Support for water program in Timor Leste
17 January 2017
Rolling Out!The Support Project for UNICEF’s Water Programs in Timor Leste.Field Reports vol.1
One of the key parts of the CWP, the Support Project for UNICEF’s Water Programs in Timor-Leste has been steadily moving ahead,receiving friendly cooperation from many people through events such as the “Echizen Ono Meisui Marathon” and “Echizen Ono Winter Story”, which showcased Ono’s international cooperation.
The members of the CWP visited Timor-Leste and interacted with the local people there! Let us share our experiences with you.
On behalf of “the water blessed city” of Ono, Vice Mayor of Ono City, Mr. Yosuke Kon, and city officials, Mr. Toishiaki Kaeriyama and Mr. Katsumi Yoshida, traveled to Timor-Leste, in hope that they could better understand the situation of community and school children who will benefit from Ono City contribution.
Ms. Yoshie Yoshida from the Japan Committee for UNICEF accompanied the team.
Ms. Yui Fukahori, who is competent in Tetun, the language most widely spoken in Timor Leste, joined us and rendered a valuable assistance as an interpreter.
This was our itinerary in Timor-Leste.
First, we traveled from Ono city to Kansai International Airport. Then, via Singapore we arrived at Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital city. It took us about 23 hours from Japan to Timor-Leste. Considering the fact that both countries are located in the same Asian region, Timor Leste is very far indeed.
We were exhausted when we arrived, but we headed straight for the Embassy of Japan and the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications. We explained Ono’s plan to set six gravity-fed water systems (GFS) in the next three years in villages in Ermera and Ainaro Municipalities.
On the following day of our arrival at Dili, we headed for the UNICEF Timor-Leste Country Office, and had all staff meeting. The team received briefings on the UNICEF Timor Leste Country Office and its programs, and learnt that the children of Timor Leste live in some of the most disadvantaged conditions in the Asian region in terms of access to improved drinking water.
After the meeting at the UNICEF, we headed for Guiguimara sub-village in Poetete in Ermera Municipality, the GFSs have already been installed by UNICEF’s support. The objectives of visiting this community is to learn how people utilize, operate and maintain the GFS, as well as to preview how Ono’ funds will be used in their targeting areas.
This is the water tank, a part of the GFS. Water is to be pooled in this tank and run to the public taps where villagers can access anytime.
Water runs from its sources situated at higher elevation to village through approximately 4 kilometers-water-pipe to village situated at lower elevation, due to gravity force. Water is purified through the filter, and runs down and stored in the tank. Since the installation of the GFS, 120 households, equal to approximately 684 people, have gained the access to safe drinking water.
When we arrived at the village, everyone–men, women, children and elderly–came out and welcomed us, performing their traditional dance and songs, along with drums and horns.
It was very impressive.
The village mayor of Poetete told us that they no longer need to worry about water that they need for everyday life. Washing hands has become a habit for children, and the villagers have become healthier.
Then we visited a health post, where the GFS is connected to. The health post has doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, serving approximately 1,800 people in six sub-villages.
The staffs at the health post told us how dramatically water and sanitation conditions have been enhanced. For example, women had have no choice but to give births at their home without attendance of skilled health personnel; however, now they became able to deliver at the health post in a safe and clean environment with safe clean water provided by the GFS.
Children with skin diseases have decreased in number because they now bathe every day.
Water System Management Group (GMF) representing community and school has already established. The GMF plays an important role in managing and operating the water system. For example, so called “tank staff “takes charge of making sure that water does not overflow from the tank. It seemed that the villagers do not take the supports for granted, but apparently have a strong pride and commitment to maintain their own water system.
Having the access to safe drinking water every day, the quality of their lives has significantly improved. Consequently, it has created a positive impact in the community in affirming the importance of sustainability of their water sources. We hope the CWP will encourage Ono citizen and help create togetherness with Timor Leste.
The next day, we finally visited Ono’s supporting area of Urahou village of Hatulia Administrative Post, Ermera Municipality.
Visit the site of Timor-Leste field report vol.2