Current projects include the
- Literacy & Health Education Teacher Training Workshops
- the Teacher Exchange Scholarship Program and
- Teaching English in Ossu
- WASH Clean Water Program
Willoughby Friends of Ossu engaged WaterAid Timor-Leste to conduct an assessment of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Ossu town. The objectives of this assessment were:
- To establish contact with key stakeholders,
- To conduct a technical assessment of water supply infrastructure and develop options for water supply to schools,
- To determine the demand for and scope of WaSH programs within the local schools, including improvement of facilities and WaSH education.
The assessment showed very poor, high-risk water supply and recommended actions to improve the WASH services to the Ossu community, with a specific focus on local schools and health facilities. All drinking water in Ossu is highly contaminated.
Uaiquirona System Rehabilitation
Willoughby Friends of Ossu’s first priority is to repair the Uaiquirona System. The existing system has many informal connections and leakage points, which require rehabilitation. Works would also include rehabilitation of tanks (e.g. tank 3 has been disconnected/bypassed) and provision of distribution lines and tap stands so the community can access water which is not polluted.
This will provide water and facilities, toilets and hand washing to two secondary schools, which at present have no working toilets.
Knowledge sharing about WASH issues in schools, especially about health and hygiene is a priority of the WASH project. A Training of Trainers (ToT) approach is proposed to encourage the community to take ownership of the process and enable student leaders to share information through peer-to-peer learning. However the essential item is that Willoughby Friends of Ossu is providing clean water.
Information sessions and activities cover:
- Correct hand washing with soap techniques,
- How disease spreads,
- Correct use of toilets,
- Link between water contamination and health, and
- Menstrual hygiene management.
The outcome is to create change agents within the student body who advocate for improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour among their peers, the school and the wider community. Activities include disability access demonstrations, and games to prompt discussion about male and female WASH-related needs and norms. Discussing these themes with students encourages changes in attitudes, and builds expectations within the student body of equal rights and roles in decision-making which also influences the broader community.
Take a look at the WaterAid video to see their programs in Timor-Leste.
Health Literacy & Teacher Training
Together with Mary MacKillop International, we have delivered Literacy Training Workshops and Health and Music Education Workshop for 90 teachers in the Ossu sub-district. These programs are improving access to teacher training on how to teach literacy and the mother tongue. Teachers proceed with teaching skills in how to teach health especially through introductory music to the classroom.
Tetum Literacy and Teacher Training
Many languages are spoken across Timor-Leste. Tetum has become a common language used in schools. Mother tongue learning is developing literacy far better than other methods.
The Mary McKillop Sisters at Becora TL have produced beautifully illustrated Tetum story books and readers. They have their own teacher trainers. We have started distributing these books to Ossu district schools and have arranged the training of teachers. All schools in the Ossu subdistrict will soon have received Tetum materials and training with our help.
Teacher Exchange Scholarship Program
In May 2017 Rosito Ruas, a high school teacher from Ossu visited Willoughby thanks to a grant from the Chatswood RSL ClubGRANTS program. During Rosito’s three week stay, he was able to participate in classes with Chatswood High School, Chatswood Intensive English Centre, Mercy College and Willoughby Girls High School. Here he discovered how classes run in Australia and he was also able to share his culture with many students, who were keen to learn about East Timor. Rosito also met Willoughby Mayor, In 2018 WFOO is looking to provide scholarships for two teachers from Ossu to travel to Australia.