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Water & Sanitation
Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002 following a 25 year war with neighbouring Indonesia. During this battle, Timor-Leste's infrastructure was badly damaged. While there has been basic development and growth since, three in ten people still lack clean water and over half the population has nowhere to go to the toilet.
The country’s mountainous terrain, and rural population make the problem of bringing services such as water and toilets worse. With a population of 1.2 million, 71 per cent of people live in hard to reach rural communities.
Modern day conveniences in remote areas are rare, including running water and household toilets. Families depend on lakes and walking long distances to streams to collect their water, the bush for their toilets, firewood to fuel their stoves for cooking and subsistence farming for their food.
Families living in remote rural areas are extremely vulnerable to any changes in the weather. In particular, if the dry season continues for longer than expected, families wait longer periods until they are able to start growing their next crop. In this time, food supplies from the last season begin to run out, and families go hungry.
Similarly, lakes and streams begin to dry-up and women have no choice other than to walk longer distances in search of water – up to three hours. With no guarantee the water is safe to drink, the risk of falling ill from contaminated water far outweighs having no water at all. Collecting water continues to be a real and on-going challenge for people in Timor-Leste, especially women for whom the burden of collecting water falls on them.
The specific challenges of not having water include:
By giving communities access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, the project will create opportunities for families to break free from the cycle of poverty and illness.
Expected outcomes include:
Footprints funding will contribute to overall project including, installation of four complete water systems – one in each village. At the same time, funding will help families to build their own toilets.
Finally, people will learn about the importance of practicing good personal and household hygiene to stop the spread of disease. Activities in each village include:
Two local key partners will help WaterAid to implement this project. Our partners, Fundação Hafoun Timor Lorosa’e and Luta Ba Futuru are local NGO’s who have a deep connection to Timor-Leste and are specialists in implementing water and sanitation in Timor-Leste. Our partners understand the people; their language, customs and their challenges. This helps to engage communities and contributes to a more successful and sustainable outcome.
Community participation is key to our success. In each community, prior to commencing a project, we ensure that the community’s particular needs are heard and identified. Through a process of community engagement, we invite the community to play an integral part of implementing the project with us and our partners.
By securing a sense of ownership at the beginning the project, community members are much more likely to feel connected to the project, which brings the chance of a sustainable solution much closer. All members of the community will be invited to contribute to the project, whether it be helping to lay pipes, paint and decorate water tanks or provide meals for the workers.
At completion of the project, we hand the water system over to the community and district council for on-going management. The occasion is celebrated in a special community celebration.
The delivery of this project is aligned to the Government of Timor-Leste’s National Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 that aims to reach universal coverage of improved water and sanitation by 2030. This plan is implemented through the National Basic Sanitation Policy and Rural Water Supply Guideline, which project activities support.