Myanmar village protects access to clean water during floods

  • By Bhushan Shrestha, Myo Set Nyein Chan and Aung Nyein Lin, BRACED Myanmar
  • 07/02/2016

A view of the water pond at Myanmar's Zeyar Thiri village after upgrades. Photo: Jeremy Stone, BRACED Myanmar Alliance Coordinator

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Daw  Mi  Naw,  a  mother  of  five  children  from  Zeyar  Thiri  village, in  Mawlamyine  Township  in southeastern  Myanmar,  is happy to now have access to clean drinking water even in flood periods, thanks to a newly renovated, flood-proofed water pond at the center of her ward.

About 300  households now  have  enough  cleaner  water  for  drinking  and  household  use throughout  the  year - even  during  severe  floods  -  after  World  Vision,  through  the BRACED  programme, supported construction of protection for the pond. Zeyar Thiri village is located at the bank of the Ataran River, which is highly vulnerable to severe summer floods when the river overflows. 

Villagers used to face severe water  shortages  for  drinking  and  household  use  during  floods, when crucial  water  sources were contaminated with dirty water and debris from the floods.

Over the past year, since the pond was renovated, Naw and other village women said significantly  fewer children in the village have suffered diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses. Formerly, some households in  the  village  used to spend up  to  9,000  Burmese kyats per month (around $7) for clean drinking water during the six-month monsoon season each year. The pond imporvements are expected to significantly reduce those costs on drinking water during the next flood period.

Improvements   to   the   footpath   around   the   water   pond   and   widening   of the water pond's side embankment also has improved safety for children, elderly people and those living with disabilities, who can now more safely fetch water when other household members are busy earning income or working on their farms.

Villagers  acknowledge  that  these  achievements  have been made through the collective  efforts  of  village people themselves, local government institutions and the BRACED project, working in  partnership  to improve resilience to climate shocks and stresses.

World  Vision  helped community  members  and  local  government  institutions  use the step-by-step guidance on understanding shocks and stresses, vulnerabilities and prioritization tools that are provided in the BRACED Myanmar Alliance Community Resilience Assessment and Action Handbook developed by the BRACED Alliance Coordination Unit. The adopted community resilience building approach includes:

Step 1: Community sensitization and mobilization
Step 2: Collect information about your community
Step 3: Analyze the information and data
Step 4: Identify activities that will strengthen the resilience of the community
Step 5: Priorise activities
Step 6: Develop a community action plan
Step 7: Implement the resilience action plan
Step 8: Monitor and review the plan

The community prioritization of activities resulted in identification of the renovation of the water pond as a key resilience solution.

The information supplied by Zeyar Thiri Villagers and the partner community-based organization showed that  the BRACED  work ensured  access  to  clean  water  to  300  household  year round, even during severe flooding, for a per household cost of around $7.

In  addition  to  pond  renovation,  the  community  identified  further  resilience  strengthening  solutions.

BRACED, thorough World Vision, has supported Zeyar Thiri Villagers to improve their knowledge and skills, helped them build a community flood drainage system and footpaths, and provided boats to help them cope during floods and heavy rains.

The project  has  additionally  coordinated  with   the   Relief   and  Resettlement  Department   of  the   local government   to provide   an   excavator   for   15   working   days   to   complete   major   earthworks for the drainage system and footpaths, with community members contributing voluntary labour and BRACED providing technical advice and construction materials.

U  Thaung  Shwe,  director of the Relief  and  Resettlement  Department  of  the  Mon  state  government said he acknowledges the impact of BRACED assistances at Zeyar Thiri village to build people’s resilience to cope  with  floods  and  heavy  rains.

Shwe  said he reiterates  his  commitment  to extend  the partnership  with BRACED to plan and implement climate and disaster mitigation activities on a cost-sharing basis.

Zar  Chie  Tun,  the monitoring and evaluation officer for World Vision's BRACED project, said good engagement  of community  members  including  women,  children  and  the most  vulnerable  people  in  assessinng, carrying out and monitoring the project has the sense of ownership   and the sustainability of the assistance provided.

U Tint Wai, chairman of the BRACED partner community-based organization at Zeyar Thiri Village said he was happy with the change.

"Our  villagers  now  have  access  to  clean  water  in  all  12 months, even during severe floods," he said.

Detailed guidance for undertaking community resilience assessments can be found in the full  BRACED Myanmar Alliance Community Resilience Assessment and Action Handbook.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Braced or its partners.

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