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Habitat for Humanity Myanmar

Contact information

HFH Myanmar
38, Q House 8th Fl, Convent Rd Silom C/o HFH Asia
Bangkok
10500
Thailand
Fax: +66 02632044
Phone: 26320415

Web site

Country Profile

Habitat for Humanity’s involvement in Myanmar arose after Cyclone Nargis struck on 2nd May 2008. Some 145,000 people were reported to have perished and more than 50,000 others were listed as missing in one of the worst storms in decades to affect the country. Damage was estimated at US$10 billion. In July 2008, interna-tional non-government organization World Concern started an integrated multi-sector disaster recovery program in 30 villages in Labutta township, in the devastated Ayeyarwaddy delta, 200 km. southwest of the former capital Yangon. Habitat for Humanity became one of World Concern’s partners in a phased program to facilitate early recovery and restore access to food, water, shelter, income and healthcare.

Housing needs in Myanmar

Myanmar is among the poorest countries in Asia with one in four people living below the national poverty line. Most of the poor live in rural areas which also tend to be affected by civil conflict or natural disasters such as forest fires, landslides, floods and storm surges. A 2011 joint survey by UNICEF and the Myanmar government in 24 townships showed that more than 60 percent of the population has access to improved water and sanitation facilities. However, just over one in 10 persons handled water safely before drinking while 85 percent of population still defecated in the open.

How Habitat addresses the need in Myanmar

Since January 2014, Habitat for Humanity and its partner World Concern have been working in 11 villages to improve 965 families’ health through water and sanitation facilities such as wells, water points and latrines as well as two rural health centers. Local communities are involved in raising personal hygiene standards and families make decisions to build their own sanitation facilities. In addition, Habitat for Humanity has built a cyclone shelter to reduce the risks from future disasters. The projects are supported by Nissan and Habitat for Humanity Australia.

Improving water and sanitation facilities; disaster-risk reduction

Habitat for Humanity currently works with World Concern in 26 villages in Myanmar through two new projects that began in March 2015. In Mon state, an estimated 6,330 people in 14 villages will benefit from clean water and improved sanitation by June 2016. In the Ayeyarwady delta region, about 5,000 people in 12 villages will gain access to improved sanitation and clean water as well as a cyclone shelter which will double up as a school when there are no disasters. This project will end in December 2015.

Healthier communities

In Mon state and the Ayeyarwady delta region, the lack of clean water drains families’ limited incomes on buying water. Women and children also have to walk longer distances and spend time fetching water from another village. With support from Habitat for Humanity Australia, wells are being

Healthier communities

Habitat for Humanity currently works with World Concern in 26 villages in Myanmar through two new projects that began in March 2015. In Mon state, an estimated 6,330 people in 14 villages will benefit from clean water and improved sanitation by June 2016. In the Ayeyarwady delta region, about 5,000 people in 12 villages will gain access to improved sanitation and clean water as well as a cyclone shelter which will double up as a school when there are no disasters. This project will end in December 2015.

Disaster response

In response to the devastating Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, Habitat and World Concern built and repaired more than 1,700 basic houses in 18 communities in the Ayeyarwady delta. Habitat houses used strengthened timber-frames and were built on lightweight concrete stilts. Walls and floors were made from woven bamboo, and roofs were fitted with galvanized iron sheets. Each house came with a latrine and water catchment system. Habitat also helped to supervise the construction of jetties and the repair of roads through a cash-for-work program funded by World Concern.

Meet a Habitat family

Daw Lae, a housewife, and her husband U San Myint, a laborer, and their three children live in Phar Pain village. Their village is about 64 kilometers from Kyeik Hto town in Mon state. When work is available in the orchards, U San Myint can earn between 2,500 and 3,000 kyats (US$2.50 to $3.00) a day.

Like other villagers, Daw Lae and her family face similar problems with the lack of adequate water supply and the practice of open defecation. She often has to spend the family’s meager income on medicine when her family members come down with diarrhea, skin infections and other waterborne diseases.

Daw Lae is happy with the changes in her family’s life after Habitat for Humanity and World Concern installed water facilities and conducted training. She managed to save money to buy two piglets and chicken, and started to grow vegetables in her home garden. Her children’s health has also improved.

COUNTRY FACTS

Capital: Nay Pyi Taw (administrative capital)

Population: more than 55.7 million (July 2014 est.)

Urbanization: 32.6 percent lives in cities

Life expectancy : 66 years (2014 est.) 

Unemployment rate: 5.2 percent (2013 est.)

Population living below poverty line: 25 percent (2010 est)

Access to Improved Water Sources: 85.7 percent (2012 est.)

Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 77.4 percent (2012 est.) 

Source: World Factbook