Reducing malnutrition with sound horticulture practice

The people of Timor-Leste (East Timor) suffered some of the worst atrocities of modern times in their struggle for self-determination. They achieved independence in 2002 but emerged with little infrastructure, widespread unemployment and extreme poverty.

The country’s high rate of malnutrition remains a serious cause for concern. Almost half of children under age five are stunted and 23 percent of women of reproductive age are anemic. Our former local partner, HIAM Health, has worked tirelessly since 2003 to reverse this trend.



HIAM Health reduce malnutrition through life-transforming education and the promotion of sound horticulture practice. They empower local families by providing support for nutrition-sensitive gardens. They also teach healthy sanitation techniques and enable rehabilitation for malnourished children – with extra training for parents and carers.

HIAM Health’s name derives from the mantra: Hamutuk Ita Ajuda Malu or ‘Together we help each other’. Its logo features two hands with palms up, which means in local culture: ‘My hands are free and ready to serve.’


Established in 2003, HIAM Health is a cornerstone of community empowerment. Their education programmes have steadily improved children’s health in Timor-Leste. Mothers are equipped with preventative strategies to break the malnutrition cycle.

HART UK and HART Australia partnered with HIAM Health in 2012 to provide six years of funding from the Isle of Man International Development Committee. We achieved enormous success in tackling malnutrition, including via cultivation of the Moringa plant – sometimes called a ‘miracle tree’ because of its nutritional properties.

Help our local partners realise their vision of hope for their communities