Habitat for Humanity Myanmar
Habitat's work in Myanmar
Myanmar News and Stories
Habitat for Humanity in Myanmar
Habitat for Humanity’s involvement in Myanmar
arose after the devastating Cyclone Nargis struck
on May 2, 2008. Together with its partner World
Concern, Habitat for Humanity built and repaired
more than 1,700 core houses in the worst-hit
Ayeyarwady delta as part of World Concern’s
integrated multi-sector disaster recovery program.
In January 2014, Habitat for Humanity began
projects in water and sanitation with disaster risk reduction with World Concern, a global relief and development agency, as its implementing partner.
In September 2014, Habitat for Humanity received government registration allowing it to directly
implement programs in Myanmar.
The housing need 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.
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 installed and water filtration systems distributed to families in Mon state. Through training, communities are educated on the importance of safe sanitation and inspired to build their own toilets. In the delta region, funding from Nissan has enabled families to improve their health through water and sanitation facilities as well as the construction of a cyclone shelter to protect lives in future disasters.
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 cashfor-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.
Population: 54,584,650 (July 2012 est.)
Capital: Nay Pyi Daw
Area: 676,578 sq km
Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Literacy: 89.9% (2006)
Urbanization: 34% (2010)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 71% (2010)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 81% (2010)
Sources: CIA World Factbook, World Bank