Community Based Rehabilitation Social Economic and Health Development Project

Timor Leste

The Community-based Rehabilitation for Social, Economic and Health Development (CBR SEHD) aims to increase social participation and improve health and economic outcomes for people with leprosy and disabilities, by developing Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

During the last phase (July 2015-June 2020), the CBR SEHD project established 21 Self Help Groups (SHGs) comprised of people affected by leprosy and disability. The goal of SHGs is to act as agents of change within their communities – bringing health and economic development opportunities and promoting inclusion.

After the project phase was completed, an evaluation was undertaken which determined that the project would benefit from a two-year extension to ensure that SHGs had created strong linkages to become sustainable beyond the project lifetime. This extension will focus on building up the organizational strength of the SHGs so that their legal status will be recognized while linking the SHGs to a network of similar organisations that are in a strong enough position to be able to access soft loans for their members to undertake small businesses.

Social Return on Investment
Twenty-one Self-Help Groups were given training and support to develop small businesses of their own, at a cost of $69 per group.

Australian Aid Supported by the Australian Government
The CBR and SEHD Project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, this project is able to help improve the well-being of people affected by leprosy and disability in Timor Leste.


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The Leprosy Mission in Timor Leste

Timor Leste (pronounced Tee-more Less-tay) is a country in Southeast Asia located about 640km north-west of Darwin, Australia.  Due to many years of political unrest and a long independence struggle with Indonesia, Timor Leste is continuing to rebuild its infrastructure and economy.

The Leprosy Mission Timor Leste has been fighting the spread of leprosy in the country for more than 20 years and is currently committed to eliminating leprosy to align with the Leprosy Mission’s global goals of zero transmission, zero disability and zero discrimination by 2035. The project is building on The Leprosy Mission Timor Leste's previous ‘Better health for communities affected by leprosy project’ that was implemented in 5 municipalities, to further expand this work to the entire country with the overall objective of reducing leprosy cases and related disabilities in Timor-Leste.

In Timor-Leste, leprosy is not given priority by the Ministry of Health (MOH) which has resulted in limited funding, poor coordination and case management of leprosy. Additionally, there is limited capacity of health professionals to detect and manage leprosy and a lack of awareness and knowledge regarding leprosy at national, sub-national, community and all levels of health providers.

There has been an increase in Grade 2 disabilities as a result of leprosy and increase in the number of children detected among new cases. Timor-Leste has four municipalities with high leprosy prevalence rates and with a high rate of Grade 2 disability among new leprosy cases, indicating late detection. People with disabilities (from leprosy) living in communities also have a limited understanding of how to prevent disabilities.

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