04.04.2024 - von Plan International Switzerland

Teresa’s Plan

In Timor Leste, girls and young women are developing their skills, accessing leadership opportunities, and protecting the environment to secure their communities from climate change.

15-year-old Teresa lives in a village in Timor-Leste, a country that often experiences food shortages caused by very dry conditions resulting from El Niño. But things are changing in Teresa’s village, and Teresa is one of the leaders of the change.

Her plan to Beat The Clock is to:

1. Strengthen girls’ adaptability to climate change
2. Build financial knowledge, encourage saving and reinvestment
3. Reduce youth poverty


Growing food for better physical and financial health

Teresa and her family are part of the 80% of Timor-Leste’s rural population. Their village is far away from the capital city Dili and its local market. The lack of access to a market means the village relies heavily on agriculture, with most of the produce consumed by the farmers’ families, with little additional produce available to sell or trade. 

Teresa took part in a project run by Plan International and implemented in partnership with our local partner, Permatil. Known as Hakbi'it Joventude, which translates as ‘Empowering Youth’, the programme aims to improve agricultural productivity and resilience in rural communities in Timor-Leste by expanding women’s and young people's knowledge and skills in regenerative agricultural and horticultural practices and water resource management, building greater agency, creating livelihood opportunities, improving health and nutrition outcomes, and increasing community resilience to unpredictable climate and weather events. 

Estimates say it will take more than 130 years for the world to achieve gender equality

but girls and women like Teresa are promoting gender equality now, which will help to #BeatTheClock. 

  • Eight villages took part in the project in 2023, reaching nearly 1,800 people, adults and children.
  • Approximately 40 households produced almost two tonnes of produce for local markets, earning over 600 Euros, through the Halameta demonstration plot, one of several established by Hakbi'it Joventude to demonstrate sustainable farming methods.
  • More than 32,324 Euros in savings were accumulated by village saving and loan associations, enabling members to start small businesses, invest in education, afford healthcare and deal with emergencies.
  • An impressive 4,954 local tree varieties were planted in five villages in Aileu and Ainaro as part of reforestation efforts to improve water resource management and environmental conservation.