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Australia assisting East Timor's rural poor.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA 02 012 01 Mar 2002

Australia Assisting East Timor's Rural Poor

I am pleased to announce the commencement of two major projects worth $32 million to assist the rural poor in East Timor over the next four years.

The Australia-East Timor Rural Development Program and the Australia-East Timor Community Water Supply and Sanitation Program will be instrumental in helping villagers in non-urban areas of East Timor improve their health, food and income security. A recent report prepared for East Timor's National Planning Commission has revealed almost half of East Timor's population is living in poverty, with most poverty occurring in rural districts.

The $18 million Australia-East Timor Rural Development Program will improve food security and incomes for rural poor over the next four years. Managed by an Australian contractor, the program will engage local community groups and businesses and provide an important means for transferring urgently needed skills and knowledge to East Timor.

The $14 million Australia-East Timor Community Water Supply and Sanitation Program will improve health by developing community-based water and sanitation services in target rural areas. A consortium of Australian businesses and non-government organizations (NGOs) will manage the program and work closely with East Timorese NGOs, community-based organizations and local communities in developing simple and sustainable water and sanitation services.

Both projects have commenced with an immediate focus on four of East Timor's poorest districts with a combined population of more than 200,000: Viqueque, Bobonaro, Aileu, and Covalima.

AusAID, the Australian Government's Overseas Aid Agency, is providing $150 million in assistance to East Timor through to 2004.

Media contacts:

Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / 0419 206 890

Fionna Douglas (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 / 0412 804 489

 

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