Top 3 inventions changing lives in Timor-Leste

13/01/2017 by World Vision New Zealand

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Top 3 inventions changing lives in Timor-Leste

Pictured: This grandmother holds her grandson close and hopes he never sees the hunger and hardship she has known.

Since 1995, our teams have been working in Timor-Leste to empower communities and improve lives in new and innovative ways.

Our Annual Innovation Awards showcase incredible ideas on how to improve life for children and families. The awards encourage and foster development in every sector across the Pacific. Innovation isn’t always large and flashy and sometimes it is the smallest idea that brings about the greatest change. 

1.    Most creative problem solving award: Water pipe mould

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Something as simple as the way water pipes above ground are supported can make a serious difference. Repairing pipes every 18 months was time consuming, expensive and meant communities would go without clean water while the pipes were being fixed. To solve this problem, World Vision Timor-Leste staff member Trevor designed a mould that forms a concrete pillar around the pipe. The mould has an indent on each side that clips the pipes into place. It can be assembled in less than five seconds and is reusable. 

This innovation means that pipes can have a life span of 25-50 years. The innovation can be utilised on old pipes as well as newly installed systems to ensure that clean water can keep flowing across Timor-Leste. Families now have reduced maintenance costs, more time for other activities and most importantly a consistent reliable source of clean water.

2.    Ready for scaling award: Farmers night markets

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The average income of vegetable farmers in Timor-Leste is marginal and is not enough to support families. World Vision staff member, Nuno, saw that many farmers in Aileu were unable to sell their vegetables and had no connection with the larger markets. To combat this, Nuno designed a night market for local farmers to sell their produce. Accompanied with music and entertainment the markets proved popular, with many farmers bringing a wide range of vegetables and many locals eager to purchase off their neighbours. Farmers are earning an average of USD$250 (NZD$350) each market.

The markets are so successful, some farmers are now taking phone orders from customers to secure their sale. More importantly these farmers are now able provide for their families and ensure that healthcare, education and food costs are all paid for. Thanks to this great success, we are now preparing to introduce night markets across Timor-Leste.

3.    Most adaptive solution award: Educational learning bags

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We have been working in Baucau, Timor-Leste since 2011. The biggest contributor to children’s education is parental support and resources. This inspired Paulo Soares, from our Timor-Leste office, to create ‘Pasta Aprenda’ (learning bags). They contain story books, puzzles and other creative materials that help parents and children learn together at home to improve reading, writing and art skills.

The use of these bags have already seen a lift in parents' engagement in their child’s education and are improving children’s academic performance and development. Anabala, a mother living in Baucau says “Pasta Aprenda is very important to me. Living in a rural community, we have very limited educational resources at home like stones, leaves or flowers to use to teach our children in our free time.”


From a stronger pipe to bring clean water, to learning kits being provided for parents and their children, everyone is benefitting from the journey of community development. By trying, learning and developing sustainable solutions, we are working together to make a difference. 

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