Fundasaun Alola is a not for profit non-governmental organisation operating in Timor-Leste to improve the lives of women and children. Founded in 2001 by Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao, the organisation seeks to nurture women leaders and advocate for the rights of women by addressing problems relating to education, economic development, maternal and child health and advocating women's rights.

Vision: WOMEN OF TIMOR - LESTE HAVE EQUAL STATUS IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE (access, participation, role in decision making, enjoyment of benefits of development) THROUGH EDUCATION, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP Mission: To promote women's rights and increase women's leadership capacity, Improve health status of women and children , Increase access & quality of education for women and children and Strengthen women's small enterprise at grassroots level - Values: 1. Equality 2. Fairness 3. Participation 4. Respect Working Principles: 1. Friendly space especially for women and children 2. Gender equality 3. Ownership of Programs 4. Transparency and accountability 5. Professionalism 6. Sustainability

Fundasaun Alola recognises multi-dimensional disadvantage including limited access to education, a lack of sustainable economic opportunity, poor health status (particularly maternal and child health), and a recent history of oppression and trauma, as interrelated problems that limit the capacity of women to assume positions of leadership and access their rights. Fundasaun Alola is concerned with directly addressing the barriers that prevent women in Timor-Leste from enjoying their right to good health, education, socio-economic opportunities and political participation for the benefit of all people in Timor-Leste, as reflected in Alola's motto Feto Forte, Nasaun Forte (Strong Women, Strong Nation).

Alola's five key program areas include Operations, which oversees all organisational logistics and resource management, and the following:

The Maternal and Child Health Program (MCH) was established in 2003 to respond to the health needs of women and children in Timor-Leste. Originally tasked with promoting exclusive breastfeeding and good breastfeeding practices under the directive of the National Breastfeeding Association and The Ministry of Health, the MCH's activities have expanded immensely since then. The maternal and child mortality rates of Timor-Leste are one of the highest in the region of South-East Asia. The department continues to successfully implement programs that help improve safe motherhood and early child health. The strengths of the MCH department lie in its national staff, who design and deliver culturally appropriate programs that respond to community needs, with support from various national and international partners.

The Education and Literacy Program pursues an objective to capacity build to expand opportunities for women through increasing access and quality of education for women and children in Timor-Leste. Since its establishment in 2001, the program has worked to build relationships with the Ministry of Education, as well as national and international organisations concerned with improving education systems. Alola's Education and Literacy staff model best practice teaching and learning methodologies, deliver teacher training, and develop resources to promote early numeracy and literacy. In 2012, the Education and Literacy Program will xpand our their resource development and training schedules, while piloting new projects that support the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education for Timor Leste National Policy.

The Advocacy Program undertakes public education, research and promotion of women's rights with a view to promoting legal frameworks that reflect women's rights, and providing women with practical skills that allow them to pursue positions of leadership. The Advocacy Program engages in campaigns for women's rights, provides humanitarian assistance through associated networks, and provides opportunities for young women's development through its Women's Resource Centre. Alola continues to play an important role in the development and promotion of laws and policies that protect women in Timor-Leste, including the Law Against Domestic Violence, promulgated in 2010, and the Referral Mechanism for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking, completed in partnership with IOM in 2010.

The Economic Development Program provides opportunities for women across Timor-Leste to participate in economic life through small business, cooperative producer groups and finance education. The Program aims to reduce poverty and promote cultural heritage by working with women to improve their skills producing quality textiles and other handcrafts, of increased value to both national and international markets for their use of local cottons and natural dye plants. Alola's Economic Development Program is comprised of highly skilled national staff who advise women's groups on quality control, safety, business skills, marketing and fair trade practice. The Program partners with local and national NGO's and bilateral partners with a view to sustainable income generation for women and their families.

Key achievements made by Fundasaun Alola during 2014 are demonstrated by progress in the following areas:

  • To promote the rights of women and strengthen women's leadership, the Advocacy Program again conducted a study on the situation of women workers and the implementation of the Labor Code in the municipalities of Oecusse and Covalima during 2014. The study showed that full implementation of the Labor Code has not been achieved; the rights of women workers are still violated because of lack of knowledge, understanding and commitment in the workplace, and, in particular,  because there is no encouragement to report sexual harassment and other violence. Women continue to fear losing their jobs if they report. This matter will be a priority for the Alola Foundation to discuss with SEPFOPE in order to better respond to the issues that face women workers in the private sector. In terms of strengthening women's leadership, Alola continued to provide capacity-building assistance to village leaders in 4 municipalities (Viqueque, Lautem, Baucau and Liquica); and strengthen the ability of young women at national and regional levels to become activists in order to advocate for their own issues. A total of 30 young women from 13 districts benefited from Alola's support.
  • To improve child and maternal health outcomes, the Maternal and Child Health Program expanded the Birth Preparedness Plan initiative, especially in Oekusi where we focused on 12 villages in the four administrative areas of Nitibe, Pante Macassar, Oesilu and Pasabe, with the aim of supporting pregnant women to develop their own plans for childbirth, and encouraging the community to support women to give birth in health facilities
  • In addition, the Program continues to increase awareness amongst mothers, families and communities of the importance of exclusive breast-feeding for the newborn; and provide support to mothers at the community level, before and after giving birth in health facilities, through encouraging the establishment of Mothers' Support Groups or and Village Loves Mother and babies.
  • To improve Education Quality and expand opportunities  for girls, the Education Program continued provide training to the pre and primary teachers from 13 municipal and following with the monitoring to the implementation of training in schools. The monitoring process involves teacher, students and other teachers to see the direct and indirect impact of this training. Apart from that, we continue to provide scholarships to poor students from primary school to university level, and also provide a mobile library service which extends to 8 municipalities.
  • In most cases poor or the weak economy could be a problem in a family which could contribute to violence in the household therefore this year economic program is more focused to strengthen women's economic through providing market opportunities and small grants.  In regarding  to support their home base business we had estabilshed   cooperative for the 14 groups in 3 municipal (Viqueque, Manaturo and Bobonaro) .