Water Mothers Myanmar Factsheet
- Founded in 2012
- WfWP member since 2014
- Mission: To ensure women can and will take the lead in realizing water security in Myanmar as "water mothers" through a participatory and learning by doing approach
- Focus area: Myanmar
- Level: Basin, local, national
- Main themes: Integrated water resource management, Capacity of people at different levels, Good water governance
A good example of Water Mothers' work took place in the Thar Paung village, situated along the bank of Ayeyarwady River in Ayeyarwady Division. In Thar-Paung many groundwater boreholes are contaminated with arsenic and UNICEF told the villagers to stop drinkin water from boreholes and digging new wells. Those warnings, information dissemination and suggestions were not taken seriously by the villagers, mainly due to the lack of alternative sources of water.
Water Mothers visited Thar-Paung, discussed the issue with all stakeholders and encouraged the women of the village to look for alternative water resources. This is a new approach in Myanmar, to involving women to develop possible water resources within the vicinity of their village.
The women found one drinking water tank which got flooded with salt sea water during the annual monsoon. They asked WMM to help raise the bank to store rainwater and prevent salt-water flooding. Another water source was a dried out creek directly linked to the nearby Pan Hlaing River. They asked Water Mother to help restore the creek with fresh river water. The village women agreed to also develop their own water resources and sustainable stewardship.
Water Mothers then went to see the Government of Ayeyarwady Division and explained and advocated the cause of the women of Thar-Paung village. The Ethnic Affairs Minister agreed that if the women of Thar-Paung village are willing to initiate the project and volunteer their time and labour, he will deliver support with machinery, operators and diesel to restore the creek.
With a month there was an agreement and could the Water Mothers in Thar-Paung village begin their freshwater creek restoration work, truly a miracle in Myanmar.
It is an important lesson and excellent example to follow: No single party can implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) alone. And: once women are empowered, they are no longer victims or disadvantaged, but become leaders in sustainable water governance and development instead.
Case study: Integrated Water Resources Management in Myanmar