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Project report

Water and sanitation provision, Liquica villages Timor-Leste , RUN BY: WaterAid Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

The Lisaico village water supply before the WaterAid project

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,294

Raised from 10,437 people

This project commenced on August 2007 and was completed in late 2008. There will be follow up support provided to the community for 2 years

Report Detail

This project comprised of an integrated program of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion to 18 households in Lisaico village and 32 households in Raime village in the Maubara sub district, Timor-Leste.

Access to Water in Lisaico
All 18 of these homes were provided with potable water supply by way of three community water points constructed at three convenient locations in the village.  These taps immediately reduced the walking time and distance endured by the residents Lisaico collecting water.

Each of the three water points have a reserve tank to collect and store water for the ongoing convenience of the households they serve.

The water supply system also features an intake structure to divert water to the system and about 1500 meters of pipeline which routes the water source into the centre of the community being served.

Access to Water in Raime
The previous system was unreliable and failed to meet the water needs of the Raime residents. WaterAid has repaired the existing system and extended it so that it reaches several new households. The new system has immediately reduced the walking time and distance endured by the residents Raime collecting water.

Raime now has two separate systems servicing all 32 households with potable water supply. The technical components of these systems are:

  • 14 community water points constructed at various convenient locations in the village. 
  • 5200 meters of pipeline to bring water from the water source to the heart of the village
  • four reserve tanks to collect and store water for the ongoing convenience of the households they serve.

Effective Sanitation
Prior to the implementation of WaterAid's project, the residents of Lisaico and Raime, like most rural communities in Timor-Leste, would defecate in the open in the bushes near to their home. Diarrhoea is the most prevalent and problematic disease in rural Timor-Leste and can be easily prevented through effective sanitation and improved hygiene practices.

All 50 households in both villages now have basic but highly effective latrines for their private use.  All residents now enjoy a safe, private and convenient place to go.

Hygiene Education
Residents of the villages are also being shown safe hygiene practices, a crucial element in WaterAid's work providing effective and sustainable sanitation. The most important and life-saving hygiene practice is hand washing at critical times (after defecation, before eating etc). It is a fact that hand washing at critical times alone reduces incidence of diarrheal diseases by 40%.

Project Evaluation

As a result of WaterAid's water and sanitation project implementation, 100% of the village populations now benefit from:

  • Access to potable water within 50M of their home, significantly reducing their time spent collect water.
  • A 2% open defecation rate for Lisaico and drastically reduced 10% for Raime

Role of partner:
The input of our local partner was instrumental in the successful implementation of this project. Local partner staff are a vital asset, with their inherent understanding of the local context, language and culture. This along with their technical skill has contributed for the success of this project.  Local partners often lack high-level, in-depth technical, community mobilization and hygiene promotion skills and WaterAid mentors the partners throughout the project implementation to build these up.

Lisaico has been one of the most successful communities of the five with whom WaterAid has been working throughout 2007.  This is in part due to the high demand for good water and sanitation facilities in the area and the subsequent active interest from residents in seeing these developed.

It was pleasing to see such enthusiasm for the project, with the residents of both villages raising funds of their own to put towards the maintenance of the system.

One of the successes of this project was the increase in community empowerment levels after they took the initiative in constructing their own water and sanitation facilities. We have observed many in Lisaico and Raime showing an increased level of confidence within themselves, when undertaking other development activities in their village.

Subsequently, the residents of both Lisaico and Raime have initiated a "kitchen garden" program, using the wastewater from the tap overflow, as well as the construction of a school building in their village.

As if often the case with water and sanitation programs, this work has opened the gateway to the development of the villages.

As with all development work, there have been some challenges associated with this project, including:

  • Sustainability of hygiene behaviour change: Community members tend to easily go back to their previous unsafe hygiene behaviour. WaterAid will continue to work with the residents of Raime to ensure these behaviours are being practiced.
  • Availability of spare parts: spare parts are not available in the district town.  This will add slight impediment to prompt repairs of the systems.
  • Diminishing water source in Lisaico: As a result of deforestation, the water source which feeds the water system is decreasing.

What next?
In order to maintain momentum and enthusiasm for the project (and subsequent utilisation), WaterAid Australia provides follow up visits and "hands on" support for two years. During this period, the communities get support in their collection of maintenance funding, technical input if they are encountering any problems and information and leads as to where can they cans source spare parts.  The community also has enthusiasm towards the development with a strong leadership and active PMC to take these facilities into the future.

CASE STUDY: Nathalia's Story

Nathalia is 19 years old and lives with her parents and her brother and sister in Raime, a village 24km west of Liquica Town. Raime is located a very long way from all nearby schools and Nathalia, like many young women in Timor-Leste has never received a proper education, as she has had to stay at home to help her family with duties such as collecting water and cooking.

Nathalia at the new tapstand

19 year old Nathalia at the new tapstand outside her house which enormously reduces the amount of time she spends collecting water each day.

Every day Nathalia helps her mother to collect water for her whole family.  The nearest water source is an unprotected spring, located about 100 meters away from her home.  Compared to many people in rural Timor-Leste, this distance is relatively short, however it still takes Nathalia 15 minutes to collect just two 5-litre containers of filthy water.  Her family uses around 80 liters a day for cooking, cleaning, and drinking – which means Nathalia and her mother spend 2 hours a day carrying backbreaking loads of water.

The water source is unprotected and often becomes contaminated.  Nathalia and her family have lost count of how many times they have fallen ill with diseases like diarrhea, intestinal worms and chronic skin disease as a result of this poor water quality.

This Footprints funded project  allowed WaterAid to install a water system providing a steady flow of clean water to 14 taps throughout the village.

"We are so happy now a new water system has been built... WaterAid put a tap just 2 meters from our house. It will save us a lot of time!  I will have time to clean the house and to help my mother in the garden growing food to sell at the market".

Nathalia's family doesn't have a hygienic toilet of any kind and instead resort to open defecation – which is common in Timor-Leste, a country with less than 40% sanitation coverage.  Nathalia says,

"I know that is not good for us but I have no choice! I know that if we use a toilet we'll stop flies bringing the diseases over from the bush where we go".

Since WaterAid helped Nathalia's family with the construction of a basic but highly effective concrete slab latrine, Nathalia no longer needs to endure the filth and indignity of defecting in a public, open site.

(Report posted 9 January, 2009)

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
***Short Break Insurance
WaterAid Australia

Over 650 million people in the world don’t have access to safe, clean water to drink, and over two billion don’t have sanitation. WaterAid Australia is an international NGO dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people.