1.3 million

After decades of struggle for independence, how do you rebuild a country from the ground up? This was the challenge faced by the people of the island nation of Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia.

The Government and people of Timor-Leste overcame this faster than anyone expected. They invested in health, education and electricity – increasing coverage from 30% in 2011 to 82% in 2015 – and changed lives.

But water and toilets lag behind. Especially in the steep and forested mountains where many of the poorest people live. These difficult-to-access communities rely on local government authorities that lack funding and training. Landslides and flooding threaten the services that do exist.

We work with the Government to make clean water, toilets and good hygiene as much a part of normal daily life as electricity has become. We help excluded people demand their rights. And we make sure local governments have the means and skills to help them. We will be there every step of the way, working together to create lasting change. 

Find our more about our approach in Timor-Leste by downloading our Country Strategy.

do not have clean water.

More than one in four.

570,006 people do not have a decent toilet.

That's over 40% of the population.

 die every year from diarrhoea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

Toilets for education

“Toilets are small things but they can help us realise our dreams because with a toilet we don’t miss school and with a toilet we can focus on our study.”
Madelena, 15

For girls in Timor Leste, challenges in managing their reproductive and menstrual health can undermine their educational achievement. Limited education puts more barriers in the way of girls’ building a better future, and perpetuates gender inequality.

Recognising that reproductive and menstrual health are critical to girls’ ability to be healthy, educated and empowered, we’re embarking on an innovative new partnership with Marie Stopes International Australia to tackle this issue. We’ll be testing one of the first integrated health and water, sanitation and hygiene approaches in the region, offering a comprehensive solution to improving girls’ health and education. Sexual and reproductive health services (including family planning) and menstrual health education will be provided to adolescent girls and boys, as well as adult community members. Upgrades will take place so school toilets are better equipped to help girls manage their reproductive and menstrual health discretely, and with dignity. And local sanitary product development will be tested by women entrepreneurs, providing new opportunities for local employment.

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