INCREASING WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN RURAL AREAS
To strengthen and empower women’s voices in decision-making at the municipal level, Fundasaun Alola worked closely with local Women Associations and have identified 25 potential women candidates from 12 municipalities including Special Region of Ambeno Oecusse, in participate the capacity building training that provide by Fundasaun Alola in the future in order to compete in the Municipal Election.
As a part of strengthening members of village’s council, they were given the opportunity to participate in a talkshow of women village chiefs, hamlet chiefs and women’s delegates together in community radio in 12 municipalities to present their roles, responsibilities and challenges faced by them. The activity involved 24 women community leaders. In addition, Citizenship Forums able defined the priority issues for women and children. The Forums were held in 12 municipalities and in 24 sukus and attended by a total of 1406 people. As a result of the discussion approximately 80% of the problems were addressed by the relevant institutions and local government.
Changes after advocacy include:
- In the Special Region of Oecusse in Lifau suku, the conditions for food preparation for student’s meals were unhygienic at Tula Ika primary school. As a result of advocacy by the Fundasaun Alola Field Officer and women delegates from the Lifau village to Special Region of Oecusse Ministry of Education, they finally got the kitchen renovated.
- In Lautem municipality, in Ililai Laivai suku the issue was there that was no preschool, but they worked with the Alola Field Officer and they managed to get support from Rotary Australia to survey land and establish a preschool in their village.
- One problem of Aileu municipality was that the condition of the Luirai suku health center was not very good. After communication and meetings with the Municipal Director for Health, the Ministry of Health has renovated the health center. Furthermore, in Ainaro municipality, Manelobas suku, there was lack of transportation to facilitate pregnant mothers to the health centre, but now in Manelobas there is an ambulance van to facilitate women for safe childbirth and also others who are sick.
In 2018, two research projects were initiated to explore pathways of womens leadership and also public perception of women in Timor-Leste. This year we developed guidelines for research with 14 women leaderships from social, economic and political sectors from Dili, Manatuto, Viqueque, Liquiça and Ermera municipalities. These research will divided to 3 Phases the first phase is conducted training for the researchers, second phase is produced the question guidelines and interview and the three phase is the data collection.
In additon, research on public perceptions of women’s leadership in Timor-Leste has produced terms of reference for researchers and consultation with reference groups and organizations to generate questions at the beginning of the research. The results of this research have been presented to the reference group in a preliminary report. A published research report will be available in 2019.
To strengthen women’s groups in Hatubiliku, this project provided the opportunity for training about basic financial management, gender based violence and human trafficking. 52 people participated in training to raising awareness about these topics. Apart from that, five women’s handicraft entrepreneurs group were supported with a total amount of $6,500.
At the municipality level these projects has provided support to 13 victims to access to legal justice and provided humanitarian assistance. The types of cases are domestic violence, sexual violence, and abandonment and Incest cases.
The District Support Project also has realized sensiblization information through Campaign for the Prevention of Early Pregnancy issue in three schools in Dili, Liquisa and Ermera, reaching 113 participants that composed of 48 females and 55 male. The objective to raising awareness of the students to prevent and protect themselves from risks during learning process.
The success story of village chief Bamatac, municipality of Manatuto
Mrs. Olinda Pereira is village chief in Funar suku, Laculubar Administrative Post, Manatuto municipality. She began to engage in political life in 2005. In 2016 the community in the village of Bamatac elected her as village chief. She points out that participating in political life for such a long time is not easy for a woman. She says although it was difficult, it was her dream to change herselves and her fellow women and children lifes.
“I have my own initiative to participate in the various programs established by Rede Feto and Fundasaun Alola. Engaging in these activities motivated me to participate in more effective development processes in the village. I also wanted to improve my skills and personal capacity in various activities because of my dream that one day I could also be a leader. That dream became a reality in 2016 and I have made significant changes that I have at this moment:
- Advocated to Minstry of Education, for students at the primary school in without school uniforms Funar village, and now we have a process so the students can get uniforms.
- Incresased community awareness about the importance of education so parents will send their children to school.
- Conducted meeting with the community to know their children should not marry early but they must send their children to school.