Playing soccer at the beach, Dili, Timor-Leste. Photo: H. Djoyobisono


The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a small equatorial country in Southeast Asia. It's a young nation, occupied by Indonesia in 1975, it became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century in 2002. A decade long struggle for independence has created numerous development challenges for this new nation.

Fast facts
Development challenges

Country history

The Australian Volunteers program in Timor-Leste began in 1995, through the placement of the first volunteer as an English language advisor with the Department of Local Government. 

The volunteer program expanded in 1999 and since then has recruited, deployed and supported more than 500 Australian volunteers. The majority of placements have been in the area of governance, with other areas of focus being education, health and environment.

Our country staff

Timor-Leste (Dili)

Timor-Leste (Dili)

Apartment 204, The Plaza Hotel.
Avenida Presidente Nicolau Lobato
Bairo dos Grilhos
Dili, Timor-Leste

(Post: PO Box 295, Dili, Timor-Leste, via Darwin)

Our priority areas

Supporting sustainable livelihoods

With a particular focus on women’s and technical and vocational education organisations, volunteer assignments aim to improve resilience and self-sufficiency of communities in Timor-Leste. This is done through assignments that enable and support opportunities for income generation and improve service provision.

Supporting education outcomes

Australian volunteers support the professional skills development of teachers and trainers in both the tertiary and vocational education sectors through targeted professional training and skills development. Assignments support the development of educational infrastructure including development of appropriate and contemporary educational resources through curriculum development, development of local language resources for primary education; and to establish effective modern ITC resources at the National University of Timor-Leste.

Improving governance and accountability

Australian volunteers focus on strengthening capacity in organisational development and management, program planning and implementation, technical training, advocacy, communications and marketing of government and  civil society organisations.

Social protection / creating a safer environment

Volunteer assignments work towards creating a safer environment by working in women’s and children’s advocacy; gender empowerment; youth engagement; advocacy and services support for disenfranchised groups such as  people living with disability,  people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBT community; human rights and increased engagement with, and access to the justice system; peace building, reconciliation and social cohesion and monitoring, research and policy development.

Strengthening health outcomes

Australian volunteers aim to enhance quality and access to primary, secondary and the broad spectrum of health-related services. Assignments support professional training and skills development at the National Hospital and other major public clinics of medical professionals to improve clinical services and capacity in patient-centred care. Assignments also support the prevention, management and treatment of communicable and vector borne diseases; the reduction of malnutrition through targeted education, focusing on nutrition sensitive agriculture.; mental health services; general administration and financial management and public and environmental health.