Ministry of Health, European Union and UNICEF visit Cairui to assess community-led total sanitation initiative and promotion of healthy nutrition practices

12 May 2022
Ministry of Health, European Union and UNICEF visit Cairui to assess community-led total sanitation initiative and promotion of healthy nutrition practices
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/Monemnasi

DILI, 12 May 2021 – H.E. Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Timor-Leste’s Minister of Health, H.E. Andrew Jacobs, European Union (EU) Ambassador, Christina Faustino, Cooperation Attaché at the Embassy of Portugal and Bilal Durrani, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative visited the Cairui Suku in Manatuto municipality to assess progress made with the EU supported community-led total sanitation(CLTS) project. 

Lack of access to sanitation has real human costs leading to diseases, malnutrition and premature deaths. Recent studies and analysis show a strong link between open defecation and childhood stunting, which has an impact on cognitive development and future economic productivity. In Timor-Leste, respiratory and diarrheal diseases remain the top two causes of infant and child mortality, both of which are strongly linked to inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices. Stunting puts half of the population of the country at the risk of not having their brains developed to full potential. The first 1000 days of a child’s life are the most critical time to reverse the 47% stunting rates amongst Timorese children.

The delegation met with the Municipality Administrator, Snr. Bernardo Lopes B.E.D, ADM Administrator of Administrative Post, Sr. Cosme Ximenes, Xefe Suku, Sr. Roberto Ximenes and community members.

Cairui Suku was declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in December 2021 and is one of the most successful community-led total sanitation (CLTS) initiatives under the MOH-UNICEF-EU initiative. The joint initiative was launched in 2020 in Baucau, Dili and Manatuto municipalities. Since its launch in Manatuto, 23 of  31 (amounting to 74%) Sukus in the municipality have been declared ODF, benefitting 39,067 people, including over 4380 children under-five. 

The MOH-UNICEF-EU CLTS initiative  supports Timor-Leste’s progress toward becoming fully ODF by end 2024.

“Communities are understanding the need for improved sanitation, and taking action to change behaviour, construct toilets, and improve sanitation through this joint initiative,” says Dra.Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Minister of Health. “We see examples of these in places like Cairui, and I encourage communities across Timor-Leste to adopt total sanitation actions and prevent disease and malnutrition of children and families.”

The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) in 2021 showed that 18% of the total population in Timor-Leste still practice open defecation, while it is even higher (37%) in rural areas. It further reveals that 57% of the total population are deprived of access to basic sanitation.

“The lack of access to sanitation and hygiene has real human costs leading to diseases, malnutrition and premature deaths. The implementation of the Open Defecation free initiative is crucial to address those issues.  It will make a huge difference, improving lives and children's prospects as they grow up. This is why what we all are doing today is very important not only for the country but also for the European Union.”, said Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste.  

In addition to CLTS, UNICEF works with a network of Mother Support Groups (MSG) in eight municipalities to promote hygiene, exclusive breastfeeding for every child for six months, complementary feeding, and appropriate nutrition for children and mothers. 

During the visit, the Minister of Health, EU Ambassador, Cooperation Attaché at the Embassy of Portugal and UNICEF Country Representative were briefed on community triggering, progress made in total sanitation, including ensuring every household has a toilet in the Suku, other sanitation solutions as well as the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and improved nutrition for children and mothers. They also took part in a cooking demonstration by the Suku’s MSG, toured the community to assess progress and observed a demonstration of the community triggering process. 

“The impact of poor sanitation on children and families is devastating, leading to malnutrition, disease, absence from schools, poor learning, and even death. But this can be changed with key but simple steps – no open defecation, improved access to clean water and clean environments,” said Bilal Durrani, UNICEF Country Representative in Timor-Leste. “ Every community member has a role to play in taking the right steps to improving sanitation and nutrition. UNICEF is proud to support actions for community-led total sanitation.”

UNICEF also recently supported a Country-Led Formative Evaluation of Community-Led Total Sanitation in Timor-Leste. It examined all CLTS related programming in Timor-Leste by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and partners. The evaluation concluded that the implementation of CLTS-style programming in Timor-Leste, under the auspices of the MoH, has been a relevant and appropriate response to issues of open defecation and poor hand hygiene. The whole-of-sector approach to using the CLTS model and the introduction of institutional triggering has resulted in efficient, effective and sustainable change at the household level. It also noted that longer-term sustainability and progress from ODF to safely managed sanitation will require consistent public reinforcement of desired social norms. For more information on the evaluation, click on the following link:


Ministeriu Saúde, Uniaun Europeia ho UNICEF vizita Cairui hodi avalia progresu inisiativa saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade no promosaun pratíka saude nutrisaun sira

DILI,12 Maiu 2022 – Ohin loron Sua Exelensia Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Ministra Saúde, Sua Exelensia Andrew Jacobs, Embaxador Uniaun Europeia (UE), ho Bilal Durrani, Reprezentante País Fundus Nasoins Unidas ba Labarik (UNICEF) halao vizita ba Suku Cairui iha Munisipiu Manatuto hodi avalia progresu ne’ebe halo ona ho UE nia apoiu ba projetu saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade (CLTS sigla Inglés).

Falta asesu ba saneamentu hamusu kustu umanu real lidera ba moras, malnutrisaun no mate sedu. Estudu no analize foin lalais ne’e hatudu ligasaun forte entre so’e foer arbiru ho raes badak infansia, ne’ebe iha impaktu ba dezenvolvimentu kognitivu no produtividade futuru ekonomiku. Iha Timor-Leste, respiratoria no moras deareia mantein kauza prinsipal rua ba mortalidade infantil no labarik, rua ne’e hotu ligadu forte ho pratika sira ladun diak ba ijiene no saneamentu. Rase badak tau metade populasaun país ne’e ba iha risku hodi la hetan sira-nia dezenvolvimentu kakutak ho potensia maxima. Loron 1000 dahuluk husi labarik ida nia moris mak momentu kritiku atu hakfilak taxa raes badak 47% entre labarik Timor-oan sira.  

Durante Vizita delegasaun ne’e hasoru ho Administrador Munisipiu, Sr. Bernardo Lopes B.E.D, ADM Administrador Postu, Sr. Cosme Ximenes, Xefe Suku Sr. Roberto Ximenes no membru komunidade sira.

Suku Cairui deklara ona Area La Soe Foer Arbiru (ALFA) iha Dezembru 2021 no inisiativa saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade ne’ebe susesu liu iha Ministeriu Saúde – UNICEF – UE nia inisiativa. Inisiativa konjunta ne’e lansa tiha ona iha munisipiu Baucau, Dili no Manatuto. Hafoin lansa tiha iha Manatuto, suku 23 ka 31 (hamutuk 78%) iha munisipiu ne’e deklara ona ALFA, benefisia ema 39.067, inklui labarik tinan lima mai kraik 4.380 liu. 

Inisiativa saneamentu total lidera husi MS-UNICEF-UE apoia Timor-Leste nia progresu iha sentidu atu sai ALFA iha 2024 nia rohan.

“Komunidade sira kompriende sira nia nesesidade ba melloramentu saneamentu, no halo asaun atu muda hahalok, harii sintina sira, no mellora saneamentu liu husi inisiativa konjunta,” dehan Dra. Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Ministra Saúde. “Ami haree ezemplu sira iha fatin ne’e hanesan iha Cairui, no hau enkoraja nafatin atu Timor-Leste tomak adopta asaun saneamentu total no prevene moras no malnutrisaun ba labarik no familia sira.”

OMS no UNICEF halo Program Monitorizasaun Konjunta (PMK) iha 2019 hatudu katak 18% husi populasaun Timor-Leste sei pratika ALFA, karik boot liu (37%) iha area rural sira. Nune’e mós pelumenus total populasaun 57% hetan asesu ona ba sanemanetu baziku.

"Falta asesu ba saneamentu hamusu kustu umanu real lidera ba moras, malnutrisaun no mate sedu. Implementasaun inisiativa La So’e Foer Arbiru ne’e krusial hodi rezolve problema sira ne’e. Ne’e sei halo diferensa boot, hadiak moris no labarik sira nia prosperidade kresimentu. Tamba ne’e mak buat-hotu ami halo ohin loron ne’e importante tebes laos deit ba país ne’e maibe mós ba Uniaun Europeia,” dehan Adrew Jacobs, Embaxador Uniaun Europeia ba Timor-Leste.

Alende CLTS, UNICEF servisu ho Grupu Rede Suporta Inan sira (GSI) iha munisipiu 8 hodi promove susu-been inan eskluzivu ba labarik hotu ba fulan neen, aihan komplementar, no nutrisaun adekuada ba labarik no inan sira.

Iha vizita ne’e Ministra Saúde, Embaxador Uniaun Europeia no Reprezentante UNICEF hetan informasaun kona-ba dezenkadeamentu komunidade, progreseu ne’ebe halo ona iha saneamentu total, inklui estabelesimentu sintina melloradu ba uma-kain ida-idak iha Suku Cairui, solusaun saneamentu sira seluk no mós promosaun susu-been inan eskluzivu no melloramentu nutrisaun ba labarik no inan sira. Sira mós asiste demonstrasaun tein husi Grupu Suporta Inan sira iha suku, halo mós vizita komunitaria atu avalia progresu no haree prosesu demostrasaun ativasaun komunidade. 

“Impaktu husi saneamentu ladiak ba labarik no familia sira bele halo aat liu, lori ba malnutrisaun, moras, auzensia iha eskola sira, aprendizajen fraku, ka bele mate. Maibe buat ne’e bele muda, no reduz nia impkatu ho pasu simples – la iha ALFA, melloria ba asesu bee moos no ambiente moos,” dehan Bilal Durrani, Reprezentante País UNICEF iha Timor-Leste. “Membru komunidade hotu iha dezempeñu hodi hola medida konkreta sira hodi hadiak saneamentu no nutrisaun. UNICEF orgullu hodi bele apoia komunidade sira-nia asaun saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade.”

UNICEF oras ne’e apoia hela avaliasaun Formativa Saneamentu Total Lidera husi Komunidade iha Timor-Leste. Ne’e hodi ezamina programa hotu relasiona ho Saneamentu Total Lidera husi Komunidade iha Timor-Leste husi Ministeriu Saúde, UNICEF no parseiru sira. Avaliasaun ne’e konklui ona katak implementasaun programa saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade nia estilu iha Timor-Leste, iha Ministeriu Saúde nia okos, iha resposta relevante no apropriadu ba asuntu so’e foer arbiru no kuran ijiene. Abordajen setor hotu uza modelu saneamentu total lidera husi komunidade no introdusaun dezenkadeamentu institusional rezulta ona iha efisiensia, efetividade no mudansa sustentavel iha nivel uma-kain nian. Sustentabilidade prazu naruk no ALFA nia progresu atu jere saneamentu ho seguru ejize reforsu publiku mak konsistente husi norma sosial sira mak ita hakarak. Ba informasaun detallu kona-ba avaliasaun, klike iha liña tuir mai ne’e:    

Ba informasaun detallu, bele kontaktu:
Ministeriu Saúde

Ivo Ireneu da Conceicao Freitas, Head of Pillar 2 COVID-19 and Head of Administration and Public Relation, Ministry of Health: +670.77230143;,

Rukshan Ratnam, Communication Specialist: +670 77231103; 
Antonio Gomez, Communication Officer: +670 77232441; 

Uniaun Europeia
Stella D’Assis, Communication and Visibility Officer +670 77130854

Media contacts

Rukshan Ratnam
Communication Specialist (English)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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For more information about UNICEF Timor-Leste and its work for children, visit

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