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