Monday, 21 March 2011

Women Walking for Water in Timor-Leste

José Seixas (Policy and Advocacy Officer, WaterAid Timor-Leste) updates us on Timor-Leste's World Walks for Water event which took place early on International Women's Day...

International Women’s Day was celebrated in Timor-Leste on 8th March; it’s an important day for all of women in the world to once again stand up for their rights, so we combined the day with our celebrations for The World Walks for Water. In Timor-Leste, International Women’s Day is marked as an important day for celebrating the achievements of women and recognizing how important women are in contributing to the development of the country.

Walking through the streets of Timor-Leste. Photo credit: Ian Ross

On this day, women and men from different NGOs, Government organizations, and Universities participated in this ceremony which is organized by the National Department of Water and Sanitation of Timor-Leste (DNSAS), and with support from the AusAid Besik program.

In the opening ceremony, there were speeches. The Ambassador of Australia stated that “women can also be a technical person for activities of water service as well as men”. Afterward, the director of DNSAS, Mr. João Jeronimo declared that “our government does not want to see women of Timor-Leste walking a long distance for water any more”

During that event, WaterAid staff Delfina and Novi also showed off some photos of gender research carried out a couple of weeks ago at Datakolo and Manuquibia villages, district of Liquiça. The research looked at changes in lives of men and women as a result of water and sanitation projects.

Afterwards, WaterAid organized people to do an activity as part of the World Walks for Water campaign. People carried buckets filled with water in a short walk around the local area in solidarity with people affected by lack of clean water around the world. Around 80 People took part and the director of DNSAS Mr. Joao Jeronimo was also carrying a bucket. After the campaign, a participant noted that “We walked only for 500 meters and I am tired, but in hilly rural areas even pregnant women walk 2 km for water”

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