Momentum Builds in Abundant Water’s Friendship Grant Program

Abundant Water has taken a big step forward in its Friendship Grant funded project with its water filters arriving on the ground in Dili. This positive milestone comes as our on the ground Program Supervisor Tom O’Malley has continued engagement with local leaders and community groups.  

 Abundant Water was successful in its Australian Aid Friendship Grant application. The DFAT funded project will see 1000 water filter systems distributed across Timor-Leste, providing 6000 people with access to clean water. In doing so Abundant Water will also aim to establish a locally led network of profitable ceramic drinking water filter businesses across Timor-Leste. This came following 18 months spent scoping the demand such a program in Timor-Leste, accessing resources and identifying the local organisations and communities most appropriate for this program.

 While waiting for the filters to make their way to Timor Abundant Water has begun its venture in Timor-Leste with the support of Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS). In partnership with FOKUPERS and Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek, we hope to expand our program into communities most in need of clean water and continue to develop our social business program.

 This pilot project will aim to train 10 vendors in business skills and marketing with the goal of that each vendor is able to become independent and establish an enterprise selling water filters. In doing so, Abundant Water can expand access to clean water in a cost-effective way that also develops local skills and creates a livelihood for vendors. 

 Abundant Water will also complete filter installations in 5 schools across Dili and Liquica (Aiturilaran, Culuhun, Rumbia, Caicoli, Tibar). This project is funded by Rotary Clubs from Canberra and will provide clean drinking water for students. We are aiming to make connections with community leaders who can become representatives for Abundant Water and sell filters in each community.  

 Announced in the 2018-19 Budget and launched by the then Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the three-year Australian Aid: Friendship Grants program leverages Australian NGO’s work in the Indo-Pacific region incorporating them as part of the Australian aid program by providing grants of $30,000 to $60,000. These grants allow them to expand or enhance their existing international development activities. Abundant Water will receive a $60,000 grant.

 In Round 1, more than 1,000 people registered their interest in the program, and more than 200 applications were received. Friendship Grants were offered to 46 community organisations from across Australia, enabling them to expand or enhance their international development work with our neighbours in 15 countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Abundant Water was one of these organisations.

 Ambassador of Timor-Leste Abel Guterres has provided media comments endorsing our project and visited our operations in Dili in January he said of our project:

  “Abundant Water has done a fantastic job in Laos, and we need to do more of it. 70 per cent of the Timorese population live in rural areas, and that’s where a lot of the health issues are with water-borne diseases. This will make a major difference… Potable water are an essential element if you want the kids to be healthy because tropical countries have a lot of waterborne diseases. If you don’t get the purification working, you need to boil water and you need firewood for that…. Because the community owns it, they take responsibility for how it works. That means the project benefits families and community.”

Our ongoing association with the Direct Aid Program in Laos and the Friendship Grant Program in Timor-Leste demonstrates a strong level of confidence in Abundant Water’s ability to deliver positive outcomes on the ground in Australia’s near neighbourhood. We are so grateful to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for this support which means we can get safe and clean water to those who need it most.