Asia / Pacific

Photo: Annie Griffiths/Ripple Effect Images

Asia/Pacific Overview

CWS’s work in Asia is nearly as expansive as the continent itself. Our work extends across two large geographic regions of Asia – the South Asian countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in East Asia, several countries in Southeast Asia and in Japan.

Our programs in the region have one clear and defining focus: to help improve the lives of those who live in Asia’s most vulnerable communities, whether in emergency situations or for longer-term development work. More specifically, we try to improve people’s quality of life by enhancing their access to basic human rights, such as clean drinking water, food, health, shelter and education. In addition, CWS has initiated microfinance programs, livelihoods assistance and education programs in different countries.

We also work as advocates for the ideals of just, democratic civil societies; social accountability; and in bringing together policy-makers, non-governmental and community-based groups so that issues of common concern can be addressed.

Finally, as an agency working in the largest and most diverse continent in the world, we are committed to the highest quality of work and to being accountable to both international standards and to those communities with whom we work.


CWS’s work stems from a rich and proud history and tradition. Though our very first work was in Europe following the end of World War II, CWS humanitarian programs were quickly initiated in war-devastated Japan and then in Pakistan upon its creation in 1947, when the Indian subcontinent experienced a staggering refugee crisis. CWS was one of the first American humanitarian agencies to work in Vietnam, then Burma (now called Myanmar) and, in the late 1970s, in Cambodia, following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. In addition, we have a very large program spanning the Indonesian archipelago.

Highlights of work in 2013:

Ongoing responses in Pakistan and Afghanistan that include extensive work involving both natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and mudslides, and ongoing political and social crises in the region.

Working in coalition with others, we have continued our disaster response, recovery and advocacy work in the wake of the 2011 Japan earthquake-tsunami and nuclear power disaster.

A steady commitment to our Indonesia food security and nutrition program that underlines our agency-wide commitment to eradicating hunger and poverty.

Numerous life-enhancing development programs throughout the region, including work in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Working as part of a “team effort” in response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.