Our work in Myanmar revolves around three core areas of intervention, spanning across sector strengthening, providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in communities, and collaborating with sector stakeholders.
Equality and empowerment are critical to the success of our strategy, and cuts across all programmatic interventions. At WaterAid Myanmar, we believe in empowering communities by providing solutions that are durable and sustainable.
Find out more about our programmes and projects below:
In four wards of Shwe Pyi Thar Township of Yangon Region, WaterAid Myanmar is implementing the Healthy Choices project funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security (LIFT) Fund. Together with Save the Children and local partners, WaterAid is addressing long-term impacts on health and nutritional status and wellbeing, such as access to health services and improved WASH for all members of the society.
By the end of 2022, WaterAid Myanmar will have supported these communities with safe water supply systems and supported with mechanisms for environmental sanitation, including solid waste management and drainage. To improve overall hygiene and livelihoods of these communities, WaterAid is also promoting hygiene behaviour change communication, including menstrual hygiene management and awareness raising.
Safe water, improved sanitation and good hygiene for families
The Safe WASH for Families of Migrant Garment Factory Workers project is being funded by Lindex. Project interventions being implemented in Yangon Region focus around increasing access to clean water, improving sanitation – including environmental hygiene and menstrual hygiene management, and improving access to safe WASH for garment factory workers at their workplaces. By empowering women and youth leaders in these communities, we are able to ensure a better quality of life for migrant garment family workers through our gender-sensitive and socially inclusive WASH approach.
Empowering women & improving livelihoods
With the support of Diageo, WaterAid is implementing a women empowerment and livelihood improvement project in three wards of Hlaing Thar Yar Township of Yangon, Myanmar. The interventions provide support to families living in highly congested settings with no supply to clean and safe drinking water in peri-urban Yangon. By capacitating women to establish female-led social enterprises that provide safe drinking water to their communities, we are able to ensure safe drinking water and overall improvement of livelihoods in these communities by 2022.
Community-led integrated WASH
With support from The Charitable Foundation, WaterAid Myanmar is implementing a Community-led Integrated WASH Project (CIWP) in Myaing Township of Magway Region.
The purpose of the project is to improve access to safe drinking water, improved toilets and promote hygiene behaviour change to significantly reduce waterborne diseases in rural communities. To achieve this, the project aims to build new water supply systems with distribution networks, as well as apply water treatment to existing systems.
The project adopts a Township Wide Approach to develop a replicable prototype of integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. The project focuses on community empowerment and community-led action to develop their WASH plans for improved WASH facilities in Myaing Township. In this pilot phase, we aim to reach around 10,500 people in three years.
WASH in healthcare facilities, community-managed schools
Adequate WASH and infection prevention and control (IPC) are essential components of providing quality basic health services, particularly for women around the time of childbirth.
Funded by the Australian Government and the Water for Women Fund, WaterAid worked to strengthen health systems to improve quality maternal healthcare. By combining improvements in WASH and infection prevention and control (IPC) practices at the facility level with strong advocacy and support for strengthening health systems at the national level, the Supporting Safer Births project's aim was for women in Myanmar to have safer, more dignified births.
We focused on people-centered and user-friendly WASH to support equal participation and access to services, as users of healthcare facilities are more likely to be experiencing illness, pain, limited mobility, be heavily pregnant or have just given birth. Together we addressed local conditions to bring system-wide change through scalable and replicable models. We sparked chain-reactions that shift people’s habits and expectations, delivering long-term change in what’s normal in people’s lives.
The project has now transcended into a Humanitarian WASH project with continued support from DFAT and added support from Refinitiv. The project is now designed to support inclusive WASH infrastructure in community-managed schools, promote Covid-19 preventative hygiene behaviours, provide emergency support for drinking water and supply hygiene kits for promotion of hygiene, including menstrual hygiene. All of this will is being delivered with a cross cutting commitment on being gender responsive and socially inclusive so that we do no harm and those who have been marginalised are at the center of the intervention.
Furthermore, a complementary project is being implemented with support from the Wimbledon Foundation to expand the impact of the project in six villages of the rural communities in Ayeyarwady Region, reaching not only schoolchildren, but also the larger communities in which they are located. Through this support, we aim to:
- Improve the current status of water supply sources through source protection, construct the necessary infrastructure and where needed, build reservoirs or rainwater harvesting systems to increase the communities’ resilience against the impact of climate change
- Connect community-managed sources of water supply to households or communal tap through an extensive pipeline system
- Support communities attain safely managed drinking water that is accessible on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination
- Support operation and maintenance of infrastructure and construction where and when needed
WASH and nutrition
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is supporting WaterAid increase resilience among some of the most vulnerable communities of Sittwe Township of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Under this project, we provide assistance to build resilience in vulnerable communities through the establishment of community assets for hygiene in a conflict and COVID-19 setting. This rapid pandemic response, when coupled concurrently with a long-term welfare improvement activity, delivers sustainable and positive impacts that ultimately help build back better. In Rakhine in particular, where high poverty and low welfare impacts the daily lives of people, a well-rounded approach integrating WASH and home gardening will not only enhance nutrition intake and retention, but also empower women in improving their livelihoods. As such, this complementary approach will ultimately support in scaling up nutrition through improved WASH to support communities sustainably in the long-run.
Emergency drinking water and sustainable solutions
UNICEF and WaterAid Myanmar have been implementing a project for the emergency supply of drinking water to poor and marginalized households of Hlaing Thar Yar Township since July 2021 to address the dire needs for supply of safe drinking water, and provided much needed support to alleviate any public health issues that may arise from the consumption of poor quality drinking water, particularly during this time of pandemic and political turmoil. The distribution of safely managed drinking water continues while long-term durable and sustainable solutions are underway.
Rural WASH monitoring & systems development
In order to strengthen the use of existing systems for rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene monitoring under the ongoing ASWA-II Project, WaterAid is supporting UNICEF Myanmar capture real time data to fulfill the project needs of reporting on key WASH indicators using the mWater tool. This approach also aims to identify issues, barriers/challenges, limitations to gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls in communities in Southern Shan and Magway regions.
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