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Myanmar: Communities participate in the flood recovery

A series of heavy rainstorms that hit Myanmar last July caused severe flooding nationwide in the country, to which Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) responded with emergency relief. Once the water had receded, PWJ began early recovery activities in Ayeyarwady Region in August and in Magway Region in September. The following is the latest report from Magway Region in central Myanmar, where PWJ, in collaboration with HelpAge International (an international NGO operating in Myanmar), has been supporting 20 flood-affected communities in Pwintbyu Township in their efforts to recover from the damages caused by the disaster.

Village Disaster Response Committees

PWJ’s project in Pwintbyu focuses on rehabilitation of inundated farmland (land preparation and seeds/fertilizer assistance) and improvement of sanitation and hygiene for communities (construction of latrines and distribution of hygiene kits). In implementing these activities, community participation is essential as the affected individuals themselves understand their situation and needs better than anyone else. In order to encourage their involvement in the project, meetings were held in each target village, where the planned project outline including objectives, modality, and expected outcomes were explained. A village disaster response committee (VDRC) comprising some 12 members from local residents was then formed in each village. Working together with the project staff, VDRCs assess and confirm the needs, identify beneficiaries, manage and monitor the project process, and coordinate with beneficiaries to ensure smooth project implementation. It is anticipated that this experience of participation and self-management through the VDRC mechanism will empower the villages and make them better prepared and resilient against future disasters.

写真1 委員会メンバー決め

VCRC member selection in Pan Tone Lay village

写真2 メンバー決まり承認

VDRC member selection in Nan Gat village

Training Village Volunteers

In addition to forming a VDRC, each village selected one volunteer, who supports project proceedings in his/her village. This volunteer works under the direction of the VDRC and monitors the activity sites on a daily basis, serving as a liaison with beneficiaries and reporting to the VDRC on the project progress. In October, 20 volunteers from all 20 target villages participated in a workshop, where guidance was given on their role and responsibilities, and lectures on community facilitation and hygiene promotion were provided. After this training, the VDRCs and village volunteers worked together to come up with detailed plans of beneficiary selection for the farmland rehabilitation and latrine construction as well as the hygiene kits. With the approval of these plans by the village residents, the procurement of assistance goods and materials are now underway, and their delivery is to start soon.

写真3 ボランティア研修会

Village volunteer workshop

写真4 支援世帯発表

Village volunteer announces beneficiaries for the farmland rehabilitation in Kyit Kine village

Safety and security concerns

Despite the official announcement by the meteorological authorities that the rainy season was over at the end of September, Magway Region received unexpected heavy rain early in October. Fortunately, PWJ’s project areas did not suffer from additional flooding, but the road access to some of the villages became difficult due to the mud, landslide, fallen trees, etc., hindering the project progress. At the national level, the first free general election in more than half a century took place on November 8. Throughout the election period (including before, during and after) the country remained vigilant and on alert, observing the high-profile and unpredictable political event. The project staff took the utmost care to avoid exposure to any security risks during this time.

写真5 立ち往生

The project vehicle stuck in muddy road on the way from the project site

写真6 土砂崩れ

Mudslide closed the road to the project site

This project is implemented with the support of Japan Platform.

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