EU Ambassador Backs Sanitation Plan for Dili Municipality

EU Ambassador Backs Sanitation Plan for Dili Municipality

Students at Mapeop Village, Ermera District, in front of the pit latrine installed in 2015 (Image/UNICEF)

DILI 21 February 2020 (TATOLI) — The European Union’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Andrew Jacobs, has praised a plan to connect all Dili residents to basic hygiene and sanitation facilities, saying it will “accelerate” government plans to eliminate open-defecation by this year.

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) plans have been implemented in many of Timor’s rural districts, but this is the first plan to target the more densely-populated Dili Municipality.

Ambassador Andrew Jacobs (Image/Godinho)

Mr Jacobs said the new ‘PAKSI’ plan (Planu Asaun Komunidade ba Saneamentu no Ijíene) is an important plan for community health.

“The implementation of PAKSI uses an integrated approach from a project called “communication and social change” to promote the practice of essential care to nutrition, maternal health, infant and child birth, sanitation and hygiene,” Ambassador Jacobs said.

At the Xanana Sport Centre in Dili’s Bairo dos Grilhos on Wednesday, directors and department heads from Ministry of Health (MS), Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL), and municipal and local Dili authorities met to celebrate the launch of PAKSI.

Ambassador Jacobs said the plan would “accelerate” progress towards Timor-Leste’s goal to be “open-defecation-free” by 2020.  The World Bank’s most recent (2017) estimate shows about 19 per cent of Timorese still venture into fields, forests, and open bodies of water to defecate, instead of using a toilet.

Ermera was the first Timor-Leste district to be declared ‘open-defecation-free’ in 2018 (Image/UNICEF)

At the launch, Ambassador Jacobs said there was no reason for any community not to have access to proper sanitation. Mr Jacobs also thanked the UN, on behalf of its ambassador, for the ongoing work through UNICEF to support sanitation access.

He said to ensure healthy and sustainable practices, support groups will be set up for all mothers in Baucau, Manatuto and Dili municipalities.

“I encourage the xefe sucos (village chiefs) and administrators to provide support services and protection which is the mother support groups do, in order to contribute to the children, families and communities’ health,” he said

The PAKSI action plan has been jointly developed by the Dili Municipal Government, UNICEF Timor-Leste, the Ministry of Health and the EU, Ambassador Jacobs said.

It will be implemented in the 36 sucos and 241 aldeias making up Dili Municipality.

Jornalist: Osória Marques
Editors: Robert Baird; Cancio Ximenes
Translation: Nelia Borges


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