Deakin graduate to improve access to sanitation in Timor-Leste

Rob Leeson, Deakin University engineering graduate and Coordinator of Engineering Development at the City of Ballarat, is embarking on a 12-month volunteer placement with Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) in Timor-Leste, applying his engineering skills to improve the access to clean water and sanitation for rural communities in Dili.

Rob started his engineering studies at Deakin in 1994, graduating with honours in 1997. He also worked as a volunteer while he was at Deakin, volunteering for 'a number of conservation jobs with the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (Conservation Volunteers Australia)'.

EWB says Rob will be working as a Rural Water Supply Technical Advisor to provide mentoring and training to government District Water Supply Officers and Technicians, which will allow staff to effectively plan for and manage the construction of sustainable and well maintained rural water systems in Timor-Leste. He will be working in partnership with

BESIK (Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program) and the Government of Timor-Leste. BESIK is an Australian Government funded program working to improve the lives of rural communities in Timor-Leste. This organisation works closely with the Government of Timor-Leste to improve health and quality of life of rural East Timorese through sustainable and equitable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) actions which encourage community ownership.

'I have long had a dream to undertake a volunteer role as part of my engineering, and EWB's WASH program in Timor-Leste allows me to fulfil this dream,' Rob says.

'I am looking forward to collaborating with the local communities to develop WASH systems and mentoring BESIK staff on the operation and maintenance of these systems. It is both powerful and humbling to be given the opportunity to apply my professional skills in Timor-Leste.'

EWB is a not-for-profit organisation with 10 years' experience creating systemic change through humanitarian engineering. To learn more about EWB's work visit

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