Collective action to improve nutrition in Timor-Leste

Hamutuk is an innovative, multi-sector program bringing more than 20 organisations together with one goal: to reduce stunting in children under two.

Stunting is caused by chronic undernutrition over time. It can be seen when a child’s height is too low for their age and negatively affects education, earning potential, and likelihood of disease.

On average, kids who are stunted complete 4.6 fewer grades in school than kids who aren’t.

Adults who were stunted kids earn 21% less in adult wages than kids who weren’t.

Stunted kids face increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes, later in life.

In Timor-Leste, despite improvements, malnutrition remains widespread in rural and urban communities and across a range of household incomes. Nationally, around 50% of children under five are stunted — one of the highest rates in the world.

Around 50% of children under five are stunted

Preventing stunting has inter-generational human, social, and economic benefits for individuals, their households, and the nation. But to make a sustained impact for healthy future generations, we need to work better together. Evidence tells us we need to boost efforts in multiple sectors—including water, sanitation, education, family planning, agriculture, dietary diversity, child feeding and social inclusion.

Hamutuk Illustration

A framework for multi-sector collaboration

Capacity building

Capacity building

We’re working together with our partners in diverse fields to build their understanding of nutrition. Our goal is to encourage collaboration, strengthen their ability to tackle stunting, and help partners share information with communities that may not traditionally be part of their sector.

A mobile app + online platform

A mobile app + online platform

We’ve designed a mobile app to guide our community-based partners through registering and interacting with households, sharing information from multiple sectors, and asking questions that over time help us learn more about a household’s needs. An online platform also helps partners collaborate and access shared information.

Behaviour change

Behaviour change

We’re exploring creative ways to share information with households in the community and nudge them towards behaviours that improve nutrition—including washing hands with soap, growing nutritious foods and keeping girls in school for longer.



We’re looking at how to use the information our partners collect through the app to tell us the best content to share with a household, such as a video about maternal health if a pregnant woman lives there. We’re also exploring the use of machine learning to understand what works in changing behaviours, and recommending similar content for families with similar characteristics.

Hamutuk partners

The Government of Timor-Leste



Cooperativa Café Timor

Marie Stopes


  • Government Partners
  • Manufahi - Municipal Administration
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Public Works
  • Ministry of Social Solidarity
  • National Council for Food Security, Sovereignty and Nutrition in Timor-Leste (KONSSANTIL)
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Alola Foundation
  • Cooperativa Café Timor (CCT)
  • Feto Asaun ba Sustentabilidade (FAS)
  • Health Alliance International (HAI)
  • Luta ba Mudansa (LBM)
  • Luta ba Futuru (LBF)
  • Grupu Klibur Feto Malu (GKFM)
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Marie Stopes International
  • Mercy Corps
  • Ra'es Hadomi Timor Oan (RHTO)
  • TOMAK - Farming for Prosperity
  • World Fish
  • WaterAid

Where we’re working

We’re getting started on our multi-sector initiative in Holarua, Manufahi, a mountainous village with many geographically isolated hamlets and a large overlap of projects that can help improve nutrition.

Want to stay updated?

Sign up for the Hamutuk newsletter.

* indicates required
back to top