensure that people’s experiences of risk and harm are considered when national policies and plans are made.

Latest News

Planning + a Small Loan + Patience = a Difference!

CWS Myanmar | June 17, 2019

In 2017, Ma Ei Chaw and her day laborer husband took a 130,000 Kyat loan from a CWS-initiated community development fund. Their goal was to improve their two young sons’ nutrition, which has assessed to be quite poor. Surprised by this, Ma Ei Chaw was determined to change things – and she did! First, the […]

Facing Poor Sanitation in Their Flood Prone Village Yields Benefits for U Shwe and His Family

CWS Myanmar | June 16, 2019

Farmer U Hla Shwe lives in Yae Le Gyi village with his daughters, and he happily tends his three-acre farm of corn and other vegetables. As subsistence farmers, Ko Shwe’s family has food and goods for basic daily living. But the family diet is not diverse and rich, which the reason CWS first met Ko […]

Doing Well by Doing Good: A Mason’s Story

CWS Myanmar | May 26, 2019

U Aung Kyaw Moe lives in Yae Le Gyi village, which is in southwest Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River delta. Like many poor Myanmar citizens, U Moe works several jobs to make ends meets. Sometimes he works as a mason and a carpenter; other times he is a hairdresser! He supports his family of four on an […]

Ma Zaw Works to Improve Her Family’s Wellbeing One Step at a Time

CWS Myanmar | April 2, 2019

“My name is Ei Moor Zaw. I am 24 years old and I live in Sit Kone village, which is a few hours’ drive west of our commercial and historical capital, Yangon. My husband, Pyone Min Paing, and I have a 4-year-old son, Mg Hla Yaung Lin. We own and work 1.5 acres of corn […]

CWS Support for Proper Sanitation in Challenging Environment Is Paying Off in Maubin, Myanmar

CWS Myanmar | March 28, 2019

Following months of especially severe flooding in late 2015, CWS has supported 15 Ayeyawaddy River delta communities to keep making changes, slowly but surely, to build their resilience and continue their development, despite their perennial vulnerability. During the past three years, there has been progress; there have been setbacks, and there has been hope. One […]

Alternative Idea for Raising Awareness About Reducing Disaster Risks

CWS Myanmar | March 6, 2019

In working in hard-to-reach areas of Myanmar’s Ayeyawaddy River delta region, where many disaster risks from seasonal flooding, riverbank erosion and cyclones affect many vulnerable families, CWS works to help these families, their community leaders and the local government, building both resilience and response capacity. In the past year, in the face of continuing out-migration […]

At the End of the Day: Reflecting on Disciples of Christ and CWS Leaders’ Visit Myanmar

CWS Myanmar | January 21, 2019

By U Aye Lwin. My name is U Aye Lwin, and I am the village chief of Koe Ein Tan West, which is in the Ayeyawaddy River delta in southwest Myanmar. For more than two years, I have worked with Church World Service team members on several activities to help our village improve itself, and […]

CWS Is a Proud and Active Member of Myanmar’s Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance

CWS Myanmar | January 20, 2019

The Alliance, which is best known by its acronym, SUN network, aims to catalyze and sustain public, political and financial commitment and action to address undernutrition in Myanmar. Since its launch in February 2015, SUN CSA Myanmar has grown to be an alliance of 60 civil society organizations, including 42 local organization, working in 13 […]

“Now I will use what I have learned … to help my village”

CWS Myanmar | December 27, 2018

In partnership with Lutheran World Federation colleagues, CWS team members recently organized two rounds of a 3-day Leadership and Management Training Workshop for members of newly formed Village Development Committees in Maubin Township, where the heart of CWS work in Myanmar is. To start, 18 men and 12 women from Inn Ma Su, Yae Le […]

“Our community will be more resilient now!”

CWS Myanmar | December 25, 2018

A key part of success and sustainability for the disaster risk reduction activities that comprise our Integrated Resilience and Development in Myanmar, are the Community Volunteers who join the Training of Trainers, so they use their new knowledge, awareness and skill to help their neighbors and village leaders undertake all key aspects of community-based self-help […]

CWS Asia learning exchange: spotlight on Myanmar

Ek Sothea - CWS Cambodia | December 14, 2018

This blog is the second 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 Myanmar. It’s important to know that the acronym WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. In talking with my colleagues from around southeast Asia at […]

Challenges and Rewards in Helping Myanmar Communities Build Resilience

CWS Myanmar | November 28, 2018

In a part of Myanmar that is especially susceptible to natural disaster, primarily related to yearly monsoon rains and flooding, CWS has led Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) activities for several years with a focus on two townships initially, and now just one: Maubin Township in the Ayeyarwaddy region. In the past two years CWS […]

Once Again: It Takes a Village!

CWS Myanmar | November 27, 2018

CWS first got to know the people of tiny Yae Le Gyi village in 2015 when our Myanmar team partnered with community leaders and other to respond to severe flooding in the Ayerwaddy River delta region; and, since then all 250 families have joined with CWS staff and each other to recover and rebuild … […]

“I want to my daughters grow up healthy and happy”

CWS Myanmar | October 23, 2018

Than Than Si is 33 and married to Myint Lwin, who is 40. They have two daughters: Chit Thet Wai is age 7 and studying in Grade 1 and Chit Phu Wai is a 4-year-old toddler who stays at home with her mother. The family lives in a village where CWS works with poor and […]

New Mother-Leaders Organize Cooking Demonstrations to Share a Healthy New Soup Recipe

CWS Myanmar | October 22, 2018

In Koe Ein Tan (West) village of southwest Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy region, 16 children under the age of five were assessed as malnourished during a CWS-led nutrition survey in early 2017. To address this fact, which exists in other nearby village and other parts of the country as well, the children and their mothers joined nutrition […]

Villagers in Ayerwaddy Delta Are Their Own Strongest Asset

Yukiko Maki - CWS Japan | September 20, 2018

With the thatched-roof houses built on stilts over often-flooded land, small shops lining the river embankment and pigs lying around in household gardens, the villages in Ayerwaddy River delta seemed unreal – like a fairy tale, but not an always lovely one – to me. Though I have lived and worked in many rural villages […]

Gaining Important Practical Knowledge for Life Is Its Own Reward

CWS Myanmar |

Thin Thin Soe, who is 24, lives with her family in Sit Kone village in the Ayerwaddy River delta region of southwest Myanmar. She finished Grade 8 at her village school and then decided to leave school to help her family grow winter crops. Because CWS has been working with many of her family’s neighbors […]

“I Am So Proud of All I Have Learned!”

CWS Myanmar | September 19, 2018

Khin Myo Thant is 33 and married to U Aung Ko, who is 35; they live with their only son, Hein Aung Soe who is 3 and a half in They Sin Ku Taung village in the Ayerwaddy River delta region of southwest Myanmar. Khin Myo spends most of her time taking care of Hein […]

One Successful Endeavor Leads to Another and Another for One Myanmar Mother

CWS Myanmar | August 21, 2018

Ma Than Dar is a 29-year-old mother with one daughter and, besides her full-time job being a mother and house keeper, she used to work as a day laborer outside her home village, Yae Le Gyi, in southwestern Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy region. U Thet Naing, her 35-year-old husband works as fisherman and, in the past, they […]

We Are Grateful to CWS, Not Only for Material Aid, But Also for the Chance to Gain Knowledge

CWS Myanmar | July 23, 2018

Thin Thin Khaing, is a 27-year-old mother whose small family benefits from her participation in CWS-led nutrition education activities. She and her husband, Kan Tun, have a 4-year-old daughter named May Phu Khaing, and they have lived in Let Pan Tan village for many years. As poor farmers they earn about 40,000 Kyat ($29) monthly […]

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