Young Water Leader’s Experience – Nang Kant Kaw Ywat Hseng


For me personally, I have never faced with water shortage in my home because there is a well in my house. I can use up the water whenever I want. However, after I went to survey in the Internally Displaced Persons villages, I realized that, for some people, access to clean water is still a big problem. Back then, I know that something should be done with water issue in the IDP villages but I did not know what to do.

My attendance to South East Asian Youth Environment Network meeting, together with my participation in the Young Water Leader Summit, without a doubt has opened up my view on the water issue and which partners I can seek to help those IDPs people access to clean water. For me, I think that, when talking about community access to clean water, we normally divide the people into urban and rural areas. Then, we decide what we should do to help these two areas get clean water. However, internally displaced people’s access to water is not being discussed in most of the action plan.

I know for some organizations, it is difficult for them to get to the local people. However, that should not be a problem because every organization have its role to play. I came from a community-based organization in Burma, which we get in touch with the local people and even internally displaced persons. As mentioned earlier, I aware that access to clean water is a problem for IDPs but I did not know what to do back then. As I came here, I understand that every organization should go hand in hand to solve the problem by taking different roles.

As I join the summit, one thing that captured my thought is the suggestion for me to work with the government. Burma is one of the countries that  has the longest civil war in the country. There is no trust among different ethnic groups. As a Shan ethnic young leader, which is not the same tribe with the government, when I first heard the words, “work with the government,” it annoyed me. However, I finally came to realize that no matter what happened, whether you like the government or not, you should not neglect them especially in environmental issue. This issue is a global issue and everyone should talk a collection action to solve the problem.

My plan of action to help in water issue is to continue to decrease my water usage. In addition, with the help of networks that I got from participating the summit, I would like to help IDPs to access to clean water either providing them with clean water or technique on how to get clean water. Other than that I will plant small eatable plants that I might need in my every meal such as chill, mustard, eggplant, etc. in my garden.  The reason why I want to do this is to encourage myself to care the environment more. The more you have contact with the person, the more understand the person. The same goes with the environment. The more you care them, the more you protect them.

Insight Piece

“Before you go into the community to tell the people to value our water, firstly try to convince your family and see how they response. That’s how the people will react to what you say. If you are successful with your family, then, you will do well in encouraging the people as well.”

By Nang Kant Kaw Ywat Hseng
Webster University


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