Rui and his wife Marcelina, both 42 years old, have six children, two boys and four girls, and live in Tatelori, Bobonaro. Tatelori is located in a remote area and due to poor road conditions, there is no access for transportation.
Tatelori water springs are unprotected and all the animals come to drink water in the same trough. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
Moreover, it only has a primary school and there are no health services available. Hence, the community used to walk an hour to access the Integrated Community Health Service (SISCA).
Tatelori community works together to protect their water springs. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
In January 2018, many children in Rui’s sub-village, including his daughter, Angelita, five years old, suffered from diarrhoea. He took Angelita to the Maliana Community Health Centre, walking around two hours to get treatment.
“The problem of diarrhoea often occurs in the rainy season because our water springs are unprotected and all the animals come to drink water in the same trough. Children were easily infected because they drank water that was contaminated with bacteria,” Rui said.
Rui and the other 40 participants discussed how they would respond to the drought, using COVACA tools. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
The Australian government funded Disaster READY project aims to strengthen local humanitarian capability in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, to support communities to better prepare for, manage and respond to rapid and slow onset disasters. In February 2018, World Vision Timor-Leste provided Community-Owned Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (COVACA) training on natural disaster hazard preparedness and response for the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC), including representatives of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of State Administration and Ministry of Public Works, and Red Cross of Timor-Leste in Bobonaro Municipality.
Community members identified seven disasters that have occurred in their sub-village. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
The training aimed to improve the capacity of government officials and local authorities to improve their emergency preparedness and response planning, including using traditional mechanisms as well as the DDMC, retrain the community, promote planning, education and preparedness actions.
Sabino de Jesus, DDMC member from the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, said his ministry only responds to natural disaster victims through data collection, reporting, and distributing emergency relief supplies. “This COVACA training was really new to me and very beneficial because I learned the action plans, monitoring and evaluation and measure of preparedness before natural disasters strike,” he said. In March and April this year, Sabino trained communities in six sub-villages in COVACA tools, including the sub-village of Tatelori.
On February 21, 2018, during the (COVACA) meeting in Tatelori facilitated by World Vision and the
Community came up with their action plan to protect the water resources and natural disaster hazard preparedness and response. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
District Disaster Management Committee, the community members identified seven disasters that have happened in their sub-village, including flooding, high wind, failed crops, house burning, landslides, drought, and locust attacks. Rui and other community members expressed their concerns about drought in the upcoming months, as they would have difficulty accessing clean water during the prolonged dry season. They were also concerned that a lack of water would affect crop growth and lead to food shortages.
The fences was fully constructed. This will help the communities to conserve and store water. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
Community work together to build fences at the springs. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
In the meeting, Rui and the other 40 participants discussed how they would respond to the drought, using COVACA tools that prioritise mitigation and resilience by analysing causes, impacts and solutions.
“Eventually, we came up with our action plan that can help to protect our water resources by planting tree seedlings, which can preserve water as well as protect against landslides,” Rui said.
As a result, during May and June, Rui and other communities planted 75 tree seedlings (Bagus, Kiar and Boro) around three different water sources. World Vision also helped them to construct fences and distribute drip irrigation materials. These will help the communities to conserve and store water and better manage water for vegetable production in the dry season.
Rui and other communities planted 75 tree seedlings around three different water sources. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
World Vision distributes the drip irrigation materials so the community can better manage water for vegetable production in the dry season. Photo: João Pereira/World Vision
“From now on, my children can access safe drinking water and reduce the risk of diarrhoea. I will plant more trees in order to protect water resources and reduce the damage caused by drought and landslides,” said Rui.
Rui’s daughter, Angelita said, “I am now very happy because my father has improved the water source and fenced it.
I will bathe every day, and have good health. I want to be a teacher one day. “