Making easy access to safe water

Clean water from a tap set up near her house reduces the hours Daw Kim Ma Di must work to fetch water from a river

Whenever someone hears cuckoo cooing they think of summer right away as it is a common bird song in this season in Myanmar. However, Daw Kim Ma does not like to hear cuckoos cooing as it reminds her of hot weather.

Summer used to be the least favorite period for villagers in Sin Owe Wa situated along the Kaladan River due to water shortages in summers. Villagers fetch water from the Kaladan River for cooking and drinking as there is no other water source close to their village. The Kaladan River is in Western part of Myanmar flowing across Chin and Rakhine States. Although an important water source for the villagers, the water from the Kaladan River has frequently caused diarrhea.

Highlights

  • UNDP’s CDRT project supported 57 villages in Paletwa Township
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene were improved for 2,140 households

The villagers organised a community meeting and proposed that UNDP’s Community Development for Remote Township (CDRT) project support to build a gravity flow water supply system in two villages. “We know there is a water source close to our neighboring village, Vwee Chaung Wa, and we realised that the source can supply adequate water for both villages,” said Daw Kim Ma Di.

Because of lack of funds and technology the Sin Owe Wa villagers could not build the water supply system on their own and hence they requested UNDP to provide money and technology while the community provided labor to build the water supply system. Water taps were also set up in both villages so that households could access potable water.

“Establishing taps in our village has made our lives easier and helped us to devote more for other family activities,” Daw Kim Ma Di said. She said a common fund was also established with contributions from all households in order to maintain the water supply system for a long term.

Availability of clean water is rare in Paletwa Township that is situated in mountainous region of Myanmar. Local people frequently fall sick as water borne diseases are common in such isolated and remote areas. UNDP has been assisting communities to identify safe water sources and supply systems that are suitable to local geographical and climatic conditions. Communities are supported to improve safe drinking water supply such as construction and renovation of gravity flow water supply system, water wells, ponds, rain water collection tanks, compressor tube wells and provision of water filtered pots. The project interventions in water, sanitation and hygiene area have also initiated a positive behavioral change among villagers.

The UNDP’s CDRT project so far has supported 57 of 372 villages in Paletwa Township to improve water, sanitation and hygiene situation benefitting 2,140 households or 10,471 population in these villages. Additionally, 79 villages in five townships from Northern Chin State (Tonzang, Tiddim, Falam, Htantlan and Hakha) are being supported to construct gravity flow water supply system and wells.

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