From June until December, which is dry season in Timor-Leste, 270 people in the small mountain village of Maumetalao used to rely on one water source. Mothers, children and young men would spend their mornings, and often a few hours in the early evening, taking turns filling five-liter jerry cans. Sometimes, arguments occurred because some families felt they were not getting an equal amount of water.
In working with families to try to address the source of their occasional disputes, CWS staff saw that the water system that families used was ineffective. So, to fix this we worked alongside community members to plan and build a new system with a reservoir tank, spring protection and pipe from the spring to the tank.
To celebrate, in late September, 65 community members, eight CWS staff and representatives from the ministries of Health and Agriculture, the Police and the District Administrator came together for the new system’s inauguration. During the festivities, Maumetalao’s leader Augusto Ximenes said, “CWS is the first outside organization to come work with us, and help us have a positive impact in our community”.
While the tank has increased water for some families, there is more work to be done to make water accessible to more. “We [the community] invited government representatives to see our life conditions, and to show that with the right resources, we can better our community even more”, Augusto continued. CWS staff agree with Augusto and will continue partnering with Maumetalao families to advocate for, and contribute to, progress.
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