Stories of Change

Elementary school students in Yae Li Gyi with their new water system.

It takes a village!

Our team in Myanmar first got to know the people of tiny Yae Le Gyi village in 2015 when we partnered with community leaders and others to respond to severe flooding in the Ayerwaddy River delta region. Since then, all 250 families have joined with CWS staff and each other to recover and rebuild … gradually.

To start,  in 2016, disaster risk reduction work began, so the inevitable next floods’ effects might be mitigated if not stopped altogether. Also, eight hand pumps were added to improve existing wells around the village, and not too long after those changes for the better, the volunteer WASH Committee members worked with our WASH engineer to plan for a new well with a high platform, hand-pump and water storage tank for the elementary school. Now about 70 early grades students, and their teachers, have nearby access to safe drinking water, and they don’t need to carry water from home each day.

A key part of Yae Le Gyi’s step by step success has been the engagement of community volunteers, especially the WASH Committee, whose members have taken the time to learn about improving their water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and, importantly, about getting community buy-in to invest in its long-term maintenance. Also “in the mix” for Yae Le Gyi’s mothers and young children: nutrition education and support for improved caring and feeding for under-fives with more diverse and healthy diets alongside good WASH practices.

As we look back at how far we’ve traveled with the 250 families of Yae Le Gyi, we are inspired by them as we look forward to the next stage of our shared journey toward more resilience against perennial floods and other integrated community development progress for all.