Project Title IoT Data-Driven Water Management for Climate Resilient Communities
Amount Awarded USD 85,000
Dates covered by this report: 2023-01-01 to 2024-03-31
Report submission date 2024-04-30
Economies where project was implemented Timor Leste
Project leader name
Dulce A. X. Soares
Project Team
Adam Thomas Smith
Ana Paula Xavier
Luzerio Teme
Joana Araujo
João Bosco Liberty Nahak
Regina Nigmatullina
Aderito da Cunha Mambares
Natividad Rodrigues
Eugenio Lemos
Partner organization PERMATIL

Project Summary

This report outlines the partnership between Similie and PERMATIL, a local grassroots environmental organization, aimed to prove and build upon PERMATIL’s conservation efforts. Similie’s IoT and cloud-based technologies monitored and validated water availability, contributing to a nature-based solution and supporting the Government of Timor-Leste building climate resilience in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Initial efforts included installing a weather station and a closed water supply monitoring network to gather monitor data on water availability over time. Data collected informed PERMATIL and the government entity, the Secretary of State of Electricity, Water and Sanitation (SEEAS), previously known as the Timor-Leste's National Authority for Water and Sanitation (ANAS), about PERMATIL's conservation efforts. This information aimed to support policy development related to WASH and climate change in Timor-Leste. 

While the data collection efforts funded under the project were for one year, we planned for three years of data capture to provide the evidence to stakeholders of the impact of these conservation efforts. Our cloud-based platform made this and other data immediately available to end-users, empowering farmers, youth, and community members to make water smart decisions regarding water usage and helping the government to remotely manage water resources to these underserved communities.

The final output of this project was a baseline assessment (the case study) of the integration of the technology and PERMATIL approach for nature-based solutions. This case study will inform a larger case study at the end of three years, which aims to influence water resource management policy in Timor-Leste, and to provide and evidence base for nature-based solutions across the region.

Data collection during the case study
Data collection during the case study

The project included deploying an All-Weather Stations (AWS) and water supply monitoring systems, training PERMATIL staff on Similie’s cloud-based platform, engaging communities in climate-resilient practices using internet-based tools and developing a case study and pricing model for scaling up our approach.

The project delivered many activities including: 

  1. Project Kick-off meeting: Discussed project activities and schedules, selected PERMATIL's focal points and established communication channel.
  2. Operational Planning: Setup project, accounting, and management software.
  3. IoT device preparation: Procured and prepared IoT devices for field deployment.
  4. Initial Community Engagement: Engaged local authorities and assessed potential study sites. 
  5. Community Engagement: Informed communities of the project and fostered community input and ownership.
  6. IoT Device Installations: Deployed the monitoring technologies at both study sites, Remexio and Railaco.
  7. Equipment System Checked: Pushed data to the platform and confirmed the operational status and the beta-camera-installation.
  8. Dashboard Consultation Meeting: Discussed parameters and dashboard design.
  9. Device and Platform Configuration: Connected sensors, configured user access controls, defined data transmission intervals, set up data alerts and integrated AWS into water monitoring. 
  10. Professional Service Recruitments: Recruited the professional consultant for data analysis and technical writing. 
  11. Capacity Building Implementation: Completed PMI training courses.
  12. IoT Device Re-visit: Conducted site visits for maintenance.
  13. Skills Enhancement Training: Provided training sessions to Similie and PERMATIL staff.
  14. Baseline Assessment (Project Case Study): Developed a baseline assessment report to validate PERMATIL's work on Nature Based Solutions (NBS)

Achievements, Key Recommendations and Lesson Learned

In Railaco and Remexio, two AWS and water supply monitoring systems were operationalized. Data collection commenced June 2023 and has been used as the baseline value for the monitoring indicators to validate the NBS conservation efforts. A series of training sessions were conducted for PERMATIL's and Similie's staff for skills enhancement. These sessions enabled PERMATIL's staff to access and monitor data through the cloud platform, informing water users to enhance water management practices. Furthermore, two mini case studies were developed as promotional material, and field data collection was implemented to inform the baseline assessment. PERMATIL's and Similie staff also applied the knowledge learned from the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to monitor the progress of the project and they also acquired data literacy and requirements gathering skills through the training that was developed and delivered. At the community level, we held community-based alert system workshops to educate the community about technology and internet, and how they can use alerts, to inform their decision making at the farm and catchment scale, to enhance their resilience towards climate change. 

Community alert training in Railaco
Community alert training in Railaco

Recommendations from this project include continuing monitoring to capture long-term impacts, conducting further outreach/training with the community and local NGOs, and promoting internet-based tools in Timor-Leste at the community level to further enhance their resilience to climate change.

As for the lesson learned, the project confirms the importance of local engagement to drive meaningful conversations to better support collaborators on the ground. Effective engagement of end users through training and workshops, has helped us to better understand how they want to use the data and information from the technology to inform their decisions, and the usefulness of specific data parameters to inform the effectiveness of monitoring NBS interventions.

Table of Contents

Background and Justification

Climate change has had a significant impact on Timor-Leste, affecting many sectors including the WaSH sector. Communities in rural areas are the most vulnerable and least resilient to the impacts of climate change due to their limited resources and poor infrastructure affecting water availability for drinking water, sanitation and irrigation. 

In Timor-Leste, climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, altering rainfall patterns and it has raised sea-levels that inundate coastal communities. Flood events in 2020 and 2021 proved that climate change in the region increased the chance for storms that led to flooding and landslides - destroying homes, livelihoods, infrastructure and costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars. 

While significant climate events captured the attention of WaSH sector professionals, who responded by examining the availability of water resources, water quality and the climate resilience of the WaSH infrastructure, very little attention was given to establishing of systematic monitoring of the impact of climate change on the water source and water users. Snapshots of sparse data captured at the time of extreme weather or climate events in Timor-Leste, have offered little insights into the effectiveness of current WaSH policies and program to address climate resilience of community water sources, or on the impact of climate change on community water sources. 

On the other end, PERMATIL as the local grass roots organization, had been working on water conservation issues, using indigenous knowledge, since 1999. While many communities benefited from these efforts, the government of Timor-Leste was hesitant to include this conservation work into their policies, as there were no data available to validate their efforts. Data driven science and IoT technology were the missing link in establishing the support networks needed to validate these efforts and provide a more stable water supply for rural communities in Timor-Leste.

Since 2019, Similie partnered with WaSH implementers to strengthen water resources and water supply management with Similie’s digital water monitoring systems. Using IoT technology and cloud computing we connected remote community water supply systems to those in central government who had the technical knowledge and financial resources to respond to maintenance issues. We also linked this monitoring to various climate data to understand and improve the climate resilience in rural communities in Timor-Leste to reduce climate risks to their water sources. Similie’s water management technologies helped inform on water security issues, the effectiveness of water supply engineering designs, water use behaviors, and provided near real time data for fast maintenance actions.

In this project, our main motivations were to protect and effectively manage vulnerable water resources to build climate resilience in rural Timor-Leste. Water Resource Management (WRM) was lacking in Timor-Leste, leaving many communities without safe and easy access to clean water.

Local communities were in need of effective water resource management and resilient infrastructure. Both the quantity and quality of their water resources were negatively affected by climate change, slash and burn farm practices, and lack of infrastructure in rural areas. To address this issue, we deployed our IoT tech solutions and utilized data science to gain a better understanding, validate PERMATIL’s conservation of catchment areas, and address communities' issues on a local scale. Through the collaboration of Similie and PERMATIL, communities were empowered to manage and protect their water resources while also building capacity within local government leaders to assess availability and implement best practices.

*Changes to Project Plan and Why

The 2023 Government of Timor-Leste election occurred during our project implementation, and it has impacted on our project completion schedule, and the plans for a handover of the monitoring equipment assets to the government. The new government entity responsible for water resulting were busy with their own priorities, resulting in three-month delay in engaging with them on various project details, and an agreement to hand the project assets over to PERMATIL instead of the government.    

Similie has determined a pricing model for continued maintenance of the monitoring equipment, training and engagement and outreach with the community. This however has not yet transferred into proposals for funding. However, we have had many meetings with the project partners and have an agreement of future collaboration. We are each actively looking for funding opportunities.    

Project Implementation Narrative

Problem Statement

Since gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has significantly progressed. in its development, however, many sectors, like the water sector, still need significant support. WRM is lacking in Timor-Leste, leaving many communities without safe and easy access to clean water. Approximately 1 out of every 4 people in Timor-Leste lack access to clean water. This lack of reliable and safe water supplies hinders Timor-Leste ability to achieve positive health outcomes, as evidenced by high rates of child stunting ranging from 40% and 50% which are among the highest in the world. 

Local communities were in need of effective water resource management and resilient infrastructure. Both the quantity and quality of communities’ water resources were negatively affected by climate change, slash and burn farm practices, and lack of infrastructure in rural farming. To address this issue, we deployed our IoT tech solutions and utilized data science to gain a better understanding learning more through data science, validate PERMATIL’s conservation of catchment areas, and address communities' issues on a local scale. Through the collaboration of Similie and PERMATIL, communities were empowered to manage and protect their water resources while also building capacity within local government leaders to assess availability and implement best practices.

Project Objectives

Similie aimed to provide the Government of Timor-Leste and other stakeholders in the WaSH sector with internet-based tools to implement climate-resilient WaSH programs. This was accomplished through the following project objectives:

1. Deployed an All-Weather Stations (AWS) and closed water supply monitoring system to validate PERMATIL’s work and help inform decision-makers on climate-resilient WASH policies.

2. Set up and provided training to PERMATIL staff on the utilization of Similie’s cloud-based platform. This platform equipped PERMATIL with tools to enhance their work at both the community level (weather and water alerts for communities) and national level (informed SEEAS about conservation work, informed water managers on issues faced by communities, and validated conservation work to government stakeholders).

Platform access training
Platform access training

3. Worked with communities on how they can use internet-based tools to improve their climate resiliency.

4. Developed a case study and pricing model for PERMATIL and Similie’s work – these were used to eventually inform and persuade policy makers and WaSH sector stakeholders to adopt these nature-based solutions. (notes: the case study has been completed, but the pricing model has not yet transferred into proposals for funding)

A field interview during the case study.
A field interview during the case study

Project Locations 

Project study sites were selected in agreement by both PERMATIL and Similie. The criteria that needed to be met were numerous and included the need for two sites at different stages of programming with PERMATIL – one being an established project of NBS interventions, and the other a greenfield site where NBS had not been initiated. The sites needed communities that were active in PERMATIL’s program and willing to participate in the use of technologies to inform their decision making. Both sites also needed to have good cellular coverage.

Based on these criteria, this project was implemented across two administrative posts, Remexio and Railaco, located in the Aileu and Ermera districts of Timor-Leste, respectively. The project chose communities within Remexio and Railaco for the case study due to their comparable altitudes (both communities are around 1,000m in elevation) and climates, ensuring a consistent baseline for analysis. 

Remexio serves as a case study where conservation activities were implemented from 2020-2022, while Railaco remains devoid of such interventions. By monitoring one catchment and water supply in each area, we aim to illustrate the impact of conservation efforts on water resources, providing calculable insights into the effectiveness of these measures 

Project Activities 

1. Project Kick-Off Meeting: The project began with an initial meeting between PERMATIL and Similie after signing the agreement. During this meeting, we discussed project activities, including conducting a desk review of project location maps. We also established communication channels between the two organizations and discussed initial action plans for community engagement. PERMATIL selected two focal points at the municipal/district level, one for each location in Remexio and Railaco . Additionally, a program manager from PERMATIL was appointed as the main focal point at the national level in Dili.

2. Operational Planning: This activity involved the setup of the project, accounting, and project management software. Various tools and processed were implemented to support project administration. This included the use of Zoho Projects, a project management software to track progress, manage tasks, and facilitate collaboration.

3. IoT Device Preparation: In the preparation for the IoT device, Similie staff procured IoT data loggers and data sensors, acquiring necessary materials for assembly and configuration.

4. Initial Community Engagement (Pre- Installation, orientation and gathering feedback): 

4.1 Engagement with local authorities

PERMATIL initiated the community engagement process by contacting local authorities to identify potential sites for technology deployment. They provided a brief introduction to the project and its objectives, explaining the rationale behind the site selection and proposing a tentative date for the site visit. Additionally, PERMATIL emphasized their partnership with Similie, a technological company dedicated to supporting conservation efforts through innovative solutions. 

Due to PERMATIL's longstanding positive relationships with the local community, the project received a favourable response. This facilitated the process of visiting the community and further engaging with them.

4.2 Site Engagement/ Field Assessment 

This activity served as the pre-installation stage where Similie's technology team, along with PERMATIL's focal points and the community, assessed potential sites. They provided project orientation, explaining the site selection criteria, and gathered feedback from the community for some inputs and suggestions. 

During the field assessment, PERMATIL and Similie emphasized the project objectives and the purpose of their collaboration. Similie's staff provided a brief introduction to local authorities on the technology that would be deployed, explaining its functions and the criteria used to select suitable locations for deployment. Additionally, the team highlighted the importance of security for the chosen sites. 

The field assessment was conducted in site locations as follow:

Site 1:Railaco Samalete, Administrative Post of Railaco, Municipality of Ermera

This was the initial site visited, and it exhibited topographic similarities to Remexio. In collaboration with PERMATIL’s Railaco focal point, Similie’s technology team conducted a comprehensive survey, which included an assessment of nearby water sources and available community reservoir tanks. Based on the criteria for selecting suitable sites for technology deployment, this location was deemed appropriate. Furthermore, the local authorities showed great enthusiasm for our presence, and the community was very engaging. However, during further discussion, it was discovered that Railaco Samalete had already initiated conservation activities in certain areas. This rendered it unsuitable for project implementation within the Railaco scope, which focuses on areas without prior conservation activities for the next 2-3 years. Considering this discovery, Similie’s technology team and the PERMATIL focal point mutually agreed to explore an alternative site within Railaco.

Site 2: Remexio Acumau, Administrative Post of Remexio, Municipality of Aileu: 

The second site visited is the site where conservation activities have been implemented in various areas. During the survey, three locations were assessed, and all of them showed potential for technology deployment. However, through coordination with local authorities, one area was identified as the most suitable for the technology deployment compared to the other two locations. This decision was primally based on the proximity of community reservoir tanks to the site compared to the other two locations.

Site 3: Railaco Leten, Administrative Post of Railaco, Municipality of Ermera

The third site visited is the second site in Railaco, which was found to be more suitable for technology deployment. The network coverage was good, and the area aligned with selection criteria, including being an area without prior conservation activities.

5. Community Engagement (Project and Tech orientation and Technology Ownership)

Preparation phase: Prior to the community meetings, Similie coordinated with PERMATIL to discuss the plan for the community engagement, including ensuring maximum participation from the community members. This involved emphasizing the importance of involving community representatives including local authorities, women, men, youth, and people with disabilities whenever possible.

Community meeting: The community engagement meetings conducted in both Remexio and Railaco, were attended by local authorities and community members, including women, men and youth. Representatives from the conservation youth movements, KJLO from Remexio, and TILOFE from Railaco were also present at the meetings. 

During this phase, PERMATIL and Similie further engaged with community members to ensure they were well-informed about the project, including access arrangement, timing, and the scope of activities in their areas. They aimed to cultivate a sense of ownership within the community by providing in-depth information about the project's objectives, activities, and the innovative technologies involved. The potential benefits of the project to the community were highlighted. To secure space for the technology deployment, a land ownership agreement was obtained that ensured the community’s consent to allocate space for the technology without any interventions or changes for at least 2-3 years during the project implementation. It was hoped that the long-term management and maintenance of this the technology will be a joint effort by the government and the community in the future. Furthermore, feedback and suggestions were actively solicited from community members, ensuring their input was considered in the project's implementation.

5.1 Collaboration of PERMATIL with TILOFE and KJLO

PERMATIL as a local organization, established a strong relationship with various youth movements in Timor-Leste, including KJLO and TILOFE. For this project, PERMATIL assigned one focal point from TILOFE, and one from KJLO (who was recruited as PERMATIL staff) to work on the collaboration project between Similie and PERMATIL. This strong relationship enhanced the community involvement in the conservation activities and the technology innovation to validate PERMATIL's work.

6. IoT Device Installations 

6.1 IoT device installations at Remexio

Following the community engagement, Similie‘s technology team, working in collaboration with the PERMATIL's focal point and the community, deployed the technology in Remexio in May 2023. The successful installation of the water level sensor into the water supply system, the positioning of a weather station near the water source and camera installation were accomplished during this phase. Challenges related to pipe connections, specifically the transition from GI pipe to poly material, led to the delayed installation of the flow meter, which took place two months later. Finally, all the technology components were deployed and configured in Similie’s cloud platform, Parabl system. 

6.2 IoT device Installations at Railaco

Similarly, in Railaco, the technology deployment was successfully completed. Both water level and water flow sensors were installed into the water supply system, along with a weather station near the water source in Railaco and camera installation. The deployed technology was also configured in Similie’s Parabl system.

7. Equipment System Checked: Data had been pushed to the platform, and the operational status of the stations and beta-camera-installation was confirmed. 

8. Dashboard Consultation Meeting: In June 2023, Similie held an initial meeting with PERMATIL’s technical staff to gather data requirements. The purpose was to discuss and understand the parameters and design preferences for the dashboard, aligning with PERMATIL’s needs for their conservation efforts.During the meeting, the Similie team introduced the platform and presented the existing parameters and dashboard for the water supply monitoring system and All-Weather Stations. This presentation helped guide PERMATIL in identifying the essential information required to support their work. The initial information collected, was later reviewed in more detail during a training session on data requirements gathering. This session further explored the parameters needed and the desired design of the dashboard. 

9. Device and Platform Configuration: During this phase, the Similie's technology team ensured the connectivity of sensors, set device-specific parameters for data transmission intervals, configured user access controls, confirmed data visualization dashboard and integrated the All-Weather Stations in the water monitoring system. 

The data from the water supply monitoring system and the AWS was remotely monitored since June 2023. 

10. Professional Service Recruitment: For this deliverable of the activity, Similie recruited two consultants for different purposes. They were Technical Writer with M&E specialist background and Data Analytics Consultant for data literacy and visualizations, and requirement gathering purposes.

10.1 Technical Writer/Consultant

A technical writer with expertise in M&E was hired to assist the Similie team in creating a baseline assessment. Initially conceptualized as a case study in the project proposal, this assessment aimed to validate and build upon PERMATIL’s NBS efforts. The consultant worked collaboratively, both independently and with the Similie and PERMATIL teams to deliver the required outputs. The Similie and PERMATIL teams assisted by providing project details, organizing field visits, reviewing draft materials, and received training in relevant areas that supported project's implementation and field data collection for the baseline assessment. The consultant's deliverables included the development of M&E framework, training in the creation of case studies and establishing M&E for project and a Baseline Assessment report. The M&E framework results and Baseline Assessment Report documents were attached in the submission of this report.

Open Street Map (OMS) training
Open Street Map (OSM) training

10.2 Data Analytics Consultant

A data analytics consultant was hired to lead the development of data literacy training modules, conduct training facilitations (including mentoring Similie's facilitators), and to assist in the facilitation and development of a requirement gathering process with stakeholders that informed the development of analytics and dashboards. The deliverable from the consultant included: the development of data literacy and visualization training module, development of training manuals, training materials and delivering the training. The Data Literacy Report document is attached in the submission of this report.

11. Capacity Building Implementation - Official PMI online courses: Similie's ISIF's project leader and program manager have completed online courses on Project Management Professional (PMP) and Project Management Basic (PMB). Each course consisted of several modules including practice tests. The skills and knowledge learned from the training were relevant to project implementation in any sector and provided knowledge to guide the project team in understanding, leading, and implementing this project. Both the program manager and the ISIF project leader updated the General Manager on their progress; however, the exam had not yet been conducted. This delay was due to busy schedules in project activities and the process involved for the exam. Participant must meet the eligibility criteria to sit for the final PMP and PMB certification exam. The prerequisites and qualifications required to meet this eligibility requirements are challenging as it requires audits of certificates to be submitted, something which is challenging in Timor-Leste. The program manager and ISIF Project leader intended to participate in the exam for certified PMP and PMB in the coming months as time allows. 

12. IoT Device Re-visit: Ensuring the maintenance of the deployed technology is crucial for sustainability. The technology team conducted site maintenance visits to ensure the system was working properly. This maintenance guaranteed the functionality of the technology, the continuation of data collection, and the provision of information to water user managers and the community regarding their water supply and water resource management systems. This information is essential for the community to continue building resilience against climate change. 

13. Skills Enhancement Training: 

a. Case Study Training: 

The technical writer conducted a case study training in July 2023 for the project. The training aimed to teach participants on how to conduct and write a case study, with a focus on supporting the baseline assessment activity and future implementation projects. The training was over four days and included a total of 13 participants (9 males, 4 females) from Similie, PERMATIL and WaterAid Timor-Leste. The first two days covered fundamentals of the case study approach, while the remaining two days involved on-site visits for practical information gathering and data compilation. As a result of the training, participants gained knowledge in various aspects of case study development, such as defining topics, formulating research questions, conducting literature reviews, learning data collection and compilation techniques and writing case studies. Overall, the participants developed two practice case studies from different projects selected, which are relevant to Similie and PERMATIL's work. The two case studies developed were attached in the document included in this report.

b. Platform Access Training

Similie's ISIF project leader and the Customer Success Team (CST) conducted Platform Access training for PERMATIL staff in August 2023. The training was an introductory session for the Parabl platform, focusing on Water Monitoring System and All-Weather Stations. Participants learned essential concepts and competencies to effectively manage the system and data, aligning with objectives of their institution. The training lasted two days and included 11 participants (10 males, 1 female), including PERMATIL's program manager, technical staff, and one female intern. The first day covered theory of the platform access and functionality, while the second day included practical stimulation to reinforce the concepts from the first day. Participants practiced accessing, monitoring, filtering and downloading data, as well as writing alert messages and sending alerts to others accessing the platform. Additionally, there was a discussion to gather ideas about the platform and feedback to support data requirement gathering. 

c. Data Literacy & Visualizations Training - Internal Similie Staff

In September 2023, the Data Analytics consultant delivered the Data Literacy and Visualization training to Similie staff. The training aimed to enhance Similie's ability to facilitate people-centered workshops on data literacy and requirements gathering. The specific objective was to strengthen Similie's data literacy skills, enabling better conversation with users about data, understanding of what makes a “good” dashboard (for users & Similie) and collecting feedback and input for the user version of the Module. The training spanned two days and had 11 participants (7 males, 4 females), including management level, CST and technology team. The first day covered the theory of working with and interpreting data, while the second day focused on understanding and crafting data stories and working with dashboards. Participants gained basic data literacy skills, learned the purpose of data collections, type of graphs and its purpose, and how to tell the data story, as well as how to select the most suitable desirable graphs or concepts for future dashboard development. As a result, a mockup dashboard was developed for reference. 

d. Community-Based Alert System Workshop

PERMATIL staff training:

In October 2023, a session on the Community Alert-Based System was conducted in Dili, facilitated by Similie's ISIF project leader and the CST. The training provided guidance to PERMATIL's staff on the alert system for water supply and early warning systems, enabling them create alerts on the data and disseminate this knowledge back to the community. Participants gained a clear understanding of the alert system's operation including message content, alert colour codes, accessing official alert information on relevant social media pages, methods for disseminating information to the community, and stakeholder mapping for communication, action and support purposes. Please refer to the Project Implementation Narrative document attached for the SMS alerts information and action planned by the community.

A total of seven participants (all males) attended this two-day training. The first day covered fundamental concepts and types of alerts, familiarizing participants with alert notification methods, monitoring and receiving alerts, interpreting and disseminating alerts and identifying recipients of the alerts. The second day focused on interactive activities, where participants explored water management practices and mapped stakeholders at the municipal and national levels.  As a result, PERMATIL staff developed action plans for community workshops in Railaco and Remexio led by focal points from both locations. 

Community Workshops:

In January 2024, workshops on the Community Alert-Based System were conducted in two locations, led by focal points from Remexio and Railaco. The workshops aimed to guide the community on the alert system for water supply and early warning systems, helping them understand the benefits of the monitoring system and how the alert messages can improve water management practices and preparedness for climate change impacts. Participants gained a clear understanding of the alert system's operation including message content, alert color codes, accessing official alert information on relevant social media pages, methods for disseminating information to the community, stakeholder mapping, and explored better practices for water supply and resource management to enhance resilience to climate change.

A total of 16 participants (8 males, 8 females) attended the workshop in Remexio, while 45 participants (32 males,13 females) attended the workshop in Railaco. Both communities showed great enthusiasm in learning the information shared during the workshops, especially regarding SMS alerts, color codes and the official social media pages for the alert information. Five people from each location were identified to receive SMS alerts. The SMS alerts will continue to be sent to the community for another six months until hopefully more funds will cover the continuation. Additionally, during discussions with the community, they suggested that PERMATIL and Similie to seek support to continue providing maintenance for the deployed monitoring system, as they considered it crucial for the community. They expressed hope that the monitoring stations will not be abandoned after the project is completed, as this would be a waste of time and resources. 

e. M&E Training - both Similie and PERMATIL's staff

In October 2023, training on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) was conducted in Dili, facilitated by a technical writer consultant specializing in the area. The one-day introduction to M&E training was tailored to provide Similie and PERMATIL staff with a foundational understanding of key concepts, tools, and techniques used in M&E. This topic was selected as one of the capacity building materials in this project, as M&E are important tools to assess whether a project or program was on track, achieving its objectives and having the intended impact. 

The training objectives were to understand the importance of M&E in project management, familiarize participants with key M&E concepts, introduce basic M&E tools and techniques and provide hands-on experience through practical exercises. There were eight participants (7males, 1 female) who participated in this training. Three of them were focal points for this project from PERMATIL, and the remaining five were Similie's ISIF project leader and other staff.

Participants learned how to articulate project success in terms of projects M&E, defined and discussed key M&E concepts such as indicators, baseline and data collection method and practiced developing an M&E framework for a project. During the session, some participants found it challenging to grasp the flow of an M&E framework as this was a new learning area for them. As a result, there was a suggestion to conduct a refresher training on this subject in the future to enhance learning. 

f. Data Literacy and Data Requirements Training - PERMATIL's staff

After the initial training conducted in September 2023, the Data Literacy and Dashboard Requirements Gathering training module for PERMATIL's staff was collaboratively developed by the Consultant and Similie staff through an iterative process. Drawing on the experience from the initial training with Similie's staff, the Module for platform users was refined to address the existing issues and requirements for the dashboard, informed by previous conversations with users and Similie staff’s own experience and knowledge. 

This training aimed to enhance the team and partner's data literacy skills, as well as their ability to have confident and meaningful discussions about data and how it can be used. The specific objective was to understand the importance of data literacy and how it can support other work, explore links between research objectives, parameters, data, and practical application or decision-making, and grasp the basics of data and graph interpretation, graph usage and dashboard requirements gathering. 

The training was over three days and had four male participants. Unfortunately, no women participated as PERMATIL activities was conducting other field activities at the same time. Despite efforts to schedule the training when a maximum number of participants, including women could attend, this was the only available timing for the training. Additionally, invitations were extended to other stakeholders such as WaterAid and Government staff, but they weren't able to make it due to other schedule commitments. 

Training participants gained basic data literacy skills, learned the purpose of data collection and type of graphs, how to tell a data story, and how to select the most suitable data concepts to answer the questions in a project. A data literacy report was developed including a parameter list suggested by PERMATIL, data visualization through graphs and feedback on user experience.

g. Open Street Mapping Training - PERMATIL's Staff

After extensive discussions with the PERMATIL team, it was observed that the technical staff required training to map out the locations where conservation activities were held. As a result, a workshop on OpenStreetMap (OSM) was conducted for PERMATIL staff. The OSM session was led by Similie's Customer Success Team and co-supported by Similie's ISIF project leader. There were 13 participants from PERMATIL (9 males, 4 females) took part in this workshop. This training aimed to introduce the OSM tool and demonstrate how it can be used to support PERMATIL's staff identifying the locations for conservation activities.

Participants were taught to familiarize themselves with the OSM tool, mapped out some of the conservation areas conducted in the OSM.

14. Baseline Assessment: 

The objective of the assessment was to investigate the effectiveness of nature-based solutions in Timor-Leste, stakeholder capabilities in using internet-based tools, and possible stakeholder behaviour changes due to data-driven conservation activities. Specific objectives included demonstrating PERMATIL's nature-based solutions' efficacy in influencing policies and programming on water resource management in Timor-Leste, highlighting the value added by Similie's technological solutions, and assessing changes in community members' awareness and resilience towards climate change and water scarcity.

The study focused in Remexio and Railaco, to build on quantitative baseline information related to water level, precipitation, soil moisture, soil temperature. Additionally, qualitative data from stakeholders, including PERMATIL, Similie, and local communities, provided insights into project implementation and stakeholder responses to technology and nature-based solutions. The methodology used in the baseline assessment was a mixed-methods approach, involving in-depth interviews, document review, synthesis of cloud data, observation, and questionnaires. The combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques offered a comprehensive understanding of the project's impact. However, there were some notable limitations related to the temporal limited of the available data sets and no investigation into gender dynamics among community members regarding conservation efforts and the use of technology. 

Timor-Leste's economic challenges and vulnerability to climate change provided a crucial context for the project. Emphasis on accurate climate information and the establishment of policies and nature-based solutions for water resource management aligned with the nation's urgent need to address climate change impacts, especially regarding water scarcity and security issues impacting economic growth throughout rural Timor-Leste.

The geographical comparison of Railaco and Remexio revealed the significance of local conservation efforts on water-related parameters. The hypothesis regarding differing water inflow rates in communities with conservation efforts was supported by the data, and statistical analyses comparing the two study sites, underscoring the importance of NBS approaches for improving soil moisture and water sources under climate change. Please refer to attached Baseline Assessment Report for further information.

15. Pricing Model

Extensive discussions were conducted with PERMATIL regarding the extension of the collaboration with Similie, focusing on expanding number of years of data collection for the end-line results. These discussions included how PERMATIL plans to maintain the deployed technology before handing it over to the government in the future, alternative methods and/or specific parameters for data collection, potential collaborators, and strategies for engaging more youth and communities. However, PERMATIL also mentioned difficulties regarding human resources to lead this project in the future, given the experience in the recent project, as their staff was mostly occupied with different projects that are focused specifically on the NBS intervention themselves, rather than the data collection of their impact, even though PERMATIL, were being paid for their efforts in the project. This led to some challenges in setting and managing project priorities with PERMATIL. To overcome this, they suggested having a specific paid person focus on leading this collaboration effort in the future. 

Similie has determined a pricing model for continued maintenance of the monitoring equipment, training and engagement and outreach with the community. This however has not yet transferred into proposals for funding. However, we have had many meetings with the project partners and have an agreement of future collaboration. We are each actively looking for funding opportunities.

16. On-going Maintenance - Post Project Completion

To maintain the proper functioning of the system, ongoing maintenance is crucial. This maintenance ensures that the technology functions correctly, continues to collect data, and provides information to water user managers and the community about their water supply and water resource management systems. Since the handover to the government has not yet occurred, Similie has allocated funds from the remaining budget from the project, to cover the cost of ongoing maintenance for the next six months. This is to prevent the system from being abandoned and to maintain the trust of the community in the deployed technology and the established collaboration. During the community workshop on the alert-based system, participants requested that Similie and PERMATIL ensure the system's continuity and the delivery of alert messages, as this information is crucial for the community to continue building resilience against climate change. 

Project Challenges 

Throughout the project's one-year implementation period, Similie and PERMATIL encountered various challenges at different stages. Some of these challenges also affected the project timeline, resulting in the need of a three-month extension to complete the project. The following were the project challenges:

1. Field Visit Schedule Arrangement: Aligning field visit schedules with the community's availability for assessment and engagement proved challenging due to various community activities. These included government election campaigns, preparation for PERMATIL's Permayouth Camp and other local events, all of which caused delays in project execution. 

2. Field Assessment at Multiple Sites: Field assessments were conducted at more than two sites as part of the site selection process, adding time to the site selection. This shifted the project execution timeline as expected.

3. The Delay in Procurement Delivery: The delays in the procurement delivery of the technology at Tibar Port (a new port established), resulted in a shift in the deployment schedule. 

4. Technical Issue: Transitioning the connection pipes from galvanized pipes to poly pipes, with different sizes to fit the sensor connections to install the flow meters, required additional more visits to each site than planned. This resulted in delays of between 1-2 months for data collection. 

5. Lack of Participation during Training: Some skills enhancement training experienced low attendance from PERMATIL's staff, primarily because of concurrent field activities. Although the time arrangements had been discussed initially to ensure maximum participation, last minutes changes from the partner's side frequently occurred, impacting overall participation. 

6. Lack of Gender Equality Promotion: During the training conducted by Similie, we observed a very minimal involvement of women from our partner side. This was mainly because there was a higher proportion of male staff and volunteers at PERMATIL, than females. Additionally, most of the women who were either technical staff or the volunteers were primarily engaged in fieldwork at the community level, leaving them with limited availability for training participation. Despite Similie's effort to communicate the training schedule in advance and coordinate with PERMATIL to ensure women's participation, it was challenging to increase the involvement of women in these activities.

7. Ensuring the seamless integration of technology into existing conservation practices: The transition from traditional methods to technology-driven approaches required substantial effort in terms of training and community engagement. Additionally, the variability in technological literacy among focal points and community members posed a challenge to the widespread adoption and effective use of the tools provided.

8. Stakeholders Engagement & Delay in Technology Handover: The involvement of stakeholders, particularly government representatives, faced challenges due to shifts in the government's institutional framework for water. This led to difficulties in communicating and coordinating with the government's new water body, the Secretary Estate of Electricity, Water and Sanitation (SEEAS), which was previously led by the National Authority for Water and Sanitation (ANAS, I.P.). Similie, PERMATIL and other water stakeholders had previously built relationships with the former government entity for smooth implementation of the project, but these relationships required restarting and competed with the priorities of the new government. This resulted in government representatives being unable to attend training provided in this project and delayed the technology handover to the government.

9. Consistent communication and coordination: Maintaining consistent communication and coordination between PERMATIL and Similie was a challenge. The complexity of merging conservation work with advanced technology necessitated a high degree of coordination, which was sometimes difficult to achieve given the distinct operational cultures and priorities of each organization. Moreover, limited personnel resources from PERMATIL's side have hindered partner's ability to actively participate on the tight schedules of this project. 

10. Pricing Model Development: The development of a pricing model for our future collaboration has not yet led to additional sources of funding. While discussions regarding future collaboration have taken place and we have an agreement of future collaboration. Both parties are actively looking for funding opportunities.

11. MoU Development: Discussions were held with PERMATIL regarding the development of an MoU, and the basic parameters of this have been discussed and agreed however, it has not been realized yet due to partner's busy schedule.

Project Activities, Deliverables and Indicators

Beginning of Project

Site Preparation and IoT data logger instillation*For simplicity we have listed our five main activity headings. Please see the attached work-plan with a detailed budget and project timeline.3

Middle of Project

Data Analysis and Platform Upgrades*For simplicity we have listed our five main activity headings. Please see the attached work-plan with a detailed budget and project timeline.9
Training: Similie Staff3

Throughout the Project

Community Engagement*For simplicity we have listed our five main activity headings. Please see the attached work-plan with a detailed budget and project timeline.12
Project ManagementProject Focused Monthly Managers meeting, Technical Case Study, Project Focused End-of-Quarter meeting, Final Report12
Signed agreement and project kick-off on monitoring catchment activities with IoT technologyCompleted
Number of IoT device Installed (All-Weather Stations and closed water supply monitoring system)Completed
Completion of system (dashboard) design for catchment analysisCompleted
Device and Platform ConfigurationCompleted
Number of PERMATIL staff/stakeholders trained on using the cloud-based platform.Completed
Baseline assessment design and scopingCompleted
Data analytics consultantCompleted
Capacity building trainingCompleted
Baseline Assessment (Case Study)Completed
Number of PERMATIL staff/stakeholders trained on Data Literacy and Requirements GatheringCompleted

Key Deliverables - Detail

Deliverable: Signed agreement and project kick-off on monitoring catchment activities with IoT technology
Status: Completed
Start Date: January 4, 2023
Completion Date: January 4, 2023
Baseline:Before the project, no baseline data existed for government, NGO, or private partners to measure catchment area conservation efforts. All existing data was qualitative, resulting in little government funding support.
Activities: Sign agreement between Similie and PERMATIL and project kick-off meeting
Outcomes: Validation of PERMATIL conservation efforts
Additional Comments: This indicator measures the extent to which catchment activities are monitored using IoT technology within a 12-month period starting from the project kickoff.
Deliverable: Number of IoT device Installed (All-Weather Stations and closed water supply monitoring system)
Status: Completed
Start Date: February 7, 2023
Completion Date: May 9, 2023
Baseline:Before the project, no monitoring catchment tools existed in the selected area. Remexio has had ongoing conservation activities that started about two years ago, but no baseline data from these activities that has been measured. Railaco did not have any conservation activities, but they are scheduled to start in 2 or 3 years.
Activities: IoT device installation - deployed All-Weather Stations and closed water supply monitoring system including beta camera in Remexio and Railaco Input required: conduct Initial community engagement and field assessment for pre-installation, orientation and feedback, and community engagement for project and tech orientation and tech community ownership.
Outcomes: PERMATIL staff and government stakeholders accessed and used the technology to help inform decision-makers on climate-resilient WASH policies
Additional Comments: Install two sets of IoT data loggers (each set of All-Weather Stations and water supply system) with beta version camera launch. One in Remexio (Aileu Timor-Leste) and one in Railaco (Ermera Timor Leste).
Deliverable: Completion of system (dashboard) design for catchment analysis
Status: Completed
Start Date: June 22, 2023
Completion Date: November 24, 2023
Baseline:The Simile platform is highly configurable. To this point the platform has been primarily used to monitor early warnings and logistics management. Two of our current configurations will be used as starting points. Our weather and early warning system dashboard and our water supply management dashboard. The dashboard redesign is to merge the two above concepts.
Activities: Dashboard design workshop Input required: Initial dashboard design consultation meeting between Similie and PERMATIL,Platform training with PERMATIL, ANAS and other relevant stakeholders
Outcomes: The Water Resource Management Dashboard is providing the data in a simplified format that helps decision makers understand what actions they should take.
Additional Comments: This indicator measures the progress and completion of the system design phase for catchment analysis. Similie meet with 3 members of PERMATIL and 3 members of ANAS (a Timor Leste government institution) to plan the design and configuration of a new dashboard for catchment analysis. By August 2023
Deliverable: Device and Platform Configuration
Status: Completed
Start Date: May 10, 2023
Completion Date: May 12, 2023
Baseline:For the most part this is a fairly routine activity. However, we will be field deploying cameras for the first time. We have control tested them in an office environment.
Activities: IoT Device Installation
Outcomes: Data from All-Weather Stations and the Water Supply Monitoring are now available through the platform to inform decision making.
Additional Comments: Integrate two remote IoT devices and beta camera with our existing platform by March 17th 2023
Deliverable: Number of PERMATIL staff/stakeholders trained on using the cloud-based platform.
Status: Completed
Start Date: August 7, 2023
Completion Date: August 8, 2023
Baseline:PERMATIL staff have no prior experience using the Similie platform or any data analytics tools to capture quantitative conservation data.
Activities: Platform training
Outcomes: PERMATIL staff and government stakeholders accessed and used the technology to help inform decision-makers on climate-resilient WASH policies
Additional Comments: This indicator counts the number of individual PERMATIL staff and stakeholders who will receive Similie training. Similie led training delivered to PERMATIL staff (3-6 people), for Platform use, how to interpret IoT device data, and how the dashboard presents the data captured. By August 11th 2023
Deliverable: Baseline assessment design and scoping
Status: Completed
Start Date: July 19, 2023
Completion Date: August 10, 2023
Baseline:We anticipate Railaco will be used in two case studies. First the initial case study, after ~12 months of data capture, as the control group. Second, we anticipate enough viable data to write a before-and-after case study. Since we will be capturing data before conservation activities for 1-3 years and 1-3 years after. Remexio will be used in the initial case study, delivered after 12 months, as the treatment area.
Activities: Writing Initial Scope of Baseline Assessment - Case study training
Outcomes: The development of baseline assessment will provide in-depth insights and evidence of the effectiveness and impact of PERMATIL and Similie's nature-based solutions. These baseline assessment will serve as persuasive tools to inform and persuade policy makers and WASH sector stakeholders to adopt similar approaches.
Additional Comments: This indicator measure numbers of Similie and PERMATIL staff involved in the initial scoping of the Baseline assessment (previously identified as case study) . 4 members of PERMATIL 7 Similie staff This activity will guide Similie staff and PERMATIL staff for the development of the baseline assessment writing. Due August 4th 2023
Deliverable: Data analytics consultant
Status: Completed
Start Date: September 14, 2023
Completion Date: October 15, 2023
Baseline:We currently have rain and soil moisture analysis tools, and we are working on a flood forecasting model. This will be the first time we analyze our water management systems data and our early warning systems data together.
Activities: Data Analysis Training
Outcomes: With an improved understanding of our climate and water resources data, decision makers will be able to make better informed decision that contribute to the climate resiliences of communities, and also inform better climate adaptation actions in WASH policies.
Additional Comments: Internally audit all data coming from the IoT devices, onboard the data analytics consultant, and work with the consultant to develop formulas for catchment conservation analysis. Focusing on causal relationships between rain, soil moisture, and spring flow rates. by 28th September 2023
Deliverable: Capacity building training
Status: Completed
Start Date: June 12, 2023
Completion Date: April 30, 2024
Baseline:Dulce and Luz are all currently managing projects at Similie. Luz is more experienced in managing projects with project management software tools such as Zoho or Microsoft. Dulce is more proficient in managing team members and delegating tasks. PMB and PMP courses and certification will expedite this process and help these two members move into a more senior role.
Activities: PMI online course-PMB & PMP exam
Outcomes: Similie project management staff increased their skills in the management level and able to manage projects effectively.
Additional Comments: PMP and PMB courses for two staff members (Dulce Soates and Luzerio Teme) PMP and PMB courses completed by March 2024
Deliverable: Baseline Assessment (Case Study)
Status: Completed
Start Date: November 13, 2023
Completion Date: December 18, 2023
Baseline:Similie has prior experience with writing a technical case study in the past while working with Mercy corps. However, This will be the first time Similie is the lead organization on this effort. PERMATIL recently on boarded an Australian volunteer (AVI) that will be assisting in the this process for the PERMATIL side.
Activities: Writing Baseline Assessment (Case Study)
Outcomes: The development of case studies will provide in-depth insights and evidence of the effectiveness and impact of PERMATIL and Similie's nature-based solutions. These case studies will serve as persuasive tools to inform and persuade policy makers and WaSH sector stakeholders to adopt similar approaches.
Additional Comments: Technical baseline assessment will be finalized and submitted for publication. November 24th 2023
Deliverable: Number of PERMATIL staff/stakeholders trained on Data Literacy and Requirements Gathering
Status: Completed
Start Date: November 20, 2023
Completion Date: November 24, 2023
Baseline:PERMATIL staff and some of the stakeholders have no prior experience working directly with data or use any data analytics tools to capture quantitative conservation data.
Activities: Data Literacy and Visualization & Data Requirements Gathering Training
Outcomes: PERMATIL staff and government stakeholders accessed and used the technology to help inform decision-makers on climate-resilient WASH policies
Additional Comments: This indicator counts the number of individual PERMATIL staff and/or stakeholders who received Similie and Expert training. Similie led training delivered to PERMATIL staff (3-6 people) with Expert support, for Data Literacy and Visualization Skills & Requirements Gathering - understand why we need data for, what is the data is going to use for, how to interpret data and how to communicate back the data to the end user. By November 4th 2023

Project Review and Assessment

The project achieved 100% completion and met all of its overall objectives. This included deploying two water monitoring systems and all-weather stations at both locations, Railaco and Remexio. These systems have allowed the project implementer to collect data for baseline assessments and compare results from both locations to validate PERMATIL's work. 

Approximately 15 PERMATIL staff and 10 Similie staff attended various training skills. The training provided varied from data monitoring using Similie's cloud platform, writing case studies, M&E knowledge, data literacy and data requirements gathering, and using the OpenStreetMap (OSM). Additionally, a total of 68 individuals from community members from Remexio and Railaco including PERMATIL staff received the community-based alert system workshop training. 

Community alert training in Railaco
Community alert training in Railaco

Two of Similie’s project staff attended online project management training and used these new skills in this project's implementation. 

The development of the baseline assessment showed some initial positive results, based on only 6 months of data collection. This suggested that we are collecting the right parameters, however there is still a need to collect more data to validate the impact of PERMATIL's NBS interventions on catchment water resources.

However, during the project implementation, the government elections and changes to government priorities meant that it was difficult to get government engagement across the duration of the project, this resulted in few government staff attending training, and the handover of the technology assets was to PERMATIL, not the government, as originally planned. Nevertheless, Similie used a different water forum that was being attended by national water stakeholders, including Similie, PERMATIL and WaterAid to present the results from the APNIC project to the national wash sector, including government. The workshop was attended by representatives from the government including the Secretary of State for Electricity, Water and Sanitation (SEEAS), the National Directory of Meteorological and Geophysics (DNMG), the public enterprise water institute, Bee Timor-Leste (BTL), local leaders and the media. Similie was interviewed by national TV and several media platforms regarding its technology and the collaboration with PERMATIL to validate the NBS approach.  

What were the most important findings, outcomes and outputs of the project? What are your plans to use and promote them?


- PERMATIL technical team showed enthusiasm for learning about OSM, noting its potential to map conservation areas and related activities, as well as to identify coverage areas and other critical needs in water and land conservation, including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). 

- The alert system informed the community about the water supply issues early and allowing them to take fast actions to address the issue. 

Example 1: The community water tank in Remexio remained unfilled for an entire week without anyone noticing. It wasn't until the Similie and the PERMATIL focal points brought it to the attention of the community that the issue of under-supply in the tank was acknowledged, prompting the community to investigate the cause. Upon examination, it was discovered that the water distribution pipe had been disconnected due to interference from animals. In response to the alerts, the community promptly took action by checking the water flow in the distribution pipes. They were surprisingly happy that the technology deployed could detected this issue remotely.

- Partners were excited to share information and action messages to the community upon receiving the alert message. 

Example 2: When forecasted wind speed was high, alerts are sent to community members warning them of the threat of the strong winds, and to not to cut trees, throw the cigarette butts carelessly, and slash and burn the soil and trees. 

- The community (elderly and youth) were very enthusiastic about receiving weather information through alerts that could help them make decisions about what they do in the catchment and promoting behavioral change. They were excited to learn important information from the internet could be automatically delivered to their phones and allow them to stay informed about their weather and climate.

Through interviews, we learned that almost community members interviewed agreed that conservation activities did contribute to improved water availability and the restoration of their local environment. They illustrated this through their own observations of how the catchments have changed since NBS interventions occurred.


Among project partners, rural communities, the government and other WaSH stakeholders in Timor-Leste, there is an increased awareness and use of:

- The positive impact of nature-based solutions interventions to catchment water resources, and the evidence base available to support this.

- How IoT technologies and internet-based tools can be used to monitor conservation efforts, and how this data, and other cloud-based technologies, can be packaged and sent to end users to help them make informed decisions on the ground that can impact on their resilience to climate change.

- How to access and use internet-based tools that can help improve resilience to climate change.

- How to use data to answer questions and tell data informed stories about the impact of projects.   

- How to establish effective monitoring and evaluation approaches to assess impact and to write case studies. 


- Two catchments have monitoring equipment installed to capture data on the impact of conservation efforts.

- A Data Literacy and Data Visualization training module was developed and delivered.

- A Data Literacy Report was developed to inform the importance of data literacy knowledge and skills to support the data collection and how to communicate back to the community.

- Two specialist consultants were engaged for specific outputs related to data literacy and monitoring and evaluation.

- An M&E framework and training was developed and delivered.

- A Baseline Assessment Report was developed to validate the impact of PERMATIL's NBS approach.

- Training on how to write effective case study with two case studies being developed for use with the community.

What contribution to Internet development did the project make? Is there already evidence of positive impact?

There are several clear examples of a positive impact from the project already on how the community views internet based tools;

-Through community engagement meetings and community-based alert system workshop, we improved community understanding of how the internet can be used to improve their water supply service operations and maintenance. Via remote monitoring of a water supply tank, we detected and alerted the community to the fact that a tank was not filling up as it should. The community was able to use this alert information to check the water supply lines and repair the water supply that had been damaged by animals. 

- Through alerts of weather forecast information we impacted on the farming and land use behaviors of the local community. Alerts for forecasted high winds to our focal point in Railaco resulted in the community advising one another on actions to avoid the potential for wildfires, such to not slash and burn, cut trees, or carelessly dispose of cigarettes on that day.

To what extent has the project lived up to its potential for growth/further development? 

The development of the baseline assessment has shown some initial positive results, based on only based on6 months data collection. This suggests that we are collecting the right parameters, however there is still a need to collect more data to validate the impact of PERMATIL's NBS interventions on catchment water resources to fully influence the policymakers on NBS approach to water resource management for climate change resilience. 

To what extent have the project activities supported the development of local technical capacity? 

A lot of training, workshops and points of engagement occurred throughout the project that supported the development of local technical capacity among all project stakeholders, including the Similie Team.

Training was developed and delivered across many areas including, how to access and use internet-based tools for weather and climate information, how to use data to influence policy, data literacy and how to use data to tell stories, how to establish effective M&E frameworks and to write case studies. Similie also delivered additional training on OSM when partner expressed their need to map out coverage area of the conservation activities. 

What lessons can be derived that would be useful in improving future performance?

- People centered approaches are important delivering successful technology projects. To ensure that the people we collaborate with comprehend our capabilities and actively participate in contributing ideas, it is essential to engage in meaningful conversations with end users that delve into how we can better support them. We need a strong desire to understand the reasons behind their needs, so that we can match that to the project's outcomes.

- Engagement with partners and stakeholders early in project inception can help get the data requirements right. Through discussions and data requirements gathering processes, we learned more about what are the important information and data parameters are most useful to PERMATIL to support their work.

-Training project partners, who have existing relationships with the end-users is important for technology adoption. We learned that it is important to provide a robust training framework to ensure that PERMATIL’s community focal points can effectively utilize the technology.

To what extent has the project helped build the capacity of your institution or of the individuals involved? 

This project has provided Similie staff with some valuable training opportunities and allowed Similie to build capacity around the application of our technologies to new applications.

- Similie's Program manager and ISIF Project leader participated in online training on Project Management Basics and Project Management Professional.

- Approximately seven topics of skills enhancement training, including Case Study, Platform Access, Community Alert-Based System, M&E, Data Literacy and Data Requirements Gathering and OpenStreetMap training was provided to PERMATIL's staff to increase their knowledge of technology and project management. 

- This project allowed Similie to take an interdisciplinary approach to the use of our technologies. Previously we have focused on hydrometeorology and water supply separately, however this project allowed us to link these to water resources management, early warning systems and weather information services. 

Were certain aspects of project design, management, and implementation particularly important to the success of the project?

The team's organizational and communication skills were important to the success of the project. Similie continuously communicated with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone understood the project and its objective. This was incredibly important, as the project aimed to introduce new internet-based technologies to communities and individuals with limited understanding of digital tools or their use. Being nimble and responsive to our partners needs also allowed us to respond to a skills gap that we identified early, being providing training in OpenStreetMapping (OSM) which allowed the project to have a more powerful impact.

Diversity and Inclusion

Similie prioritizes diversity and inclusiveness within our organization. In this project, we were committed to ensuring the inclusive participation of all individuals in the project implementation. Our approach strongly encouraged our partners to actively involve women, girls, people with disabilities and other marginalized group in community engagement efforts, and technical meetings and training sessions. Considering that climate change impacts everyone, 

and disproportionately margin groups in a community, it was crucial to ensure that all community members can benefit from this project and have their diverse needs heard. However, in the project implementation, we observed that there were lack of women participation during skills enhancement training despite the encouragement provided during coordination. This was due to high number of male staff in PERMATIL, with only a small number are women, mostly working at the municipal level.

During the PERMAYOUTH Camp, where we were also invited to participate, we observed there was a group of LGBTIQ members involved in their activities and a high number of women participated in the activity.

Project Communication

Throughout the project, Similie conducted a range of communication and dissemination efforts to ensure effective project outreach and engagement to all project stakeholders. 

Various communications used during the project duration were as follows:

a. Communication with partners and community of beneficiaries

Held regular meetings: The communication between Similie and PERMATIL played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth progress of the project. Meetings between Similie and PERMATIL served as a vital platform for exchanging information, discussing community engagements, conducting site visits, analysing data, and linking various project-related details with PERMATIL. Effective communication strategies were essential for the success of the project; however, this was only maintained in the initial few months. From August 2023 onwards, regular and effective communications from PERMATIL was challenged by their changing priorities and busy schedule. Similie staff-maintained communications through calls and messages, and also madeefforts to connect with PERMATIL and other stakeholders through other means.

WhatsApp group: Similie set-up a WhatsApp Group between PERMATIL, and the communities we are working with. WhatsApp is popular in Timor-Leste and provided a quick approach to scheduling activities, especially considering that communities in a rural area did not have access to email, and phone credits for phone calls is expensive. This group allowed us to provide brief project updates, quick follow-ups, and encouraging participation from all stakeholders in project activities.

b. Communication with relevant stakeholders

- Similie ensured that we promoted our collaboration with PERMATIL in all communication with relevant stakeholders, including government institutions, we promoted our collaboration with PERMATIL. We specifically, highlighted how and why we collaborated, focusing on nature-based solutions and the validation of the impact of conservation activities with other stakeholders. We are aware that other water sectors are also collaborating with PERMATIL for conservation efforts activities in an effort to connect with other groups that are also working in this space in Timor-Leste. Highlighting this collaboration allowed us to emphasize the end point of wanting to persuade policy makers and stakeholders in the WASH sector to adopt these nature-based solutions.

- We also included our project partners to participate in the interview and data collection activities and M&E training, to ensure that they also have the skills needed to promote project outcomes - not just with this project, but future projects, as well.

- We established a relationship with the President of Timor-Leste, who visited the Similie office last year. During the visit, we presented our work, partnerships and this project. As a result, the President invited Similie to present our work at the government expo, which was held during the swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected government members on the 1st of July 2023. This has boosted the visibility of our work to the rest of government, the media and private sector. The president also connected PERMATIL to the University of South Wales in Australia, to support PERMATIL to use remote sensed data collected via Satellite.

- In March 2024, Similie presented the results of this project with PERMATIL at the National WaSH workshop organized by WaterAid, PERMATIL and Similie.

c. Communication through social media

- Since the beginning of the project, we have actively and effectively used social media platforms to enhance our visibility and engage with diverse audiences. Similie communicated the project activities and shared the progress made in partnership with PERMATIL in Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, allowing us to effectively reach out to a broad range of audiences, including community members, stakeholders, and individuals and groups interested in internet-based tools for weather information and alerts, and for collecting data on conservation efforts.

One of our key objectives of our social media strategy was to increase the visibility of the ISIF project and its impacts. By sharing project updates and stories from beneficiaries, Similie has successfully raised awareness about the importance of this work and its positive influence on the communities.

The project case studies, and Baseline Assessment report are being shared widely by both Similie and PERMATIL.

Project Sustainability

To foster long-term sustainability, we have entered into a project agreement and have discussed an MoU with PERMATIL. This collaboration aimed to promote long-term sustainability by designating PERMATIL as the technology owner throughout the project cycle to ensure that the technology remains in capable hands beyond the project’s duration, maximizing its impact and potential for continued development. However, the MoU has not yet been implemented due to different priorities from our partner at this stage. 

The project has pushed knowledge and understanding of the impact of NBS interventions for climate resilience forward in the WaSH sector in Timor-Leste. The evidence based that we have created has moved the discussion from a theoretical position to a quantitative evidence base. This new knowledge is filtering through the sector and influencing a number of new initiatives.

During the course of this project another similar project that integrates NBS with the technology has also been implemented by Similie’s other partner WaterAid, with collaboration with PERMATIL and Similie on Water Resource Management Project.

Through PERMATIL, Similie is now also in contact with the University of South Wales in Australia, where there are discussions scheduled for April-May to explore collaboration opportunities. 

Outside of the project partnerships, the project results are being used by others in the international development sector as evidence of the effectiveness of catchment scale, nature-based solution interventions to improve resilience to climate change as the basis of larger scaled-up project proposal in Timor-Leste.

Capacity Building Plan

Project Management Professional Training: 

Months 1– 5: Re-worked our capacity building plan to better suit availability of existing staff time and workloads.

Month 6-8: Dulce and Luz will prepare all documents to confirm that they are eligible for the PMP exam and Project Management Basic exam and started Project Management Course (35 training hours are required).

Months 9-10: Dulce and Luz will apply for the PMP exam and Project Management Basic exam and take an exam prep course. During this time, Dulce and Luz will present back to general manager at Similie about some key points they learned during the course.  

Months10-11: Dulce and Luz will take the PMP and Project Management Basic exam. Upon completion of the exam, Dulce and Luz will share with Senior Management Team her results. If they were not successful, they will take another exam prep course.

Months 11-12: If necessary, Dulce and luz will re-take the Project Management course.

Data Analysis, Visualisation, and Action Sessions:

Months 1-3: Similie re-worked our capacity building plan to better suit availability of existing staff and potential consultants. The first three months were spent on the recruitment of the MnE specialist to develop an M&E Framework for the project. 

Month 4-6: This second quarter, the MnE specialist focused on the development of the case study training approach content.

Months 7-9: Similie staff, along with relevant stakeholders will receive training on interviews and data collection. This will improve the staff’s capability for producing Case Studies– this is a key skill for this project, as we aim to produce two case studies about this project. One at the end of this year, and one at the end of 2026.

We will be onboarding a Data Analyst who specialises in community-based resource management. This data analyst will work closely with the project manager to train relevant staff and stakeholders on the basics of data literacy (data collection, analytics and visualisation).This will set up participants for a series of workshops to happen in the final quarter.

Months 10-12: Similie, PERMATIL and ANAS staff will participate in in dashboard design and brainstorming workshops led by the project manager and data analyst consultant. This will result in akey findings report which will inform dashboard design and the development of automatic actions based in our platform. These visualizations and actions that will inform ANAS and PERMATIL on the effectiveness of conservation efforts. – This will hopefully result in new policies around water resource management and improved policy implementation.

NOTE: As one of our core activities is related to technical training around network operations and security, we encourage you to register for the APNIC Academy and explore what is on offer and include these courses/webinars in your capacity building plan. The APNIC Academy is free to access. In addition, the Foundation is a CompTIA Academic Partner and that provides us with the opportunity to offer your organization considerable discounts for courses, certification, and educational material. You can find more at Information Technology (IT) Certifications & Training | CompTIA. If you are interested in this, please indicate Yes in the box below.

Note: If you request the APNIC Foundation to process payments to training providers included in the plan, actual costs will be calculated and deducted from pending grant disbursements. Please input the expenses onto your Detailed Budget and Financial Report and indicate APNIC Foundation as the payer.

Capacity Building Implementation

Further development since the proposal was approved. 

For both Project Management Professional Training there has been re-worked in the plan in terms of the timeline. As for the Data Analysis, Visualization, and Action Sessions, there has been re-worked in the content and timeline.

Project Management Professional Training: 

Months 1– 5: Re-worked our capacity building plan to better suit availability of existing staff time and workloads.

Month 6-8: Dulce and Luz have just started the training courses and will take the prep exam course in September.

Data Analysis, Visualisation, and Action Sessions

For the initial scoping of the case study, training will take place in July, first month of the second half year of the project.

Recruitment of the data analyst will be recruited in the end of July. 

Project Management

In our organization, we have established a dedicated project management team responsible for overseeing and coordinating all project activities. This team ensures that project timelines are adhered to, resources are allocated efficiently, and communication flows seamlessly among team members and stakeholders.

To support project administration, we have implemented various tools and processes. This includes using project management software called Zoho Projects to track progress, manage tasks, and facilitate collaboration. Additionally, we have established clear lines of communication and reporting structures, ensuring that project updates and challenges are promptly communicated to relevant stakeholders. These administrative measures help in maintaining project momentum, addressing issues in a timely manner, and ensuring effective project governance.

Timely and efficient procurement is crucial to keep the project on track. We have established a well-defined procurement process that adheres to organizational policies, guidelines, and relevant regulations. This process includes identifying project requirements, conducting market research to identify suitable suppliers or vendors, and issuing procurement requests.

Throughout the project lifecycle, our organization has prioritized capacity strengthening to enhance the team's capabilities and promote sustainability. This includes providing continuous training and professional development opportunities to project team members. By keeping them up-to-date with the latest advancements in IoT technologies, climate resilience strategies, and project management practices, we empowered them to effectively address project challenges and achieve desired outcomes. Furthermore, we have encouraged knowledge-sharing among team members to foster a collaborative environment and promote innovation within the project.

Project Recommendations and Use of Findings

- Monitoring should continue across multiple years to capture the impacts over time, provide the evidence base for this as a climate adaption tool for governments and communities. Initial results show that the nature-based interventions are impacting positively on the climate resilience of WASH.

- Further outreach/training activities should be conducted with the community, and local NGOs. Initial result show that they are adopting the technology and information services that it can provide them. This is improving their decision making and giving them tools to be more resilience to climate change.

- Looking ahead, the project offers several avenues for further development and scaling. First and foremost, continuing to enhance the technological platform to address the evolving needs of the community and the challenges posed by climate change will be crucial. This includes expanding the range of environmental parameters monitored, and working with end users toensure we are delivering to them data and information products that are usefulto them.

- Internet based tools should be further promoted in Timor-Leste at the community level. Our initial success in this project, shows that there is a demand for information services via the internet, despite the relatively poor mobile networks. In 2024, as high-capacity undersea cable was connected to Timor-Leste, this is going to have a significant impact on the both the quality and access to internet services. This project is a leading example to the nation.

- Strengthening the partnership model between conservation organizations and technology firms presents a promising path forward. Lessons learned from the collaboration between PERMATIL and Similie can inform similar initiatives, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, shared objectives, and mutual respect for each partner's expertise.

Lessons Learned

- The biggest challenges that we faced at the initial stage of the project implementation were around procurement, and the deployment of our technologies into the water system (our water meters didn’t fit the infill pipes, so we had to change them). We decided to overcome this challenge by creating bypass pipe – we found that this is a good solution, as the community will have the option to bypass the meter if the meter is broken or clogged.

- To ensure that the people we collaborate with comprehend our capabilities and actively participate in contributing ideas, it is essential to engage in meaningful conversations that delve into how we can better support them. There is a strong desire to understand the reasons behind their needs, as well as how we can effectively fulfil the project's purpose.

- Through discussions and data requirements gathering process, we learned important information on what parameters actually needed by PERMATIL to effectively support their work. Hence, the requirement gathering process is considered as an important approach to be implemented at the beginning prior to offering technology solutions. 

- We learned that it is important to provide a robust training framework to ensure that PERMATIL’s community focal points can effectively utilize the technology.

- Providing rural communities with data collected in their communities on water resources fostered powerful behavioural shifts, emphasizing the indispensable role of data empowerment in enhancing community resilience against the challenges of climate change.

- Another critical lesson was the importance of building and maintaining trust within the community. The success of conservation efforts and technological adoption depended heavily on the community's trust in the organizations' intentions and the practical benefits of their initiatives. Establishing this trust required transparent communication, consistent engagement, and the demonstration of tangible benefits. As an example, we are now allocating some budget for 6 months on-going maintenance to ensure the functionality of the system.


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