European Union supports Timorese rural communities to adapt to climate change


Communities of Luro in Lautem municipality, Timor-Leste, gathered on October 28th 2017 for the handover ceremonies of five rainwater harvesting tanks. The tanks, made of ferro-cement can hold 10,000 liters of rain and spring water and provides water to 15-20 household members for group-managed horticulture activities. Seven more tanks are due for handover soon to seven other aldeias (sub-villages). The installation of the tanks comes as part of the Integrated Actions for Resilience and Adaptation (IA4RA) to climate change project that works in the nine villages in the area of the Raumoco Watershed.

Financial assistance to construct the tanks was provided by the European Union as part of the EU-GIZ Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (EU-GIZ ACSE) Programme. The IA4RA is being implemented by Hivos, a Netherlands-based international NGO, in partnership with the Timorese Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Olinda da Costa, 46-year old, is a busy mother of six. She operates a small kiosk which she started with a capitalization of USD 200. Her running capital for this kiosk has grown to USD 1,600 after one year of operation. She also works in a farm, one kilometre away from her house. The agro-ecological farm of Grupu Ernisi Morin (GEM) which is run by a solar-powered drip irrigation system that the EU project had installed earlier this year. The GEM presented their Mapa Futuru (Future map) that features the use of agro-ecological technologies for climate change adaptation which they learned in an Agro-ecology/Permaculture Training of Trainers in September 2017.

She walks that distance twice each day in the early morning and late afternoon to irrigate her plants with water harvested from the nearby Raumoco River using solar energy. Other than mustard, she also plants long bean, cabbage, tomato, papaya, cassava and other food crops. To Olinda’s left is Ana de Rosario, a widow in her mid-60’s, also a member of the GEM. She has two grown up children and, like Olinda, Ana works the same gardens in the GEM Farm.

Both women are recipients of a climate change adaptation project being executed by Hivos and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with assistance from the EU-GIZ’s Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (ACSE) Program for 14 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste. From a previously dry and unproductive landscape, 15 households have worked together in transforming their land into a diversified farm with technical and financial support from the ACSE Program.

Using solar energy, water is pumped to a 60,000-liter water tank and distributed to redistribution tank and drip lines. Following a training on agro-ecology, Olinda and Ana and other members of the GEM are practicing a environment-friendly way to produce food and generate income for their families.


  • agro-ecology
  • rainwater
  • solar energy