CWS Asia


Leslie (left), CWS Asia Regional Director, visiting a project site in Timor Leste. Photo: CWS

Filomena dos Santos and her daughter. With the support from CWS project, Filomena and her family have learned how to raise chickens in a coop,. Photo: CWS

Community members line up to receive their daily water rations (in Timor-Leste). Photo: CWS


As of 2018, the new focus of CWS work in Timor-Leste is a cross-border initiative with West Timor, Indonesia: Timor Zero Hunger. The project is designed with the clear goal of addressing the complex problem of hunger and malnutrition, especially stunting. Specifically, Timor Zero Hunger uses a multi-sector approach to increase the availability and consumption of nutritious foods with a priority aim to reduce hunger and malnutrition among young children.

Based on known best practices, the initiative integrates agriculture and nutrition with livelihoods, water and sanitation improvement efforts to address broader contributors to malnutrition. Timor Zero Hunger is designed to contribute to achieving United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge in Timor-Leste and the collective goals of the 1,000 Days partnership. While Timor-Leste is very far away from reaching these goal, and its Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, hunger and malnutrition, CWS is committed to continuing our long-standing partnership with the Timorese government and people.

In late 2018, CWS will transition leadership of a years’ long partnership with the country’s defense forces (army-navy) to educate soldiers, sailors, their family members and neighbors about the facts and risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. As of next year, the effort, which has been generously funded with United States Department of Defense HIV Prevention Program funds, will be fully led by the Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) and will continue building on the CWS legacy of foundational work with people living with HIV/AIDS and support for creation of the national NGO, Esperança.

Latest News

Limited Access to Water Is a Challenge We Face: Always

CWS Timor-Leste | March 29, 2019

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 […]

Changing Habits for Better Health and Nutrition

CWS Timor-Leste | March 28, 2019

Garianah and Lebucaileti are two small villages high in the mountains of northwest Timor-Leste. Most families in these villages have two homes. One “house”, which is more of a shack, is near the family fields outside of the village. It is where they live during corn-growing season from December to May. The other house is […]

Seeds of Hope in Rural Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | March 7, 2019

Paulinho Martinez, like most of his neighbors in Gariana, makes a living from the land by farming and raising animals. For the past year, Paulinho and CWS have been working together to help families within his community to work smarter in order to improve the quality of their lives. In talking to CWS team members […]

CWS Helped the Families in Lebucaileti Start Helping Themselves

CWS Timor-Leste | January 21, 2019

Lebucaileti is a small community high in the mountains of Timor-Leste, where living conditions are extremely hard. Most of the time, there is limited water, and during the dry season (July to December), there is almost none, which makes farming – which is most families’ main livelihood and household food source – extremely difficult. During […]

Afonsos Has a Lot to Share!

CWS Timor-Leste | December 27, 2018

Alfonso Riberio dos Santos is 35 and his wife Filomena Dos Santos da Cruz is 32; they have two young children, ages two and four and they live in Maumeta village. Many families in this village are poor subsistence farmers. Afonsos and his family were prioritized in their community to join Timor Zero Hunger activities […]

There Is a Lot of Information and Wisdom in the Community

CWS Timor-Leste | December 26, 2018

Leandro Oliveira and his family live in Maumetalau hamlet in Liquiçá district where, like most of their neighbors, he and his wife Angelita Vidigal depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Life has been hard for the family in the past when they earned only about $5 a week selling cassava and vegetables. And even that […]

CWS Asia learning exchange: spotlight on Indonesia and Timor-Leste

Ek Sothea - CWS Cambodia | December 14, 2018

This blog is the last in a four-part series focusing on CWS water, sanitation and hygiene programs in each of four Asian countries where we work. This one focuses on Indonesia and Timor-Leste. It’s important to know that the acronym WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Access to safe water is a rising concern […]

New Ideas and Farming Practices Take Hold in Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | November 27, 2018

About 35 kilometers from Dili, Timor-Leste, up a winding dirt road lined with banana trees, lives a uniquely blonde-haired 5-year-old girl, Beatrice who enjoys playing with her older siblings and cousins, and following her mother around the house, “helping” her mom with chores. Juliana da Silva Gonçalves, Beatrice’s mother, is a fairly typical Lebucaileti village […]

More Food for the Family … To Start

CWS Timor-Leste | October 23, 2018

Arcanjo Nunes lives in Lebucailite hamlet (aldeia), which has just 45 families who are mostly poor subsistence farmers like Mr. Nunes and his wife, who grow vegetables to sell in the market to support themselves and their five children. Mr. Nunes also works as a wage laborer when there is work, so the family income […]

Celebrating Success and Transitioning Leadership After Years of HIV/AIDS Education

CWS Timor-Leste | October 22, 2018

First Lieutenant Domingos Soares Godinho was among 20 soldiers who joined the final 3-day facilitator training workshop as part of a CWS-supported information-sharing project about HIV and AIDS for Timor-Leste Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) personnel. The initiative, which including military members’ families and neighbors too, started back in 2010 and transitioned to […]

“My dream is that [my children] can attend university one day.”

CWS Timor-Leste | September 20, 2018

Zelia Pintu da Cruz lives in Maumeta village of Timor-Leste where, at age 32 she is mother to three children, ages 11, 5 and 4 years, and 6 months pregnant as well. She is a subsistence farmer and her husband is a motorcycle taxi driver who earns about $10 a month, which she supplements with […]

Transitioning HIV Education-Prevention Project to Timor-Leste Leadership Progresses as Soldiers Continue Learning, Too

CWS Timor-Leste | September 19, 2018

Juliana da Concenca’o is a solider in Timor-Leste’s national defense force based in Hera just outside her country’s capital, Dili. Like thousands of her military peers over many years, Juliana recently joined 15 other soldiers for an info-session about HIV prevention – an issue that remains critical to her and her military colleagues. Led by […]

A Good Place to Start!

CWS Timor-Leste | August 21, 2018

Marcos Martins and his wife, Filomena do Santos, live in Maumetalau aldeia (hamlet) in rural north-central Timor-Leste with their two daughters, who are three and two years old. They are subsistence farmer like most families in their remote mountain village, and they are able to grow enough vegetables so that they can sell some in […]

Transitioning Project Leadership: HIV Awareness to Be Led by Government Partners in Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | August 18, 2018

In preparing to transition leadership for years of HIV education and treatment work to its national counterpart, CWS staff noted that epidemiological information about Timor-Leste defense forces (F-FDTL) personnel is limited to info-data from behavioral surveys done by the University of New South Wales and CWS in 2008 and 2011, respectively. So, before ending its […]

New Facilitators Ready to Share HIV Prevention Information and Support

CWS Timor-Leste | July 23, 2018

Second Sergeant Rosita Maia Sanches was among 19 F-FDTL soldiers who joined a recent 3-day facilitator training workshop that was part of continuing CWS-supported information-sharing about HIV and AIDS for Timor-Leste army and navy personnel, and for their families and neighbors. Led by the experienced armed forces Master Trainers who have been coached and supported […]

“As a health volunteer, I represent my village”: Adolescent Health Activities Start in Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | July 22, 2018

In Timor-Leste nearly 20% of girls marry before they are age 18 and almost 25% have at least one child by the time they are 20. Further, the country’s median age is about 19 years, and the fertility rate is just under 5 children per woman (World Fact Book, 2017) – double the world average […]

This Was the First Opportunity I Have Ever Had Like This!

CWS Timor Leste | June 20, 2018

Twentysomethings Clementina Pintu dos Santosher and Bernadus Lalus and their two young children live in a village high in the mountains above a nearby town that is not far, by distance, from Timor-Leste’s capital city, Dili. Yet, life is hard for the family: Bernadus works odd jobs a few dollars at a time, Clementina has […]

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

CWS Timor Leste | May 18, 2018

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 […]

The HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program CWS Pioneered Will Remain a Vital Public Health Service

CWS Timor Leste | April 16, 2018

In March (2018) our small CWS Timor Leste team traveled to Oecusse, which is an enclave of about 70,000 people in one of the country’s most isolated district; it is almost entirely land-locked within neighboring West Timor (Indonesia) and has the Savwu Sea on its northern border. Because Timor Leste’s national defense forces are strategically […]

“We are ready to continue the program on our own”

CWS Timor Leste | March 16, 2018

With 16,000+ residents, Baucau is Timor-Leste’s second largest city and, like the country’s much larger capital, Dili, the small city is on the northern coast of Timor island. Baucau is home to a national defense forces base, and the CWS team traveled there recently to support HIV prevention info-sessions as well as routine HIV testing. […]

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