people in Timor-Leste don't have access to safe water.

700,000 people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Timor-Leste.

Over 100 children under five die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002 following a 25 year war with neighbouring Indonesia. While there has been development and growth since, three in ten people still lack safe water and over half the population has nowhere to go to the toilet.

The crisis

Timor-Leste's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war for independence. Basic services have been improved considerably, but today thousands of people lack such essentials as safe water and proper toilets.

The problem is made worse by the country's geography and uneven terrain. Day-to-day tasks such as farming and collecting water are difficult, and remote rural communities are hard to reach with services.

Over 300,000 people don't have access to safe water in Timor-Leste, nearly a third of the population, and 700,000 people don't have adequate sanitation. As a result, over 100 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal illnesses caused by poor water and sanitation.

There are impacts on development too, with people unable to work their way out of poverty.

Our approach

In Timor-Leste, WaterAid is working with communities to stop the practice of open defecation, which spreads disease and pollutes water sources. We do this through a process called Community-Led Total Sanitation.

We are partnering with local organisations to bring safe water and sanitation to the poorest and hardest to reach people. Where existing water points are broken, we help communities to fix them and maintain them long-term.

We are training people; women in particular to become technical specialists. Our ongoing support is also helping the Government shape its national sanitation policy.

In Timor-Leste last year we reached:

  • 3,491 people with safe water
  • 2,697 people with improved sanitation.

Watch this short film to find out more:

A woman sits listening to someone.