Trading Up in Timor

CWS Timor-Leste | May 26, 2019

Lenito shows off the pig he traded for his rooster. Photo: CWS

Leonito dos Santos da Silva lives in Caimegohou, a mountain community in rural Timor-Leste, where he supports his extended family of 11 by working the family farm. “I have always worried about how I will keep supporting my family”, says Leonito. “Until now, I have never gotten help to try to improve my life”. That changed when CWS was supported by its own generous donors to expand Timor Zero Hunger activities to Leonito’s village in early 2018. The initiative focuses on increasing food security and nutrition among farm families whose make their living through small scale, home based farming. Since joining, Leonito has learned new techniques for planting more and different vegetables and raising chickens, and CWS staff have supported him and his neighbors to start improving their gardens and building coups for their chickens, so they can protect them from wild animals and disease. Afterwards, families received seeds plus a hen and a rooster.

Already, Leonito’s family eats more nutritious vegetables compared to years past, and they have also been able to increase their income. “Since last year, we earned more $70 from selling some of our chickens and extra produce from our gardens”, says Leonito. “We used this money to pay our children’s school fees and for their school supplies”. Life is getting better and another opportunity to grow the family’s earnings comes along.

Leonito had a unique offer from neighbor who wanted to trade a pig for the rooster CWS given the family. “My neighbor had been eyeing the rooster”, explains Leonito, “because he thought our rooster could be great at cockfighting (a locally accepted game)”. So, when the neighbor brought one of his pigs over to nudge the trade along, Leonito decided to go for it. “We will raise this sow and breed her and make a lot more money selling the piglets. And we can replace the rooter, too”. This ‘trading up’ surprised CWS staff, who are always satisfied to see families building form the foundation on CWS support.

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Lenito and his family with their pig. Photo: CWS

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