people in Timor-Leste don't have access to safe water; nearly a third of the population.

700,000 people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Timor-Leste, nearly two thirds of the population.

Over 160 children 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 millions are left without such essentials as safe water or 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.

The lack of safe water and basic toilets means diarrhoeal illnesses are common and more than one child in ten dies before age five. There are impacts on development too, with people unable to step 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:

  • 2,495 people with safe water
  • 2,495 people with improved sanitation.