Life in Purugua village was difficult for Fatima, a young mother in rural Timor Leste. Nutritious food was hard to come by here. Trips to the market were exhausting and expensive. And after the water irrigation system broke down, water scarcity made it difficult to grow nutritious foods.
Last year, AOP and Timor Aid began working in Fatima’s village to address their water and food security needs. We helped the village repair the irrigation system so they would have access to reliable, clean water. And we invited 35 farmers, including Fatima, to participate in a training course on basic agriculture and animal husbandry skills specific to their locality. The training covered simple techniques to protect crops, such as building fences around crops and covering seedlings with palm leaves to shield against the harsh midday sun. Farmers also learned how to select vegetables that were appropriate to the environment.
Since the training, Fatima’s village has built new kitchen gardens, chicken coups, and fish farms using locally sourced materials. The village has been able to earn a small profit by selling their surplus crops at market. Fatima and her fellow villagers track their profits through basic bookkeeping skills they learned during the training. The profits are used to purchase items they cannot produce. Fatima says she’s happy to have received the training, and she’s proud to be able to provide nutritious meals for her family every day.