The University of Western Australia is working to improve water sanitation in one of Australia's closest and poorest neighbours, East Timor.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, will today sign memoranda of understanding with two engineering tertiary institutions in a ceremony in the East Timorese capital Dili. Australia's Ambassador to East Timor, Peter Heyward, will also attend the event.
Under the memoranda, The Dili Institute of Technology and the National University of East Timor are committed to work together to establish a long-term partnership between the universities to help them develop and improve their water sanitation-related syllabus and courses.
The project will be developed by 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, with only about half the population able to access clean water.
Professor Robson is visiting East Timor with the IWC's Peter Wegener, Associate Professor Carolyn Oldham of UWA's School of Environmental Systems Engineering and UWA student Vaughn Grey, who took part in the Engineers Without Borders national student challenge.
UWA's winning team designed an effective low-cost water filter while the runner-up, also from UWA, built an environmentally friendly washing machine. Both projects are designed to be used by rural communities in Cambodia.
Sally-Ann Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 7975 / (+61 4) 20 790 098