Beyond Inclusion: realising gender transformational change and sustainable wash systems


Water for Women partners with WaterAid in delivering Beyond Inclusion: realising gender transformational change and sustainable wash systems in Timor-Leste to address the multiple dimensions of inequality in access to services.


While Timor-Leste has made significant progress in increasing water supply coverage, sanitation progress has lagged behind and reliable national data on hygiene coverage is unavailable. With a population of 1.3 million people, there are also significant urban-rural disparities, with a majority of the population (approximately 68%) living in rural areas.

Coverage of water and sanitation services will need to accelerate rapidly in order to reach the target of 100% of people by 2030. The Government recognises water and sanitation as a human right and has committed to achieving 100% coverage with water and sanitation by 2030, however, bottlenecks to achievement mainly relate to institutional capacities, and the absence of technical support services in critical areas, sector accountability and incentives for sustaining services.  Similarly, the capacity of both rights-holders to claim their rights to WASH and duty-bearers to deliver is also limited. 

These institutional challenges are overlaid with issues of multiple dimensions of inequality in access to services.  Generally, on a macro level, inequalities exist between rural and urban areas while at a micro level, within communities, inequalities exist between poor and rich, women and men and people with disabilities and those without.

Water for Women aims to support the most marginalised people within communities to ensure safe, equal and sustainable WASH access for all people within communities.


Water for Women will be partnering with WaterAid to deliver Beyond Inclusion: realising gender transformational change and sustainable wash systems in some of the most vulnerable communities in Timor-Leste.

This project aims to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services in Likisa (Liquica) and Manufahi municipalities of Timor-Leste and influence social norms for greater gender equality.

Regional map of Timor-Leste

The project focus is on:

(1) Driving sector strengthening efforts in partnership with municipal and national government.

(2) Deepening gender equality outcomes and social inclusion efforts in WASH through partnership with national and municipal rights groups.

The Project objective is to achieve effective municipality-led, gender transformative, nutrition-sensitive, inclusive, sustainable WASH services that contribute to improvements to health, gender equality and social inclusion in Timor-Leste. 


This objective is measured by four key outcomes:

Outcome 1: Gender equality and social inclusion integrated into effective national WASH systems.

Outcome 2: Women and men share roles and responsibilities in decision-making in the household and at the community level, with a particular emphasis on WASH.

Outcome 3: Municipalities use gender transformative approaches to deliver nutrition sensitive, inclusive, sustainable WASH services.

Outcome 4: National WASH sector knowledge management and learning systems strengthened, including exchange between relevant sectors.

“Inequalities and limited institutional capacity are some of the major difficulties in Timor-Leste. Water for Women funding will allow us to address these challenges, building on our previous work to support marginalised groups to gain access to WASH as well as working with government to strengthen the WASH sector and improve sustainability of services.”

- Edmund Weking, Program Director, WaterAid Timor-Leste




 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.


Through WaterAid's COVID-19 response, existing school WASH programs were expanded to benefit an estimated 4,000 students, teachers and family members. The initiative addressed 10 areas including: handwashing; water availability; supplies; cleaning and disinfectants; waste management; physical distancing; orientation and training; checklists and hygiene culture. Both infrastructure and behaviour change initiatives were designed and delivered to achieve girl-friendly and accessible outcomes.


At a systems level, WaterAid coordinated with government and partners including Fundasaun Luta ba Futura (F-LBF) in Manufahi and Fundasaun Hafoun Timor Lorosa'e (F-HTL) in Likisa to deliver hygiene behaviour change campaigns and ensure all secondary schools in these areas had appropriate handwashing facilities. A rapid assessment of schools WASH infrastructure was conducted with priority interventions identified, and designs for inclusive WASH facilities that meet national and global standards completed and delivered. This work was conducted in close coordination with local government and stakeholders, including schools, in a way that strengthened the systems responsible for maintaining these behaviours and services into the future. 


Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.

An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as to future extreme events and natural disasters. 




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Photo by: WaterAid/Jerry Galea

*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.

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