SINGAPORE, 28 June 2018  – Singapore’s leading independent disaster relief agency Mercy Relief (MR) recently concluded the “Healthy Community Project” in Railaco Vila, Timor-Leste on Friday, 8 June 2018. The partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore (MFA) was implemented under Singapore’s Sustainable Development Programme to support the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to the World Bank, more than 40 percent of Timor-Leste’s 1.2 million residents live in conditions where safe drinking water source and sanitation are almost inaccessible.

The completion of the project saw over 2000 villagers from 124 households and communal facilities such schools and health centre have access to water within their compounds, where before, the community spent a two to three hours a day fetching water from the nearby river. Besides improving the water and sanitation facilities, Mercy Relief also worked together with local water government agencies to train the villagers with knowledge on managing water resources and conservation as well as to set up a water management committee. Through the programme, MR hopes to increase the capacity of the community in taking care of their long-term water needs.

“Ever since we had running water in the toilets two months ago, we no longer have to relieve ourselves in the bushes behind the school and even have a sink to wash our hands. As one of the student leaders, my duty is to encourage my schoolmates to practice good bathroom habits,” said Narcisio Luis Ataide, a 20-year-old student at Railaco High School. “The girls are also motivated to attend school during their periods because they can now use the toilets and incinerators. The installation of incinerators for throwing sanitary pads will help to keep the environment clean.”

Paul Long, Executive Director at Mercy Relief said, “We are heartened to see that the community of Railaco Vila has better access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities.” He added, “Our project would not have been possible without the support of our partner, MFA. We would also like to thank Air Timor for their contribution of sponsored flight tickets for Mercy Relief staff to Timor-Leste.”

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