The Timor Leste Rotary Consortium team - Vijay Susarla and Justine Paragreen are back visiting Timor-Leste, on a scoping trip for the next stage of our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Project. As part of this scoping trip for the next stage of the Timor Leste Rotary Consortium WASH Project, we’ve been undertaking due diligence and assessing potential sites for toilet blocks and water tanks in several villages, such as Triloka as the project expands into the Manatuto and Vikeke Districts.
 
Here’s a map location of where they are, if anyone’s in the area? 
 
The Toilets
These photos are from our first site in the village of Manlala, where this existing toilet (with no hand washing facilities) services around 100 people per day in the peak (in May and October during pilgrimage). 42 of Manlala’s 124 houses (averaging 20 occupants) are without a toilet, and diarrhea and infection are common, especially between the dry and wet seasons.
The Walker
In the lead up to our scoping trip, as the next stage of Timor Rotary Consortium’s Water Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Project expands further into rural areas, Justine received a special request for a replacement walker.  The Project Manager, Vijay Susarla (the new President of Rotary Caroline Springs) managed to source a donated walker through Rotary Donations in Kind,  (https://rotarydik.org). There was hardly a dry eye when Jose first saw his new walker.
 
The Schools
The team has been meeting with each Chief of Village (Xefe Suku in Tetum), members of the Ministry of Health, committees, religious leaders, teachers, community leaders and villagers.
Around half of our assessments for this next stage of the Timor Leste Rotary Consortium’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project have been at schools.
At Lavateri Catholic School in the Baguia District, two toilets are shared between the 268 students (kindergarten through to Grade 9) and 17 staff. It’s common for the toilets to backup and overflow and the hand washing facilities have been broken for five years. The school hosts training for 30 other local teachers, two days a week, who also use these toilets.
 

Another school, Liaholiho School (pictured here) in the village of Afalocai (population of 285) has no toilets, water or hand washing facilities for their 30 students (aged 3-12, split into two classes) and two volunteer teachers.
Without a toilet, they use the bushes or river (which is very dangerous in the wet season). If they’ve reached puberty, the girls often don’t attend school when menstruating.
The school building (on donated land) was funded entirely by the community. During our visit, it was made clear to us that (as with all our builds) the community would volunteer their labour to construct a toilet block and install a water tank pending the Consortium’s positive assessment (and subsequently providing the required training, equipment and materials - and the delivery of). This ‘buy in’ ensures sustainability of the WASH Project, as communities are able to maintain their own infrastructure.
Maria Fernandez
Meet Maria Fernandez. Maria lives in the village of Triloka, in the Baucau District of Timor-Leste. Her family is one of the 94 families in the village that needs to travel more than 2km on foot to a water source. 
 
Being four months pregnant with her sixth child, Maria now carries 15L of water (made up of 3x5L recycled palm oil containers without lids), reduced from the usual 20L. Her round trip is about two hours (provided there is no wait line at the water source), which she does twice a day, carrying the water uphill. Collecting water is the role of the women and children, with children building up from a 5L base. 
 
Maria was very patient with Justine as she attempted to learn her craft; under her guidance, Justine managed to awkwardly carry 15L around 50m.
 
 
The Timor Verde MOU
This afternoon, TIMOR VERDE signed an MOU with the sponsor Rotary Clubs for the Timor Rotary Consortium. This proud new partnership between the organisations ensures the expansion of the Water 💧, Sanitation 🚽, and Hygiene 🧼 (WASH) Project Timor Verde is Not-For-Profit organisation and has agreed to volunteer to act as a facilitator/local coordinator for all builds in the Baucau District of Timor-Leste.
 
Acknowledgements
As our #WASH Project scoping trip comes to an end, it is an opportunity to recognise the efforts of the amazing Timor Rotary Consortium Team, consisting of fellow self-funded volunteers:
With the ongoing assistance of Jummar Speedy Rata Martins Administration & Finance Officer, Liaison Officers, Rotarians Helping Timor Office in Timor-Leste, Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Dili, DfG TL Ambassador, and Mario de Jesus, Director of NGO Rotarians Helping Timor, ROMAC Coordinator in Dili and Rotary Liaison Office in Timor-Leste Coordinator
 
The consortium's work wouldn’t be possible without:
  • Leo, mother of six, advisor, translator, facilitator/local coordinator in Baguia, Principal of St Joseph’s High School and Director of six other local schools in Baguia. Leo spends what little free time she has, volunteering to improve her community.
  • Marsel, regular navigator and driver (and occasional photographer and labourer), who gives up time with his wife and four children to come on the team’s trips, traversing often inaccessible areas of Timor to villages not found on a map!
 
The Consortium’s WASH Project has been supported (in no particular order) by the Rotary Clubs of: Camberwell, VIC; Glenferrie, VIC; Hawthorn, VIC; Malvern, VIC; Balwyn, VIC; Canterbury, VIC; Prahran, VIC; Chadstone/East Malvern, VIC; Melton, VIC; Caroline Springs, VIC; Pascoe Vale, VIC; Glen Waverley, VIC; Lakes Entrance, VIC; Brighton North, VIC; Sydney Cove, NSW; Albury North, NSW; Toronto Sunrise, Canada; Dili, Timor-Leste; Dili Lafaek, Timor-Leste
Along with: Rotary 9800 District Grant A50 Inner Wheel District, NSW A70 Inner Wheel District, SA and various personal donations.
 
The Timor Rotary Consortium wishes to acknowledge key suppliers:
  • Vinod Patel (https://www.vinodpatel.tl), Timor’s largest building and hardware shop, supplying the WASH Project’s poly pipe, fixtures and fittings etc. EDS Car Rentals (https://lnkd.in/g_zWctpp), based in Dili, supplying transport for the team’s trips.
 
For tax deductable donations to the Timor Rotary Consortium: https://lnkd.in/gqFCP4Xx
 
To volunteer or for general enquiries, please contact: https://camberwellrotary.org.au/singleemail/contactus
 
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