Afanso de Jesus is a Village Delegate in a small mountain community in Liquisa, Timor-Leste. As such, he is a go-between for his fellow villagers and their leaders. He shares information, moderates and facilitates conversations and troubleshoots problems. Afanso receives about $60 semi-annually for his efforts. This is not enough income for his family to live on. So, he also has sold coffee, cassava, chili and other produce from his garden.
When Afanso heard that CWS would be working with his community, he saw another opportunity to support his family. The CWS Timor Zero Hunger program empowers families to improve the nutritional status of young children, and increase their incomes, by sharing information and material support alongside education and training.
As a Delegate, Afanso not only joined Timor Zero Hunger activities himself; he tried to get 15 of his neighbors to join him. For different reasons, they decided not to do so. Afonso was sad, but not discouraged: “Those who decided not to participate are my motivation,” he said. He wanted his success, which he was sure would come, to show his neighbors the benefits of joining with CWS to better their lives.
Afanso was always the first to show up to technical sessions and most active in using what he had learned. Access to water was difficult near Afanso’s garden, so he bought a hose and built a simple system to bring water to his garden. “I wanted to start planting as soon as I could, and I just knew that the investment would pay off,” he said. Now, only two months after planting, his land has turned from dry and barren to a lush garden. His neighbors are noticing, and Afanso has started sharing the new information and techniques he has learned with his friends and neighbors – taking his job as a Delegate to a whole new level.