MotoAid is an Australian based charity that supports the work of health and human development organisations in Timor-Leste by improving the safety and reliability of the motorbike fleets that rural Timorese communities rely upon to access critical services.
Timor-Leste is a south east Asian island nation of just over one million people, which after emerging from decades of conflict, became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century in May 2002. Between 1974 to 1999 it is estimated that 102,800 Timorese lost their lives directly or indirectly in the fight for independence. At the birth of the nation all public infrastructure including roads, ports and airports, water and sanitation systems, and government facilities were either non-existent, destroyed or severely dilapidated. In 2018 Timor Leste is now a young democratic republic and is rebuilding, but there is still much to be done.
Timor-Leste has a tax-based health system in which services are provided free at the point of use. However, access of health and community services to the majority of the population who live in rural areas is critically hindered by a lack of developed road infrastructure. Timor Leste is a highly rural and agrarian society where over 69% of the population live in rural areas and where the agricultural sector provides subsistence to an estimated four-fifths of the country’s total population. Large areas of the country’s population are only accessible on foot or motorbike via treacherous unpaved paths. This physical barrier to access of critical health services for so much of the population is contributing to devastating outcomes. The infant mortality rate in Timor Leste is 30 per 1000 live births, (compared to 3.2 in Australia).
While Timor Leste’s transport infrastructure is slowly being rebuilt, health and human development services in the country rely completely on fleets of motorbikes to get health workers to the communities they serve. The right motorbike, well maintained and used by a rider with training in it’s safe use can facilitate access of life saving health services to difficult to reach areas and reduce the cost of transport across an organisation. In Timor Leste motorbikes are often donated from overseas charities and non-governmental organisations, unfortunately often without funding or resources for their ongoing maintenance and repairs or training for the frontline health staff who will rely on them.
In the absence of preventative maintenance programs and driver training, motorbikes become death traps, not just for riders and road users, but for the communities who rely on them for provision of critical health services who are left isolated when they break down, often irreparably.
MotoAid’s supports health and community service organisations in Timor Leste access the communities they serve safely and reliably through the use of a motorbike transport management system, designed for use in resource-poor environments and used extensively throughout developing nations globally.
The TMS promoted by MotoAid is an evidence-based program developed initially by global development leader Save the Children. The program has been successfully used throughout Africa by TransAid for the past 30 years. The TMS is administered locally, with input and support from MotoAid by invitation only. MotoAid’s role is to provide the resources required to setup and implement the TMS, including for example, initial ‘train the trainer’ sessions and the tools required to monitor and manage the need for preventative maintenance.
Melbourne VIC 3000