What is covered in the project
In partnership with local organisations, we are working with farming households, including women-headed households, to grow more food, safely store harvests and create a more sustainable environment. We are also working to increase access to savings and credit which provides sources of capital for both women and men members to draw upon in difficult time or to start small businesses. These changes will help vulnerable communities to create positive change in their lives.
Objectives, Aims and Outcomes
1. Grow more nutritious food and create food storage solutions
- Training in sustainable agriculture will be provided to help farmers grow more food by increasing their harvests of staple crops like corn, rice and sweet potato, and we will provide alternative sources of protein like beans and nuts.
- Vegetable gardens will be established to provide extra food during the ‘hungry season’. We will also provide seeds and seedlings to farmers groups that need a helping hand.
- Together with local farmers, we are developing more effective methods to store seeds and grains. Farmers sometimes lose up to 50% of their harvest simply because they don’t store it properly.
- Farmers groups will be strengthened with training and the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with farmers from other communities.
2. Protect the local environment
- We will provide farmer training on how to establish sustainable, permanent farms.
- Community education programs will give farmers the opportunity to access information on soil and water conservation techniques.
- Community education will also raise awareness among men, women and children in farming communities of the value of conserving forests for future generations.
3. Help People to save money and access credit
- Oxfam Australia will provide training in group savings and credit cooperatives so people can learn how to save and access low-interest loans to start small businesses like village stores, weaving or trading.
- Communities will be strengthened by the combined effort to save and invest money.
Seedlings stop hunger
Gonzales Mendoza (above) stands smiling in his veggie garden, ankle-deep in dirt.
“After I plant this [vegetable seedling] and it grows, I will harvest
it and sell it,” he says. Thanks to Oxfam Australia, Gonzales is one of
thousands of farmers who have received both training and seeds to help
increase their harvests.
“Before Oxfam came and trained us how to plant vegetables, we didn’t have anything,” says Gonzales.
“Now I harvest the vegetables and use some of the money to buy food
for my family and some of the money I will save for school fees for our
“What I hope for my family in the future, especially my children, is
to continue working in the garden,” he says. “Every day we plant the
vegetables together … so in the future my children will be able to look
Background and local context
Ten years on from the vote for independence, Timor-Leste has secured its political freedom but many of its people remain among the poorest in the world.
The ‘hungry season’ is an annual reality for most families in Timor Leste. Around 90% of the population doesn’t have enough to eat between November and March each year.
Climate change is partly to blame. Ever worsening drought-like conditions have resulted in poor harvests that don’t provide enough food.
Children are particularly vulnerable to hunger: in Timor- Leste, almost 50% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished — a major cause of child mortality.
Malaria, diarrhoea and tuberculosis are common childhood illnesses, and many children simply don’t survive. Even when they do survive, the effects of malnutrition are irreversible if not treated before their second birthday.
Oxfam is both direct implementing this program and working through local partners.
Part of Oxfam strategy in Timor Leste
Oxfam has worked in Timor-Leste for more than 30 years to build better lives for poor rural communities. Over the past three years, Oxfam Australia has partnered with local organisations in the districts of Oecusse and Covalima to create lasting solutions to hunger. So far, more than 13,000 people in Oecusse and Covalima districts have benefited from increased access to nutritious food. Around 60% of households have reduced the length of their ‘hungry season’ and more than 40% of households have reported an increase in income.