Toilets for Timor-Leste

Community members in Timor-Leste helping to construct some of the new facilities

Community members helping to construct some of the new facilities. (photos: Jerry Galea / WaterAid)

Access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene is a major issue in Timor-Leste, especially in the steep and forested mountains where many of the poorest people live. These difficult-to-access communities rely on support from local government authorities, which lack funding and training.

Water for Women's project in Timor-Leste with WaterAid aims to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)  services in Likisa (Liquica) and Manufahi municipalities, targeting approximately 11,580 direct beneficiaries as well an estimated 124,910 indirect beneficiaries. 

Most recently, local partners installed a rural water system in the Taitudak and Ferik-Sare villages, which are now benefitting some 2,000 people. The new facilities include eight disability-inclusive toilets with water installation.

The work also included installation of six handwashing stands in healthcare facilities and schools, giving healthcare workers a safe and clean environment to care for their patients and students access to safe water to wash their hands.

Prior to this intervention, community members had to travel long distances to access clean water. Key public places like schools and local healthcare facilities did not have access to clean water, which meant students, teachers and health professionals lacked access not only to clean water, but also to  toilets and handwashing facilities.

A man standing outside one of the new toilets in Timor-LesteWith implementing partner Fundasaun Luta ba Futuru, WaterAid Timor-Leste worked with the communities to ensure access to working and sustainable WASH systems. To ensure longevity, community members have been trained to manage the WASH systems, including the new toilets, and also how to build their own toilets and handwashing taps.

In Timor-Leste, the gender divide is stark, the country ranking 111 out of 187 countries in the UN Gender Inequality Index, indicating high levels of gender inequality. Water for Women partners with WaterAid on the delivery of, Beyond Inclusion: realising gender transformational change and sustainable wash systems, to address the multiple dimensions of inequality in access to WASH services in Timor-Leste. 

Water for Women is the Australian government's flagship WASH program and is being delivered as part of Australia's aid program over five years, from 2018 to 2022. Through Water for Women, Australia is investing AUD118.9m to deliver 33 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects and research initiatives, which aim to directly benefit 2.9 million people in 15 countries across South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific.


This project update was originally published on the WaterAid Australia website by author, Tegan Dunne. It has been edited and republished with permission.


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