European External Action Service

10/12/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2020 02:08

#TeamEurope supports the most vulnerable families on Atauro island, Timor-Leste

On remote Atauro island the local communities are facing food insecurity due to the prolonged seasonal drought and low food production levels. A drastic reduction of the number of tourists, due to COVID-19, has also impoverished local communities producing handicrafts in Beloi, Vila, Makili, Arlo, Makadade and Uaru-ana.

Empreza Di'ak identified more than 100 artisan households whose income has decreased drastically since the outbreak of the pandemic. Since May, the EU-funded initiative has supported the installation of 'Tippy' taps for hand washing, 200 facemasks, 1,000 bars of soap, 3.4 tonnes of rice and 680 litres of cooking oil.

In addition, 30 vulnerable households, selected by a committee of local authorities at 'suku' and 'aldeia' levels, were supported with food aid and breeding ducks that will allow them to develop an income generating activity. The donation includes also duck breeding facilities, duck food and advice on breeding.

In compliance with the Government's recommendations on safe schooling, this #TeamEurope initiative installed a water tank and hand washing appliances at Vila's Secondary School for the benefit of 630 students and teachers.

European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste Andrew Jacobs, who visited Atauro on the 8th of October to hand over washing facilities at Eskola Sekundária Jeral 99 and to help distribute food and other supplies to communities said: 'Beautiful Atauro has been badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis as well as by drought. The people have suffered greatly, and I am pleased that through the good work of Empreza Di'ak the European Union is able to relieve immediate challenges faced by vulnerable families, and at the same time help communities to establish new revenue generating activities such as duck breeding.'

Empreza Di'ak (ED), meaning 'Good Business', is a non-profit organisation fighting poverty and inequality in Timor-Leste since 2010 through women and community economic empowerment, using the power of business. ED was recognised by the Government of Timor-Leste with the award of the prestigious 'Sergio Vieira de Mello Human Rights Award' in 2014.