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

Overview |

The focus of CWS work in Timor-Leste is a cross-border initiative with West Timor, Indonesia: Timor Zero Hunger. The project is designed to address the complex problem of food security on Timor island, which comprises both countries. Timor Zero Hunger uses a multi-sector approach to dietary balance, with a priority focus on young children.

Based on known best practices, the initiative, which is funded by CWS members and CROP Hunger Walks, integrates agriculture and livelihoods improvements with water and sanitation improvements. 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 goals, 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.

Latest News

Sustainable Efforts to End Hunger and Poverty in Timor-Leste

CWS Timor-Leste | December 30, 2019

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, […]

Growing in Groups

CWS Timor-Leste | November 27, 2019

Before joining Timor Zero Hunger activities with CWS, 33-year-old Julio de Jesus liked to joke that he only planted weeds in his garden. “I didn’t know how to plant vegetables properly, nor was I in a farmers group”, he said. But after he joined a simple ag information and skill-building session, Julio learned how to […]

Easier Access to Water Brings Opportunities for a Brighter Future

CWS Timor-Leste | November 26, 2019

Last month CWS celebrated a new water system’s inauguration in a small rural village in Timor-Leste. This celebration was not just about easier access to water, but opportunities for a better future. Through information sharing, monthly monitoring and technical support, 25 family farm plots and two communal gardens have been cultivated using improved inputs, techniques […]

Advocating for better and safer access to water

CWS Timor-Leste | October 27, 2019

From June until December, which is dry season in Timor-Leste, 270 people in the small mountain village of Maumetalao used to rely on one water source. Mothers, children and young men would spend their mornings, and often a few hours in the early evening, taking turns filling five-liter jerry cans. Sometimes, arguments occurred because some […]

Delegates for Community Development

CWS Timor-Leste | October 26, 2019

Afanso de Jesus is a village Delegate in a small mountain community in Liquisa, Timor-Leste. As such, he is a go-between for his fellow villagers and their leaders. He shares information, moderates and facilitates conversations and … troubleshoots problems. For this efforts, Afanso receives about $60 semi-annually. Clearly this is not enough income to live […]

Seasons of Change

CWS Timor-Leste | October 3, 2019

Brigita Maria Kefi is a 35-year-old mother of three girls, all under the age of 10. She, her husband and daughters live in simple straw house in Maumetalao, which is a coastal village near the Banda Sea, which defines the north coast of Timor-Leste. For the past several years, changing weather, especially drought, has greatly […]

A Good Diet Is More Affordable Than a Bad One!

CWS Timor-Leste | August 27, 2019

Amansio dos Santos, his wife, five children and four grandchildren live in a small bamboo hut in the mountains of Liquiçá on the north coast of Timor-Leste. They are subsistence farmers, growing pumpkin, cassava, chili and corn. When they have extra produce, they sell locally. With this money, the family buys instant noodles – because […]

CWS – Community Teamwork Brings Government Basic Health Care Back to Gariana

CWS Timor-Leste | August 26, 2019

When CWS staff first visited Gariana hamlet, we were surprised at how many challenges the community faced to get basic health care. For two years, we learned, no one had access to government-guaranteed Integrated Community Health Services, that are meant to bring doctors and other health care workers, and vital vaccinations, to rural families nationwide. […]

Growing Vegetables for Growing Children

CWS Timor-Leste | July 31, 2019

Lucia Martins lives with her mother, husband, two children, and 10 siblings in a modest bamboo house in rural Timor-Lest – Liquisa village about several miles outside Dili. And, even though the village is not all that far, distance-wise, from the country’s capital city, it is light years away in terms of socioeconomic development. This […]

CWS and Government Health Workers Team Up to Multiply Outreach

CWS Timor-Leste | June 17, 2019

As its government’s integrated community health service, SISCa brings care to communities across Timor-Leste. Mothers and young children are among health service staff priorities. Weighing and vaccinating under-fives is a key aim according to Augusto Guterres, a long-time Ministry of Health worker. Back in 2008 Augusto was named SISCa Program Coordinator in Liquisa, where he […]

New Knowledge Helps Families in Nartutu Work to Improve Their Lives

CWS Timor-Leste | June 16, 2019

CWS has partnered with Victor da Costa for a year in his Timor-Leste village to help families improve their diets and lower young children’s malnutrition. A first step in this has been sharing modern farming practices, including better water use. Recently, when CWS hosted a three-day horticulture training workshop in Maumeta, Victor opened it with […]

Trading Up in Timor

CWS Timor-Leste | May 26, 2019

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 […]

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 […]

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