Timor-Leste (East Timor)

woman of Timor Leste

Timor-Leste (East Timor) is the newest country in Asia. A small nation with a young population, this country’s future could be bright – if the challenges of inequality, rural poverty and vulnerability to climate change can be overcome.

Timor-Leste is largely an agricultural nation with 75 percent of people living in rural areas and reliant on small-scale, subsistence farming for their food and income. Land is largely governed by customary mechanisms and is fundamental to social identity and local worldview. At the national level, while natural oil and gas resources are growing the nation’s economy, the benefits do not always reach where it is most needed.

Inequality is most prevalent between rural and urban areas. Many families grow just enough corn, soy beans, fruit or rice to feed themselves, with limited surplus for markets. Deforestation has led to erosion and climate change is resulting in high temperatures, longer dry seasons and more severe rainfalls in the wet season. Malnutrition and poor health are widespread and most households suffer from food shortages at least one month of the year.

Oxfam in Timor-Leste

For over 40 years during times of crisis, recovery and change, Oxfam has supported the people of Timor-Leste in their journey towards a more prosperous and equal Timor-Leste.

  • We work with over 20 partners to improve the well-being of rural men and women by promoting active citizenship.  This is achieved through the strengthening of civil society. We support partners to be part of government consultations and processes to ensure national policies and practices help poor populations.
  • In livelihoods, Oxfam works with women and men in rural communities to adapt their farming techniques to improve their yields of crops, and be better prepared for agriculture in times of disasters and climate change. We help farmers to get their surplus produce to market and increase their incomes. Oxfam’s Savings for Change groups helps women and men to save money, access finance and plan for their futures.
  • Our Land Inclusive Development program advocates for development processes that respect the rights of poor and vulnerable people. This means development that includes most the marginalised and vulnerable, and provides services and opportunities in a way that lowers inequality.
  • Communities across Timor-Leste are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. We are working with our partners to be ready to respond to disasters such as flooding, drought or landslides. When disasters occur, Oxfam will ensure vulnerable communities receive timely, appropriate and quality humanitarian assistance.