Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Toilets for change in Timor-Leste

Inspired by Mapeop village’s efforts to build toilets,
pupils at a local school helped build their own safe, clean toilet.
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Simon Nazer
“I was shocked!” laughs Jorge de Jesus, a young father of two who introduced himself as “Rambo”. “When the guy took some hair covered in “tee” [poop] and put it in a bottle of water, he asked if we wanted to drink it! People got angry - of course not!”

That was the moment members of Mapeop, a small remote village high in hills of Timor-Leste in Bobonaro province, started to understand that having a toilet was far more important than they ever imagined. The hair symbolized the legs of a fly, and was used to show villagers how feaces can be carried around into their water and food.

“With the facilitator, we started by mapping everything out together on the floor,” said the village head, Sergio da Costa Magelhaens. “We marked our homes, our water sources, and where we defecated… we then started to understand how dangerous it was to go in the open.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Building future leaders through the Youth Parliament Programme

Timor-Leste Youth Parliamentarians are voting for an idea
during the special occasion of the First Annual Sitting of the newly elected
Youth Parliamentarians to build consensus among the members on youth programmes.
©UNICEF Timor-Leste/Aemguterres
“We have no proper road to commute from my village Malelat, it took four hours by truck to reach to the point from where I took a boat to cross the river. Altogether, it was a 13-hour journey from my village to the capital, Dili,” Maria Fatima Sila,  a 14- year old youth parliamentarian shared her experience while talking about her journey to attend a skill development training in Dili organised by the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports (SYSS) supported by UNICEF.

“I am happy that I could make it. I would like to draw the political leaders’ attention to problems we are facing in our everyday life.  In my community, many children are out of school, and parents are not much aware of the benefits of education and the health of their children,” Maria continues.

“We would like to act as a bridge to bring local issues to the national level. Through various training and exposure visits supported by UNICEF, we have prepared ourselves, and now we are able to confidently communicate with policy makers, local leaders and the community,” says Ambrocio P. Colo (15), a representative of Bobocasee village of Oecusse district.