Timor-Leste supporter trip

3 min read
Supporters in front of the WaterAid offices in Timor-Leste

Since 2013, WaterAid has worked with our Timor-Leste team to provide corporate partners with an opportunity to visit our work in remote communities located in the Liquica District of Timor-Leste. This tour provides WaterAid with a chance to showcase our work and encourage people to become champions for the cause upon their return to Australian shores.

Fourteen individuals representing their companies recently returned from seeing first-hand the impact clean water and decent toilets has for remote communities. The group represented GHD, Who Gives a Crap, SA Water, KOR Equipment Solutions, TRILITY, Permeate Partners, The Australian Leadership Project, Atlas Engineering and City West Water.

WaterAid Australia Corporate Partnerships Manager Leigh Mawby and Relationship Manager Katie Hunt hosted the group this month alongside WaterAid Timor-Leste Country Program Director Alex Grumbley and our fabulous WaterAid Timor-Leste team.

On the first day a visit to the WaterAid office to meet the entire WaterAid Timor-Leste team set the scene. This was followed by a trip to a community who has committed to working with WaterAid to improve their access to water and toilets. On return to Dili in the evening, discussions about the day’s events were shared. An early start the next day took the group to a community where WaterAid has worked, and the community now has access to water and sanitation.

Over the three day trip, the supporters conversed with community members in a village preparing for the installation of clean water and decent toilets, meet local community partners and compared the difference with a village where WaterAid’s work is already done. This was a unique and special opportunity to emotionally connect the terrible statistics of the number of people without water and sanitation, with real people, women, girls and men in a positive way.

Highlights of the trip were many, including:

  • Being able to ask questions of community members about their lives through an interpreter which led to some fascinating discussions.
  • Community members in villages proudly showing our supporters their water source, their homes, crops and livestock.
  • Stephen Pewtress’, Managing Director KOR Equipment Solutions, appreciation speech on the final night was memorable as he recognised everyone and thanked them individually for the important part they provided in making his experience special.
  • The group bonded early and really did enjoy the experience together.

The supporters returned to Dili each evening and shared their day’s activities and got to know one another really well in a very short period of time. There was plenty of opportunity to network which we at WaterAid actively encourage our partners to do. Everyone said they had a wonderful time just being in the moment talking, meeting new people and learning how others live their lives in challenging environments.

To see the impact, to share the emotion and the elation, and the chance to champion the cause further so no one is left behind by 2030 is quite a powerful connector.

While waiting in Darwin for the flight back to Melbourne, a local Timor-Leste Air North flight attendant spoke to a couple of supporters, and proudly advised the three supporters, upon observing a WaterAid t-shirt, "I am from the Manufahi District. WaterAid helped me, and my parents, get water to our community." His parting words were "WaterAid does a great job." What a glowing endorsement of WaterAid's work.

Would your company like to know more about WaterAid? To discover how together we can positively impact your company and the communities we serve please contact our corporate team, Leigh Mawby or Mark Thomas today on [email protected]