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Increasing Community Resilience in Oecusse

Language: English | Tetun

Project Purpose:

To protect community water sources through the adoption of micro-watershed management technologies and a community-based natural resources management approach.


Oecusse-Ambeno Administrative Region

Key Counterpart:

Special Economic Zones for Social Market Economy (ZEESM)


May 2015 — May 2020

Cooperative Agreement:


Partner Contact:

World Neighbors, Inc.

Edd Wright

Regional Director for Southeast Asia

Bali, Indonesia

Email: ewright@wn.org

USAID Contact:

Candido Conceição

Project Management Specialist

Email: usaid-timor-leste-info@usaid.gov



USAID’s Increasing Community Resilience in Oecusse (ICRO) focuses on communities that are mostly located in remote, uphill locations, where road infrastructure is poor and access during the wet season is difficult.  The lack of clean water sources, sanitation, and poor hygienic practices in the area lead to many preventable health problems.  Many of the water sources are contaminated, resulting in a host of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, which particularly affect the elderly and children under five. USAID is helping communities across the region improve their access to clean water, manage their water sources and improve their diets and increase their financial security by introducing conservation agriculture, fostering community savings groups and training water management committees.

ICRO Timor-Leste

Major Achievements:

  • Achieved the target of 80 protected clean water sites, which now serve households from 110 neighborhoods, representing a third of Oecusse’s population. Access to water has allowed people to diversify and increase agricultural production, which increases food security.
  • The potential for sustainability is being improved by 36 stronger savings and credit associations increasingly capable of procuring repair services for their water systems.
  • Exceeded the target for the number of farmers per farm group trained to use new agricultural technology.
  • Three additional neighborhoods asked to join ICRO’s sanitation component, bringing the number to 16.
  • Two of the 16 neighborhoods were declared open defecation free in FY 2018 while 82 percent of participating households now have access to toilets.
  • Coordination with the water and Sanitation Department in Oecusse resulted in a 2018 budget that includes funds for building new rural community water systems; establishing a billing system for an urban water system; and, important for ICRO, repairing and rehabilitating a number of existing rural water systems and the recruitment of new staff. The pending 2019 budget also includes money to rehabilitate more rural water systems.

Last updated: August 29, 2019

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