Four senior engineering academics from universities of one of Australia's closest and poorest neighbours, East Timor, are visiting fellow engineers this week at The University of Western Australia, part of an initiative aimed at addressing East Timor's water and sanitation needs.
With UWA, the Dili Institute of Technology and the National University of East Timor are committed to work together in a long-term partnership. The project has been developed in collaboration with the International Water Centre (IWC), a joint university group comprising UWA, the University of Queensland, and Griffith and Monash Universities.
According to World Vision, in East Timor the average life expectancy is about 55 and there is high infant, child and maternal mortality. Only half the urban population and less than a quarter of people living in rural areas have access clean water. And only 13 per cent of the population has access to adequate sanitation.
The East Timorese academics are hosted by Professor Carolyn Oldham and Vaughn Grey of UWA's School of Environmental Systems Engineering (SESE).
They will also observe Civil, Mechanical and Environmental Engineering teaching laboratories; visit the Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training; review teaching and learning within the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics; and take part in an Environmental Engineering field trip to a water treatment wetland.
"Over the past year, the UWA team has worked with Timorese universities, government agencies and NGOs to review the engineering curriculum in East Timor, improve internet communication infrastructure and provide English training to water and sanitation academics," Professor Oldham said.
Media can meet the East Timorese academics tomorrow in the Hydraulics Laboratory, SESE, from 9-10am and 4-5pm, Fairway Entrance Three.