Home Overseas Projects East Timor Region Strategy
East Timor Strategic Plan 2005-2008
21 March 2005
Our main strategy is to assist the East Timorese government to reduce poverty and build to country's capacity to govern a peaceful, democratic and independent East Timor. Thus far, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has facilitated over $3 million worth in aid to East Timor with the generous support of its members, unions, the general public and the Australian government.
While the violence and bloodshed which saw the birth of East Timor has ended, the struggle of the East Timorese people to rebuild their country as a peaceful, just and stable democracy is beginning. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA maintains an office in Dili, staffed by both Australian and Timorese personnel, which oversees an extensive program of community development, capacity building and training, including:
A number of volunteers have also contributed to the program over the past years, providing valuable skills in vocational education, community development, labour rights, library development, IT and community radio. The program supports 10 Timorese partner organisations and also coordinates with a wide range of organisations, unions and training institutions in Australia and internationally.
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's history in East Timor
- vocational education
- literacy training for rural communities, especially women
- media training, especially community radio and the print media
- strengthening East Timorese community organisations
- support for the University of Timor Loro Sa'e library
- labour rights and capacity building training for trade unions
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA started working in East Timor in 1998 on a range of community development and emergency support projects. Prior to the 1999 referendum, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA supported small scale literacy and health projects as well as facilitating links between Australian trade union and organisations in East Timor. In 1999, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA focused on providing emergency relief support. Following the country's independence, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has been actively involved in supporting the East Timorese government and non government organisations. Our main strategy is to assist the East Timorese government to reduce poverty and build the country's capacity to govern a peaceful, democratic and independent East Timor. Thus far, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has facilitated over $3 million worth in aid to East Timor with the generous support of its members, unions, the general public and the Australian government.
From 2001 to 2004, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA focused on capacity building projects for the new nation to improve livelihood security, social harmony and building civil society. During this time, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA worked with 14 East Timorese NGOS and numerous government departments. Twenty five highly qualified Australian advisors provided training and mentoring support to our partners and government officials. The lessons learnt from the implementation of this phase is now informing Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's East Timor country strategy for 2005-2008.
The current Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA strategy supports the East Timorese government's strategy as highlighted in the document, National Vision 2020. It states that East Timor wishes to be "[a] democratic country with a vibrant traditional culture and a sustainable economy. A prosperous society with sufficient food, shelter, clothing and security for all its people. ... [and] all East Timorese to be literate, skilled and participating in the economic, social and political life of the nation".
Key issues and concerns
Based on our experience in East Timor, we have found that these issues are of concern:
Key strategies of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA in East Timor 2005-2008
- Small technical and management skills base.
- Weak rural economy leading to food insecurity.
- Small capacity for industrial development leading to poor livelihood prospects.
- Civil institutions and responsible governance need to be strengthened.
- Unequal sharing with Australia of the nation's oil and gas reserves.
Strategic project areas / themes
- Developing local partnerships, particularly in the areas of vocational education, labour rights, agriculture, status of women, health and media.
- Advocacy and support for community based development work in health, agriculture, women's issues, labour and media.
- Securing ongoing funding for programs.
- Creating links and exchanges between local partners and relevant Australian and international organisations.
- Facilitating support networks and capacity building for local partners.
- Strengthening human rights in the workplace through the local trade union movement, the KSTL (peak union body).
Current projects in 2005
- Adult education with a specific focus on vocational training and literacy.
- Women's skills development.
- Labour rights training.
- Training and support for community radio and media.
- Improving educational capacity through supporting the university library.
- Training health workers.
Projects for further research and possible development
- Capacity building for local NGOs.
- Vocational skills training.
- Development of a community radio network and media training.
- Labour strengthening and development of trade unions (in association with the ILO, the ICFTU-APRO, and Australian Unions).
- English as a second language training.
- Support for the library of the University of East Timor.
- Micro credit.
- Skill development of Timor Oil workers.