Enhancing human development in Timor-Leste


Australia is taking a consolidated, joined up approach to addressing Timor-Leste's human development challenges.  Australia acknowledges the importance of supporting the delivery of quality health and educational services by the Timorese Government to meet basic human development needs and the impact of this on the productivity of the Timorese workforce.

Australia focuses on supporting:

  • quality basic education
  • maternal, neonatal, and child health services
  • access to clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene
  • improved nutrition
  • access to quality services for survivors of violence and people with disability.

We will aim to ensure these services meet good-practice standards, engage communities, empower women and are accessible, including to people with disability.

Related initiatives

Partnership for Human Development

Up to $120 million, 2016-2021

The Australia-Timor-Leste Partnership for Human Development (PHD) delivers Australia's development assistance in health, education, water, sanitation, nutrition, gender equality, disability and social protection under one consolidated, multi-sectoral approach. It will work towards strategic objective 2 of Australia's Timor-Leste Aid Investment Plan: enhancing human development. The goal of PHD is to support the people and Government of Timor-Leste to build and sustain healthy, educated and prosperous individuals and communities, who live with dignity and determine their own future.

Related documents*

Name of document

Year published Type
Investment Design – Australia Timor-Leste Partnership for Human Development 2015 Investment Design
Investment Concept: Australia-Timor-Leste Partnership for Human Development 2015 Investment Concept

Related links

Video: See how Australia and Timor-Leste's new partnership will build a healthy, educated and prosperous Timor-Leste

A number of existing activities are continuing under this consolidated program:

Basic Education

The focus of Australia's basic education support is on improving learning outcomes, specifically literacy and numeracy in the early years, through building school leadership capacity, improved teacher practice and education sector policy and systems. A key focus is to support implementation of the Ministry of Education's new child-centred basic education curriculum and the training of teachers.

Australia is providing direct support to the Ministry of Education to improve teacher quality and student learning through the Professional Learning and Mentoring program. The program was launched in April 2016 and involves tailored training for school leaders, backed up by regular classroom observation and in-classroom mentoring of teachers by international and national mentors. The program will be rolled out nationally over five years. Australia also supports the Ministry of Education to distribute its new national curriculum.

Through the Education and Literacy Materials Partnership, Australia is supporting the Alola Foundation, a Timorese non-government organisation, to train primary and pre-school teachers, and to provide mobile library services to schools and communities throughout Timor-Leste. In 2015, Australia distributed over 460,000 early grade readers in Tetun to every primary school in Timor-Leste. More than 200 scholarships are provided each year for disadvantaged girls to complete secondary school, assisting with education costs and living expenses such as transport, food and clothing.

Australia funds the Catholic Institute for Teacher Education to provide a recognised Bachelor of Education program to approximately 50 student teachers annually.

Australia is funding the Mother Tongue Pilot through the UNESCO National Commission. Under the pilot, the Timor-Leste Government's Mother Tongue Policy is being implemented in 11 schools across three districts to improve literacy and numeracy.

Health Program

Australia is the largest bilateral donor supporting Timor-Leste's health sector and focuses support on improving maternal and child health. The program aims to improve the continuum of care for maternal and child health including family planning and antenatal care, delivery and postnatal care and critical care for infants and children.

Australia is funding the rollout of midwife training to ensure safe births and quality postnatal care for women. The Liga Inan 'Connecting Mums' program is using simple mobile phone technology to facilitate communication and build trust between expectant and new mothers and community health workers.

Australia is working directly with the Ministry of Health to improve health transport. The Health Ambulance and Transport project operates across Timor-Leste with almost 100 ambulances and multi-function vehicles delivering lifesaving transport to patients, 35 per cent of which are pregnant mothers experiencing complications.

Together with the Timorese Ministry of Health, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is implementing the Family Medicine Program to develop the clinical skills of approximately 200 junior doctors, including future general practitioners and tertiary specialists in Surgery, Paediatrics, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Emergency Medicine.

Australia is also funding in-country partners to provide family planning services nationally as well as health systems strengthening with support to improving national health information systems and public financial management.

Related documents*

Name of document

Year published Type
Principal Adviser, Public Financial Management Institutional Strengthening to the Ministry of Health—Overview of duties 2015 Duties description
Australia Timor-Leste Program of Assistance in Secondary Services—Phase II (ATLASS II) Six Month Progress Report January – June 2015 2015 Progress report
Timor-Leste Health Program 2013-2021—Concept Note 2013 Concept note
Timor-Leste Ministry of Health Discussion Note (English) 2013 Discussion note
Timor-Leste Ministry of Health Discussion Note (Tetum) 2013 Discussion note
Access to Mainstream Health and Rehabilitation Services for People with Disability in Timor-Leste—Situation analysis 2013 Study
Economic Inputs to the Timor-Leste Health Design—Final draft 2013 Study
Timor-Leste Health Program gender analysis 2013 Study
Demand Creation Approaches: A Survey of Local NGOs in Timor-Leste's Health Sector 2013 Study
Timor Leste Health Transport – Annual Report 2014 Report
Timor Leste Liga Inan service - Catalpa International progress report 2015 Report
Support for Improved Maternal and Newborn Care in Timor-Leste - Health Alliance International Final Report 2015 Report
Human Resources for Health in Timor-Leste: Constraints and Opportunities in HRH strategy and planning 2012 Study

Hamutuk – Nutrition Collective Impact Pilot

$3 million, 2015-2019

The Nutrition Collective Impact Pilot, known as 'Hamutuk' (meaning 'together') is a four-year innovative nutrition program. Hamutuk is a collaboration of more than 20 government and non-government organisations from multiple sectors working together to reduce the prevalence of stunting in children under two-years of age.

Related links

Ending Violence Against Women in Timor-Leste

Up to $32 million, 2014-2022

Australia's Nabilan: Ending Violence Against Women program is implemented by The Asia Foundation and works across government and civil-society organisations to develop research, prevent violence as well as provide services and access to justice for survivors of violence.

The Program will enter its second phase in early 2018.

Related documents*

Name of document

Year published Type
Understanding Violence against Women and Children in Timor-Leste: Findings from the Nabilan Baseline Study 2015 Study
Violence against Women in Melanesia and Timor-Leste 2011 Study

National Village Development Program (PNDS) and PNDS Support Program

Up to $48.4 million, 2012-2018

The Timor-Leste Government's National Village Development Program (Programa Nasional Desenvolvimentu Suku—PNDS) provides annual grants of around US$50,000 to communities across Timor-Leste for small scale infrastructure projects. These projects include building or refurbishing water systems, irrigation channels, bridges, motorbike paths or market places, as well as refurbishment of schools or health posts. The program uses a community-driven development approach that empowers local communities to lead the decision-making process regarding their projects, and guides communities to build and manage their infrastructure.

Australia does not directly fund grants, but assists the Government through the PNDS Support Program to establish operational procedures, corporate systems such as finance and human resource management and monitoring and evaluation processes. Australia's support also fosters Timor-Leste Government leadership and management of the program.

Related documents*

Name of document

Year published Type
Program Operations Manual—Programa Nasional Dezenvolvimentu Suku 2011 Operations manual
Community driven development and PNDS—overview slides 2013 Overview slides
PNDS and DFAT's support program—slides 2013 Overview slides
National Program for Village Development (PNDS) briefing (Timor-Leste) 2013 Briefing
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDSSP)—Investment Design Summary 2013 Design summary
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDSSP)—Investment Design Summary (Tetum) 2013 Design summary
Draft PNDS implementation schedule 2013 Progress report
National Program for Suco Development (PNDS) Support Program—Quarter 4 report 2013 Progress report
PNDS interim phase : contract completion report 2014 Completion report
Monitoring and review group report #1 2014 Independent monitoring report
Monitoring and review group report #2 2014 Independent monitoring report
PNDS six monthly progress report 2015 Progress report
Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure 2015 2015 Technical evaluation
Monitoring and review group report #3 2016 Independent monitoring report
The Economic Impacts of PNDS Infrastructure Projects 2016 Study report
Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure 2016 2016 Technical evaluation
National Program for Village Development Support Program (PNDS-SP): mid-term review final report and management response 2017 Review report and management response
Timor-Leste National Program for Village Development (PNDS): Technical Evaluation of Infrastructure 2017 2017 Evaluation

* The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is committed to high standards of transparency and accountability in the management of the Australian aid program through publishing information on our website, including policies, plans, results, evaluations and research. Our practice is to publish documents after the partner government and any other partners directly involved in the delivery of the initiative have been consulted. Not all material published on this site is created by the Australian aid program and therefore not all documents reflect our views. In limited circumstances some information may be withheld for reasons including privacy and commercial sensitivity.

Last Updated: 9 January 2018