Steven & Erin Anderson Q3/Q4 Myanmar Report
W|W Myanmar Program Report
A Journey Back Home
February 2019 - June 2019
Nobel Htoo, Project Manager for W|W Myanmar, began our work in Myanmar the summer of 2018 when she distributed 23 filters in Gone Nyin Tan and 25 filters in Ka Det Chaung. In that first trip, she was able to support 250 students and 342 community members with clean water. The relationships with both communities started because of our relationship with Nobel-- she is the reason we have the foundation for a program in Myanmar today.
Nobel was born in Gone Nyin Tan but sought refuge in Thailand for the majority of her childhood during the political violence in the early 2000s. After immigrating to the U.S. at eighteen, she was a student at Hartwick College in New York where she first met Doc Hendley.
Nobel has spent years developing her relationship with W|W. She told the W|W team that so many of her people never returned home once they left, but she felt differently. She felt called to go back to Myanmar where her people needed her. Nobel’s passion and desire to work for her community sparked the birth of W|W’s program in Myanmar. She had her first scouting trip with W|W in 2018. She is now finishing her time in Ka Det Chaung where she has been serving her community since February 2019.
Wine To Water’s program in Myanmar is focused in the communities of Ka Det Chaung and Gone Nyin Tan, located in the Irrawaddy Delta region. Since February, Nobel Htoo has been able to distribute 168 more Sawyer filters in both communities and expand filter distributions to a third community called Taung Ka Lay. The impact of the filters distributed has helped 1,456 people in these three communities.
The immediate need for clean water was met through Sawyer filtration. While the communities may still be getting their water from contaminated sources, they are now equipped with filters and have a clean drink at their homes. Moreso, each person who received a filter was also attended a WASH education training focused on water contamination and proper storage and maintenance of the filter. Community members were trained on how water is contaminated, how to store it properly, and how to maintain the filter for years to come. In addition, Nobel led a group of 150 students through a WASH education program.
The community of Ka Det Chaung has not had sustainable access to water for many years. People struggle from lack of clean water, and sanitation. If they are not able to collect enough rainwater to last them through the dry season, they must walk far distances to get water, which can still be highly contaminated. Both communities were in dire need of a proper water source, filtration, and education.
Community Water System
Nobel and the Field Technician, Mr. Nixon have overseen the construction of a new water reservoir in Ka Det Chaung since March. It was completed on May 22nd, a month ahead of schedule. The new reservoir is a combination of two old reservoirs that were combined to now supply water for 131 households and 407 people. It has eight hand pumps that can easily be accessed by the community. They can now collect enough rainwater to support the community throughout the year. With both the reservoir and the filters, the community now has sustainable access to clean water in their homes.
Nobel and Mr. Nixon were able to support Ka Det Chaung form their own Water User Committee. This group is trained by Mr. Nixon to maintain the system and ensure it will last for many years. Mr. Nixon has also been training the Water User Committee on details for taking care of the system after construction is completed. These tasks include assembling the community for work, organizing locations for trainings, and other key activities to ensure the new reservoir and pumps will be taken care of.
The hiring of Mr. Nixon and training of a Water User Committee serves the W|W mission to promote sustainability and community ownership in our global community. We want our work to take on a life of its own after we have left communities like these in Myanmar, so clean water will flow long after project completion.
Nobel has truly impacted her community through the power of clean water. She not only served in her own local community, but she expanded her impact outwards to help get as many people clean water as possible. She even started teaching a local group of kids English in her “free time”. As Nobel recently spoke with the community health worker of Ka Det Chaung, they discussed how usually during this time, there are many sick people due to contaminated water. As water sits at the bottom of shallow reservoirs, heat and contamination severely impact the quality of the water community members are drinking.
This year, however, those cases are much less frequent. The community health worker assumes the filters have played a role in this change. In a recent filter follow-up, community member Naw Moo Moo said, “No more hospitalization due to diarrhea and stomach ache. I used to buy two bottles of water each day and each bottle costs 300 kyat. I do not need to buy water bottle any more. People who did not receive filter also came to my house to get clean drinking water.” Clean water is changing lives in this community. It is a water system built through the support and labor of these people, and they will continue to serve their community through both the maintenance of the system and the generosity of sharing their filters.