Sustainable Efforts to End Hunger and Poverty in Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | December 30, 2019

    Marciana harvesting in her home garden. Photo: CWS

    When 20-year-old Marciana was in high school, she got pregnant and had to quit school. After a few years, as is often the case with unplanned marriages that result from unplanned pregnancies, her husband left her, Marciana moved back to her parent’s house, which also home to her 11 siblings. No one in the family, including the head of the family, has a full-time job; most work as sustenance farmers. Marciana’s family grew corn, cassava and pumpkins, though they did not do so in a very good way. They just scattered seeds on the side of a mountain near their home.

    Because of this family’s extreme poverty and vulnerability, they were prioritized by CWS for a hand up, but not a handout. This started in early 2019 when Marciana joined a CWS led information session about better, modern farming practices. During the session, Marciana listened attentively and then practiced making organic pesticides, fertilizer and compost on a communal demonstration plot in her village.

    Marciana told CWS that she enjoyed working on the demonstration plot so much that she decided to join a group of her neighbors to work on their plot, which was closer to her family’s home, and where she could use their tools to build her own garden near her house. Now, with better tools, more nutritious seeds to plant, which came from the project, and knowledge of better planting and caring techniques, Marciana has a large garden: “I planted the vegetables the way I learned in the information session, and was surprised to see that a few seeds could go such a long way!” There was enough yield for Marciana’s family to eat vegetables from her garden every day during harvest season, and even a surplus to sell to her neighbors. Wither her $10 earnings after the first harvest, Marciana bought milk and other nutritious foods, such as fish and other vegetables for her two-year-old son. While she has a very long way to go, Marciana is the kind of young woman CWS proudly works hard to support so she, and her neighbors, can transform their through sustainable efforts to end hunger and poverty. With knowledge and skills of better ways to sow, care and harvest in addition to knowledge of how best to save seeds, Marciana has plans for next planting season … and the future during which CWS will continue supporting her, and probably some of her siblings, to a new level of self-reliance.

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