East Timor

Photo: Tom Greenwood

East Timor (also known as Timor-Leste) is one of the poorest countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It became an independent nation in May 2002 following several years of conflict and turmoil, which brought widespread destruction of the social and economic infrastructure.

Violence erupted again in 2006 between east and west factions in the nation.

Oxfam New Zealand in East Timor

Improving livelihoods

  • Improving livelihoods
    The Movimento Cooperativo Economico-Agricola (MCE-A) in East Timor aims to build the economic independence of the people of East Timor by increasing farmers’ productivity and returns from agriculture.
  • Angelina de Jesus
    Angelina de Jesus is the founder and chairperson of Bolalilin Women’s Cooperative in East Timor.
  • Better returns for rice farmers
    Oxfam and its partner are helping farmers in East Timor get a much better return on their crops.
  • Feeding the family
    Over Christmas, many of you chose to buy or were lucky enough to receive an Oxfam Unwrapped gift. These generous gifts are helping people like Lorensa da Costa in East Timor.
  • Rice revolution
    Alvaro and his wife Pascoela live in the village of Beco in Suai town, Covalima district. Since joining a farming co-operative supported by Oxfam, they are using innovative growing techniques to improve their crop and their family income.
  • Supporting coffee farmers
    Domingas de Silva and her husband Laurindo are coffee farmers in a small community in Maubaralisa, Liquica District. With the support of Oxfam and MCE-A, they are learning new techniques for maintaining their coffee crop.
  • Fighting landgrabs
    MCE-A is mobilising small-scale farmers to stand up for themselves and their rights, helping them to mediate disputes and take action against government land grabs. Find out how.

Safe water and sanitation

  • Safe water and sanitation
    Oxfam is working towards providing safe water and sanitation to some of East Timor’s poorest communities by encouraging community ownership of water resources and providing health education.

Health and nutrition

  • Health and nutrition
    Oxfam is working in Cova Lima district, one of the poorest parts of a poor country. We are working through local partner organisations, training people to identify, analyse and prioritise problems in their community. We are also working to overcome malnutrition in the area.
  • Overcoming malnutrition
    Six years after bloodshed and violence swept through East Timor following the vote for independence, the people are facing a new crisis - malnutrition. Oxfam Australia’s Maureen Bathgate travelled to East Timor to find out how Oxfam is helping families survive.

Sustainable energy

  • Sustainable energy
    In most rural areas of East Timor there is no electricity. Portable generators provide a limited service to communities that can afford diesel.

Emergency response

  • Emergency response
    Outbreaks of violence in East Timor continued sporadically for two years after 2006, creating an ongoing humanitarian emergency.

Voices from East Timor

  • Rice revolution: innovative growing techniques bring a bumper crop
    Alvaro and his wife Pascoela live in the village of Beco in Suai town, Covalima district. Since joining a farming co-operative supported by Oxfam, they are using innovative growing techniques to improve their crop and their family income.
  • Lorensa's story: feeding the family
    Thanks to generous Oxfam Unwrapped supporters, Lorensa da Costa has a thriving community garden and can now feed her family.
  • Meet rice famers Calisto and Francisca
    Calisto and Francisca are subsistence farmers from Haburas-Sare, a small rural village in Liquica District, East Timor. They have seven children and two grandchildren to feed, yet last year they earned less than NZ$900. Now, with Oxfam's support, things are looking up.
  • Meet coffee farmers Domingas and Laurindo
    Domingas de Silva and her husband Laurindo are coffee farmers in a small community in Maubaralisa, Liquica District. With the support of Oxfam and MCE-A, they are learning new techniques for maintaining their coffee crop. A new processing machine means they will increase the income they receive from the crop, allowing them to repair their home and improve the water supply.
  • Meet Angelina de Jesus
    Angelina de Jesus is the founder and chairperson of Bolalilin Women’s Cooperative in East Timor. Set up in July 2010, the cooperative aims to help women earn more money from their small plots of land and supplement their family’s income.

Our partner in East Timor

Country profile

Key challenges facing East Timor include the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed during the conflicts of 1999 – 2001 and 2006; strengthening the capacity of the new civil administration; and addressing the skills deficit in areas of government and community planning.

Oxfam Unwrapped in East Timor

By buying a gift from Oxfam Unwrapped you can help support our work in East Timor. Take a look at Oxfam Unwrapped's gifts with a difference and help lift people out of poverty, for good.