Collective action to break the cycle of malnutrition

Hamutuk is an innovative, multi-sector program bringing more than 20 diverse organisations together to improve nutrition in Timor-Leste.

Our goal

To reduce the prevalence of stunting in children under two and create developmental, social and economic benefits for present and future generations in Timor-Leste.

To achieve our goal, we’re enhancing collaboration, using mobile technology to collect household data, finding creative ways to promote behaviour change, and training partners to address nutrition through programs in many different sectors.

What is stunting?

Stunting is when a child’s height is too low for their age and negatively affects education, earning potential, and likelihood of disease. It’s a sign of chronic undernutrition and restricts human potential.

On average, stunted kids complete 4.6 fewer grades in school compared to children who aren't stunted.

Adults who were stunted kids earn 21% less in adult wages compared to adults who weren't.

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

In Timor-Leste, despite progress in recent decades, 50% of children under five years suffer from stunting – one of the highest rates in the world.

The causes of stunting are complex, diverse and not just the responsibility of one sector. Evidence shows the following factors can significantly reduce stunting:

Maintaining adequate dietary energy supply

Washing hands

Breastfeeding and complementary feeding

Keeping girls in school for longer

Spacing births by at least two years

Drinking safe water

The global evidence is clear: breaking the inter-generational cycle of stunting requires collective action targeting all causes of stunting.

To make a sustained impact on stunting, we need to work better together.

So, what are we doing?

Through our pilot project, we’re creating an environment where our partners can help address the causes of stunting through their own programs in WASH, education, agriculture, health and social inclusion. Here’s how.


We’re increasing collaboration between partners through multi-sector coordination, a mobile app and an online platform to track and share household progress.


We’re training our partners in multi-sector nutrition, to help them share messages with households in the community about the behaviours that lead to better nutrition outcomes.


We’re using participatory video to tell stories that create social and behavioural change.


We’re collecting and analysing data through our app and using it to tell us the best videos to play for a household, such as a video about maternal health if a pregnant woman lives there, and to tell us what’s working.

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 are we working?

We are getting started in Holarua, Manufahi.

Hamutuk is commencing work in Holarua. The village of Holarua is located in a mountainous area in the municipality of Manufahi. Holarua consists of 13 hamlets, half of which are not accessible from the main road. The total population is approximately 7,000 people.

Holarua was selected as the first project site because it is geographically isolated and there is a large overlap of partners implementing nutrition promoting interventions. Over the next five years, Hamutuk plans to expand to other villages in Timor-Leste.

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