"The activities you do are harder than the work we do but with these activities make our work a success"

The Municipality of Manufahi in southern Timor-Leste is one of the target locations for the expanding of the SHIO project. With a population of more than 50 thousand people, Alola through the MCH program, in 2012 began working in administrative posts of Same to initiate the establishment of the SHIO group there with support from an international NGO, Safe the Children.

As a group that works voluntarily, the SHIO group needs continuous assistance in order to gain the trust of the community. The actual conditions that are different in each community are a challenge that must be faced in the field. The provision of regular training plays an important role in ensuring SHIO’s ability to respond to the demands of problems that arise in the community.

In 2018 with the support of the ‘Hamutuk’ project funded by Partnership for Human Development (PHD) – Australia, the activities of the SHIO group in Same continued. The Hamutuk Program is a multi-sector nutrition program that brings together government and non-governmental organizations in the fight against stunting in Timor-Leste. In 2021, support also comes from the Civil Society Support Office of the Prime Minister’s Office (GASC-GPM) based on the important role of SHIO groups in society, especially in fighting malnutrition.

 With a population of more than 50 thousand people (2015 census) inhabiting an area of ​​approximately 1,323 square kilometers, it is not easy to consolidate the various SHIO groups. The presence of Alola Field Officer plays an important role in monitoring and optimizing activities carried out at the community level so that it can be implemented according to plan.  The continuation of the SHIO project which is now fully supported by GASC-GPM this year brings new enthusiasm to all elements who have been involved and benefited from SHIO’s activities. With the support of GASC-GPM it is also possible to conduct several trainings to strengthen the capacity of group members, increase campaign materials and provide dozens of delivery packages to be given to mothers who give birth in health facilities.

For two days, July 13–14, 2021, the GASC-GPM coordinator, Filipe da Costa, accompanied by a delegation visited two locations where SHIO activities were held in the municipality of Manufahi. Welcoming directly by the Alola Manager for MCH programs, Jesuina Maria Boavida Ximenes. GASC Coordinator, Filipe da Costa directly monitored the various activities that the SHIO group carried out in the Letefoho village hall and the Holarua village hall. During his visit to the village of Letefoho, Filipe da Costa in addition to giving his speech also took the time to discuss with various parties involved in implementing activities financed by GASC. On this occasion, the GASC coordinator also symbolically hand over the maternity package, tasted complementary foods prepared by SHIO members, held discussions with village heads including exchanging ideas with SHIO members.

In Holarua village, the GASC coordinator also symbolically handed over SHIO official shirt to SHIO members and handed over Maternity Packages to two mothers who gave birth at a local health facility. Jesuina Ximenes expressed her pleasure for this special visit because it could provide deeper information to the GASC Coordinator about the challenges faced in the implementation of SHIO activities in the field.

“We would like to thank the GASC coordinator who took the initiative to visit the location of the SHIO group activities and we believe this visit can strengthen the existing cooperation in efforts to reduce the number of malnutrition cases,” said Jesuina Ximenes, Alola’s manager for MCH program.

This special visit also gave a deep meaning to the existence of the SHIO group in Manufahi. The support provided by GASC this year for SHIO activities in 4 villages has further strengthened efforts to bring about change in the health conditions of mothers and children. GASC provided assistance amounting to US$ 51,787.45 to reactivate the activities of 60 SHIO members in 4 target villages, such as the Betano, Daisua, Holarua, no Letefoho, administrative post of Same.

“With the help of GASC, we have reactivated the activities of 60 members of the SHIO group from 4 villages. After being active, we empower them with various abilities so that they are ready to carry out activities such as community discussions, cooking demonstrations and counseling at SISCa and CHC posts,” added Jesuina Ximenes.

"We want to realize the dream of Alola Foundation, no more mothers and babies die during childbirth, no children die because of malnutrition, we want Timor-Leste to be healthier, to make it happen we work together, mothers take care of their health as well as the condition of the baby, Alola socialize information and we are trying to find support, by working together we will win,"
Filipe da Costa
GASC-GPM coordinator

"I express my appreciation to the members of the SHIO group because you are people who are willing to work voluntarily to help mothers in villages to gain access to good health conditions” declare Filipe da Costa, Coordinator of GASC in Manufahi.

"With the help of GASC, we have reactivated the activities of 60 members of the SHIO group from 4 villages. After being active, we empower them with various abilities so that they are ready to carry out activities such as community discussions, cooking demonstrations and counseling at SISCa and CHC posts," added Jesuina Ximenes.


"So far I have received information from the Alola program, including when I was pregnant until I gave birth in a health facility, I am happy because everything went well and I am happy that I was able to receive this package," said Ursula Andrade, one of the mothers who received the maternity package at the Holarua village hall.

Alola Foundation established SHIO project as part of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding, which is connected with the Baby Friendly Hospital initiative. With SHIO group, Alola want to bring people together with one important purpose, to be by the sides of friends and neighbors during their pregnancies to ensure safe and healthy outcomes for both mothers and babies.

The Maternity Package is an award and an appreciation from donors for mothers who are always diligent in consulting during pregnancy and childbirth in health facilities.  The packages distributed contained hygiene and sanitation supplies needed by new mothers such as sarongs, underpants, washable sanitary napkins, baby outfit, towel, cotton nappies, baby soap plus literature promoting good health for women and their communities in Timor-Leste.

Media Coverage (tetum)