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Building Partnerships for a Healthier, Better Educated, More Inclusive Timorese Society


  • Human development indicators in Timor-Leste need to be improved
  • Abt is strengthening government systems for delivering primary healthcare services and basic education
  • The Australia Timor-Leste Partnership for Human Development (PHD) strengthens sustainable government systems according to government priorities.
The Challenge

Despite significant improvements since independence in 2002, many Timorese face ongoing challenges in accessing adequate basic services in health, education, and social protection. Ranked 141 out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, and with the highest rate of poverty in Southeast Asia, Timor-Leste is one of three countries in the Indo-Pacific rated as off-track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Approach

The Australia Timor-Leste Partnership for Human Development (PHD) is a 10-year program funded by the Government of Australia and implemented by Abt until May 2026. It focuses on strengthening government systems to enable Timor-Leste to deliver higher-quality primary healthcare and basic education, and to advance disability inclusion and gender equality. PHD also partnered with government to improve the quality and reach of public social protection schemes.

Through PHD, Timor-Leste and Australia aim to achieve four goals crucial to realising Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011–2030.

  • Improving the health of the Timorese people
  • Improving the literacy and numeracy of girls and boys 
  • Advancing equity for people with disabilities
  • Advancing gender equality
The Results

With PHD support:

  • Over 40% of the population are benefitting from improved delivery of primary health care services across 86 PHD-supported health facilities in three municipalities.
  • Nearly 140,000 women are accessing essential healthcare needs during pregnancy and postpartum periods through Liga Inan, a mobile health service that connects pregnant women with their health providers (midwives and doctors).  
  • Almost 120,000 students have benefited from improved teaching practices and learning environments made possible by the government’s Leadership Mentorship and Learning Support (ALMA) program for school leaders and teachers. 
  • More than 60,000 women and children under age 5 have benefited from access to the universal social assistance payment program Bolsa da Mãe-Jerasaun Foun. delivered in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Finance, Justice, and Social Solidarity and Inclusion. 
  • Disability equity has been advanced through Timor-Leste’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.