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Our Work

Language: English | Tetun

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Since gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has forged ahead with building a new democracy and nascent institutions, and is striving to address its human capital, economic and health challenges. The United States partners with Timor-Leste in the Indo-Pacific region to create a more democratic, prosperous and healthy society for all Timorese. While Timor-Leste is committed to advancing its development, the young country faces challenges that threaten its prospects for broadly-shared growth. To catalyze progress for future generations, USAID builds Timor-Leste’s self-reliance by strengthening its ability to plan, finance and implement its own development solutions.

With nearly one-third of its 1.4 million people living in extreme poverty, Timor-Leste faces significant development challenges. USAID focuses on building self-reliance by investing in Timor-Leste’s local capacity, helping strengthen its democratic institutions, expand inclusive economic growth and private-sector competitiveness, and improve health services for all Timorese.

  • USAID helps Timor-Leste become more prosperous, healthy and democratic. USAID’s focus on increasing the capacity to deliver responsive services at the country’s national and sub-national levels improves the quality of governance.
  • Spurred by these economic gains and USAID’s introduction of an input supplier trade credit program, farmers are rapidly transitioning from subsistence to commercial farming, which has increased input suppliers’ annual sales from $200,000 to $550,000 in three years.
  • Helped the MOH deliver 720 health promotion sessions to 11,317 people of which 8,908 (79 percent) were women. These sessions promote the importance of antenatal care visits, danger signs during pregnancy and delivery, family planning, nutrition education, sanitation and hygiene education.


More than 70 percent of Timorese depend on agriculture for their livelihoods; however, many lack access to high-quality farming equipment and markets. USAID helps build an inclusive, sustainable economy by promoting community-based tourism, boosting farmer productivity, improving access to high-quality equipment and linking farmers to new markets. Thanks in part to USAID’s introduction of modern technology and farming techniques, farmers’ incomes rose by 700 percent over three years.


Despite remarkable progress, Timor-Leste’s maternal and under-5 mortality rates remain the highest in Southeast Asia. To help save lives, USAID works to expand access to high-quality health services for all Timorese — especially women and children — by encouraging best health practices and the use of quality reproductive health care. Thanks in part to USAID, the percentage of women who received postnatal care during the first seven days after delivery rose from 83 percent to 99 percent between 2017 and 2018


To help strengthen this post-conflict democracy, USAID promotes good governance and helps reduce corruption. With USAID assistance, Timor-Leste held peaceful elections in 2017 and 2018 without international supervision, parliamentarians are learning best practices to effectively represent their constituents and customs reform is underway.


Timor-Leste Country Profile [PDF]