Maumetalau, a small mountain village in northwest Timor-Leste is like many rural communities in the country where people rely on farming for their income, and they have little access to services. Markets at which to sell vegetables, and safe road conditions and reliable water systems, are things to which most rural people have little or no access. Recently, CWS Program Officer, Eliaquim Laranjeira, shared his experience of working in rural Timor-Leste, where he has helped families improve their lives and livelihoods for the past year. “Last October, I started working with families in Maumetalau to help them plant nutrient rich vegetables. However, after several months, I noticed that the families didn’t plant all the seeds CWS had offered them as part of our Timor Zero Hunger initiative. And, I also noticed that the seeds they did plant didn’t all sprout. After talking to community members, I confirmed the main reason for this was their limited access to water, which is a challenge they face – always”.
Timor’s rural farm families get their water from one of two sources: ground water and surface water. And the surface water is primarily from springs. For some of the year, makeshift but serviceable split bamboo pipe systems bring the water from springs up in the hills around villages to populated areas. During dry season, when the springs dry up the bamboo pipes are also dry. “So, we started talking about local solutions for the annual dry season challenge, and we decided the best thing was to build a water tank for water to be piped from a bigger stream farther up the mountain.”
During January and February families formed a Water Committee, and its members listed all the materials needed build the tank. In early March materials were bought with CWS funds and delivered to Maumetalau, where the water tank is being built with CWS supervision and villagers’ investment of time and labor. It is because of this camaraderie to address a community challenge that CWS is happy to work with families in Maumetalau. With a good quality new water system in place, families will now can plant more vegetables, and cultivate them successfully, year-round. This, in turn, will make it possible for them to have more diversity in their diets, and better nutrition, too – which is a key way in which Timor Zero Hunger is supporting thousands of people across Timor island to reduce hunger and malnutrition, especially among young children.
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