Since 2013, Nissan has been co-operating with Habitat for Humanity, World Concern Myanmar and the Ministry of Health, to implement its corporate social responsibility activities in Myanmar. A recent project, Delta Integrated Shelter and Hygiene (DISH), aimed to improve the health of local communities in 12 villages in Myanmar by creating

A Brief Report on the 25th
AAF/TC3-JAMA Meeting

Nissan’s partnership with Habitat for
Humanity to support the Delta Integrated
Shelter and Hygiene Project (DISH)in Myanmar



awareness on general hygiene as well as building safe sanitation facilities and a cyclone-resilient shelter to protect lives in natural disaster zones.

The project site is located in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions in Myanmar. About 6.2 million people, or 12 percent of Myanmar's population, live in the delta region which is frequently affected by storms, floods and other natural disasters. For example, Cyclone Nargis, which struck the Ayeyarwaddy Delta in 2008, resulted in the deaths of more than 138,000 people. Another 55,900 went missing, and a total of 2.5 million were left homeless. In 2015, the delta region was hit by floods and landslides, due to torrential rains brought on by Cyclone Komen that started in mid-July 2015. Government figures showed that 109,252 houses were destroyed and 121,652 households were displaced.

In addition to disasters, the delta communities are constantly plagued with inadequate access to clean water and safe sanitation, as well as poor shelter conditions which reinforce the cycle of poverty. During the dry season, a lack of rainwater and the poor quality of potable water pose health threats to local communities. As a result, many villagers rely on surface water collected from ponds, open wells or water harvested in tanks, which is insufficient for household uses and often unsafe for consumption. Others resort to buying or fetching water from nearby villages which is laborious and time-consuming.

In many areas in the delta region, the common practice of open defecation increases the risk of water contamination and the spread of water-borne diseases. Existing flush toilets are expensive to use and relatively high-maintenance. To make matters worse, local communities do not have adequate knowledge of waste water and garbage management.

Nissan’s total contribution of USD200,000 went towards the construction of shelter and safe sanitation facilities, as well as training for more than 940 families (over 5,000 individuals) in 12 villages in Laputta Township. Habitat for Humanity took the lead in providing training and building up the capacity of community groups, to manage and maintain the water points as well as that of community volunteers who promote health education messages. With access to clean water, families no longer have to travel far to fetch water from the river. Levels of hygiene and sanitation also improved. In addition, a cyclone-resilient shelter was built in Yae Won Lay village in March 2016, which also serves as a school. Villagers who live nearby have received disaster risk reduction training, including the use of the shelter during an emergency.

Before the implementation of the Nissan-funded project, “water committees either existed in name only, or were not very active because committee members didn’t receive proper training or support”, according to Mr. Gin Lian Sum, Country Program Manager, Habitat for Humanity Myanmar. By training the water committee members, involving them fully in the project activities and supporting them along the way, they have become more aware of their roles and responsibilities, and have become more active in their duties. New water committees have been set up where needed, while existing water committees receive ongoing support to ensure local ownership and management of the water points, Mr Gin added.

He explains, “To promote awareness of the need for clean water and safe sanitation among households, communities and schools, health workers and water and sanitation volunteers conducted sessions and exercises on community-led total sanitation and participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation.” The program also included activities to identify barriers and encourage the use of latrines. Households that were very poor were provided with materials to build their own latrines, with household members contributing their labour in digging the pit and constructing the shelter for the latrine among other tasks. An average of 50 latrines were built in each of the 12 villages.

During the handover ceremony in August 2016, the Administrator of Laputta Township, Mr. U Toe Toe Tun, expressed his appreciation. “We are thankful to Habitat for Humanity Myanmar for their kind contribution for the good of the people of Myanmar. Besides their kind tangible and intangible contributions to our communities, I’m deeply impressed by their ways of working side-by-side with the community and multiple stakeholders involved.” Mr. U Toe Toe Tun also thanked Nissan, remarking, “Their projects have inspired local companies to give back to society through CSR efforts as well, companies such as 7 Rural Health Centers and others.”

During the interview, Mr. Gin Lian Sum shared some of the challenges in implementing the DISH project. As the project site is located in a remote area, all construction materials had to be bought in the nearest town, Laputta, which was about three hours away by boat. Another challenge was the high staff turnover during the project. Qualified staff from Yangon were not willing to be away for long from their families who live in the capital, and it was not easy to recruit qualified local staff in the project area.

In spite of these challenges, Habitat for Humanity Myanmar achieved most of their targets:
  1. Set up 12 active water committees in 12 villages.
  2. Trained 17 active village health workers and 26 water and sanitation volunteers in 12 villages.
  3. Trained a total of 1,083 individuals in community hygiene and sanitation.
  4. Provided a total of 726 latrines to low-income households.
  5. Rehabilitated more than 20 rainwater ponds by constructing embankments, boundary fences,
    and water catchment bridges in 12 villages.
  6. Provided access to safe drinking water to more than 500 households and over 1,000 students in 5 primary schools.
  7. Built a cyclone-resilient shelter in Yae Won Lay, which serves as a school when there is no natural disaster.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Health also showed their appreciation for Nissan’s contribution, which helped to fulfil the government’s objectives of enabling every citizen to increase their life expectancy and stay healthy.

By giving back to society, Nissan demonstrates that a car manufacturer can do so much to care for others and help them live healthy lives. Nissan believes that these CSR initiatives can lay the foundation for broader, regional development and eventually lead to developments in the motorisation of the community.

JAMA would like to especially thank Mr. Gin for his hard work and contribution to the DISH project. Special thanks also goes to World Concern Myanmar, Habitat for Humanity’s implementing partner. Their commitment to delivering a quality project on time was crucial in enabling the non-profit organisation to complete a much-needed project in a remote region in 19 months.

On 17 February 2016, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that they would begin assembling new cars for the first time in Myanmar. The Japanese company’s presence bodes well for similar projects, such as DISH and paves the way for other companies to follow suit, to improve lives through providing clean water, safe sanitation and disaster risk reduction.

Partner Agencies & Key Contacts:
Sponsoring NGO: Habitat for Humanity
Principal Contact Officer: Gin Lian Sum, Country Program Manager
Telephone Number: + 95 9 253312923
Email Address:

Implementing Organization in Recipient Country: World Concern Myanmar (WCM)
Principal Contact Officer: Jacob Engelage, Country Director
Telephone Number: +95 94 000 322 61
Email Address:
1. Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit housing organization that works in nearly 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported more than 2.2 million people to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit 2. World Concern is a Christian global relief and development agency extending opportunity and hope to people facing extreme poverty. For more information, please visit


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