The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every country in the world. Whether they’re working to slow and reduce active cases, or pre-emptively hardening borders and implementing new hygiene protocols, every nation and its citizens have had to change the way they’re living. In WaterAid’s Timor-Leste project, that meant work restrictions and local lockdowns for a three-month period between March and June.
WaterAid had to adapt. As the local government spotlighted the importance of handwashing and hygiene, they took the momentum and ran with it at a local, community level. Their team crossed rugged and muddy mountain roads on motorbikes, travelling from village to village and using speakers to broadcast the importance of regular handwashing with soap and maintaining physical distance.
With restrictions lifting at the end of June, the project was able to make more progress. With support from the Reece Grant, WaterAid are currently working across two villages, Liquica and Manufahi, to provide them with a supply of sustainable fresh water. In Liquica, the spring water intake and transmission pipes have been installed — the next step is to install a reservoir tank and distribution pipes down to the village. Once that’s done, the final step will be public tap stands for all the locals.
Over in Manufahi, construction work has yet to begin, but the team are conducting an important step; technical assessments and topographical surveys, to ensure the spring water is pure and the supply is strong enough to supply the whole village for years to come.
However, WaterAid has been making an impact in other ways — every single household in Liquica has a handwashing facility with soap, and every household has participated in water resource management and climate resilience sessions. The WaterAid team will deliver similar sessions to the locals in Manufahi as well. This way, they’ll be able to manage their water supply themselves, as a community, and be prepared for the global changes that will happen in the coming years.