Timor-Leste - What We Do - Oxfam Hong Kong
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Population: 1,172,390
Human Development Index (rank among 187 countries): 134
GDP: 1,393
Life expectancy at birth: 62.9
Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 55
Adult literacy rate: 58.3%
Living below US$1.25 per day: 37.4%

Sources: CIA – The World Factbook, UNDP HDI Report 2013


Timor-Leste is a small half-island state between Indonesia and Australia. It gained formal independence in 2002. The Indonesian occupation from 1975 to 1999 ended in destructive violence from which Timor-Leste is still recovering, and an internal crisis in 2006 was a major setback to that recovery.

The majority of the population is rural: three out of four people live in rural areas. About 42 per cent of the population in Timor-Leste lives below the poverty line, and nearly 80 per cent of these poor people depend on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. Growing petroleum revenues could fast-track Timor-Leste’s development, but ensuring that the benefits reach the poorest people remains a major challenge.

Oxfam Hong Kong has been supporting relief and development in Timor-Leste since 1999.

Oxfam’s programmes focus on:

  • more secure rural livelihoods and food security through increasing agricultural production and sustainable management of natural resources
  • work on labour issues
  • reduction of disaster risks and support for adaptation to climate change
  • improvements to community health in rural areas, including work on water and sanitation
  • support for women’s leadership and participation