PRESS RELEASE: Community water projects benefit 4,000 in Ayeyarwady Region

July 2019, Ayeyarwady Region– Some 4,000 people from five rural villages in Myaungmya District in the Ayeyarwady Region will have improved water supply following their participation in the Lien AID Community Water Management programme.

Non-profit organisation Lien AID, in partnership with the Department of Rural Development (DRD), local civil society organisation Karunashin, and water management committees from participating villages, have completed water projects in the villages of Dagon May, Dar Mya Chaung, Gyaung Shae, Me Kyaw, and Nyaung Chaung Lay. These projects have been generously co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.

Village leaders and representatives from each of the five villages took ownership of the established community water services at a handover ceremony today at the Fuji 2 Hall in Myaungmya township. Singapore’s Ambassador to The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Vanessa Chan; Chairman of Lien AID, Laurence Lien; Myaungmya Township Members of Parliament; the Myaungmya DRD; Chief Officers from Myaungmya Township Departments; Village Tract Administrators; and many Doh Yay heroes, attended the event.

The Chief Officer of Myaungmya Township DRD, U Nay Lin Soe shared, “The success of this project, which has been hugely beneficial to the rural communities, is due to the enthusiastic collaboration of all related stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities. I believe this kind of collaboration lays the ground for similarly successful future projects.”

The type of improved water infrastructure constructed in each village varied based on proposals from the water management committees. In Dagon May, an old village pond damaged by Cyclone Nargis was rehabilitated, while new rainwater harvesting ponds were built in Dar Mya Chaung, Gyaung Shae and Mae Kyaw. The ponds are equipped with perimeter fencing and hand pumps to protect the water from contamination and overuse. In Nyaung Chaung Lay, a new 10,000-gallon rainwater harvesting and storage tank was built to complement existing water resources.

880 students and from 3 village schools in Dagon May, Me Kyaw, and Nyaung Chaung Lay, will also benefit from clean water and sanitation through improved water supply, latrines, and handwashing facilities in the schools. Workshops that were conducted for the village representatives and water management committee members will enable them to manage, operate, and maintain the village infrastructure to deliver sustainable water and sanitation services for their communities.

In late 2017 Lien AID launched the Community Water Management programme to empower local actors in the Ayeyarwady to implement clean water projects and manage water resources in their communities. The programme establishes an inclusive, ground-up approach to the planning and delivery of rural water services in Myanmar.

When completed in early 2020, it is expected the Community Water Management programme will reach more than 25,000 people across 35 villages with improved supplies of clean water; and over 2,000 students from 20 village schools with improved latrines, handwashing facilities, and water supply within their schools.

Speaking at the handover, Lien AID’s Chairman, Laurence Lien said, “Clean water and sanitation is essential for basic living.  It is especially important for the healthy development of a child.  Lien AID is honoured to have played a role in bringing water solutions in Myaungmya. We are heartened to see strong collaboration between township governments and villages in establishing sustainable clean water and sanitation services for at-risk communities. Our presence here reflects our commitment to engaging and empowering local actors in Myanmar to improve the health and well-being of children and communities through universal access to safe water and sanitation.”

Apart from the Community Water Management programme, Lien AID is also working on new initiatives to strengthen local water and sanitation systems in Myanmar. In Myaungmya last month, with the support of the Chief Administrator of the Township General Administration Department and the Chief Officer of the Township Department of Rural Development, Lien AID convened a township working group with representatives from across key Township Departments. Members of the working group will collaborate to improve water supply for households, in line with Myanmar’s National Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Strategy.

Across the Ayeyarwady Region, Lien AID will support partner townships in finding cost-effective solutions for sustaining and scaling water and sanitation services, and safe hygiene behaviour, to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged and at-risk communities.

Thingyan momentum puts greater focus on Myanmar’s water needs

This Water Festival, amid splashy fun and communal gatherings, Myanmar will welcome not only the Myanmar New Year, but also the beginning of the UN International Decade (2018-2028) for Action – Water for Sustainable Development.

According to UN projections, by 2025, half of the countries across the world will face water stress or outright shortages. By 2050, as many as three out of four people could be affected by water scarcity[1]. The new Decade, in continuation of the ‘Water for Life’ Decade (2005-2015), will focus on sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives[2].

Resolving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenges in Myanmar, as well as other Asian countries where rural communities are suffering from a lack of access to clean water, is key for Lien AID, whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of last-mile communities in Asia by enabling sustainable access to clean water and sanitation.

Just last week, Lien AID concluded a month-long experiential public exhibition in Singapore titled Windows of Hope. Held in three public locations from March 20 to April 8, the exhibition allowed the public a unique chance to journey into rural Myanmar and Cambodia through virtual reality (VR) technology and physical installations, and see for themselves the region’s water challenges and what is being done to resolve them. The exhibition will continue to be open to companies who wish to host it in their premises.

A participant viewing the virtual reality video during the exhibition at 313@Somerset

Mr. Koh Lian Hock, CEO of Lien AID said: “Through the immersive 360° VR experience in Windows of Hope, we hope that more people will gain a better understanding of the impact of water challenges in our neighbouring countries. It takes collective effort across sectors – from governments to corporations, individuals, non-profits and academia – to solve the problem of sustaining access to clean water for the rural communities.”

In 2016, Lien AID launched a pilot clean water project in Tetma village, Mandalay, which consisted of a gravity-fed piped water system that distributes water from an existing tube well to shared water points in the village. Last year, Lien AID launched another pilot initiative in five villages across three townships in the Ayeyarwady region, enabling an estimated 3,866 villagers to gain improved access to clean water. In addition, the communities were also engaged through workshops on basic rural water management and hygiene, in an effort to raise their capacity and improve the sustainability of the project.

This year, Lien AID will continue to partner with local governments, civil society organisations and communities in Myanmar to improve overall WASH standards in the villages, as well as work on fostering institutional collaborations amongst government and non-government partners to meet the national 2030 WASH goals.

“The challenge often lies in understanding how to adapt solutions for specific locations, socio-political contexts and WASH issues, and ensuring sustainable outcomes. One key success we have achieved in Myanmar would be the strong working relationships that we have forged with our local partners, such as the Department of Rural Development, local civil society organisations and community leaders. These partnerships have enabled us to co-create solutions to enable access to clean water and sanitation for last-mile communities,” added Mr. Koh.

Lien AID first launched Windows of Hope last year, bringing it to various organisations in Singapore – AECOM, Allen & Gledhill, Arup, Asia-Europe Foundation, Credit Suisse, Ernst & Young and Expedia. More information on Windows of Hope can be found at

A version of this press release was published in Myanmar Business Today.