Indonesia’s Signature Initiative to End Hunger Expands to Timor-Leste

CWS Timor Leste | May 18, 2018

Gabriela da Costa addressing a community gathering in Vatuvou. Photo: CWS

Gabriela da Costa in her office in Vatuvou village. Photo: CWS

Lebucaility and Gariana hamlets are located in Timor Leste’s mountains in a district whose central town is just 20 miles west – but decades behind – the country’s capital, Dili. Using dangerous dirt roads to reach their tiny enclaves, CWS staff have come to work with several hundred subsistence farming families who use traditional agricultural practices and a traditional language unique to Liquiçá District, which is administratively responsible for them.

Many people in these hamlets do not speak Tetum, the official language of Timor-Leste, and many are illiterate. Most families live in poverty with no electricity, limited water and poor, if any, health care services. All face food insecurity. Gabriela da Costa is the head of Vatuvou village, which includes Lebucaility, Gariana and two other hamlets. “CWS is the first outside organization to ever work here,” she says, “and of course as village leader, I really appreciate that our national Ministry of Health has thought to suggest that our families join the Timor Zero Hunger initiative”.

Through Timor Zero Hunger and in line with CWS global mission, the Indonesia team supports families and communities to change their lives through just and sustainable responses to hunger and poverty. The initiative started in 2014 in remote villages in southwest West Timor (Indonesia); through the years, Timor Zero Hunger has helped hundreds of families and communities change their lives for the better. Yet, conditions in the region remain quite difficult for poor families, especially since the effects of global climate change, especially drought, make their lives ever perilous. Recognizing that socioeconomic and natural conditions like poverty and drought do not change at national borders, CWS is now expanding Timor Zero Hunger to Timor-Leste, which shares Timor island with Indonesia.

Continuing to share her thoughts on the good CWS can help her people achieve, and noting that more information and new knowledge as well as strong technical support are where they will start, Ms. da Costa said, “I believe that the project will really help our people change their lives for the better over time – with food, better nutrition for the children, clean water and better sanitation. Right now, to get going, families will start raising chickens with support from CWS. And then another activity we are planning in line with the project is better home gardening. I think these activities will be helpful; and I understand they will be particularly good for pregnant women and young children, so I’m happy about this initiative in my community.”

“As we start to work together, I want to thank the CWS team for their good collaboration so far with us, community leaders, who also community members with shared hopes for all our neighbors.”

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