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AUSTCARE. T IMOR-LESTE OUR COMMUNITY PEACE BUILDING PROJECT. AUSTCARE. History Timor-Leste Today AUSTCARE in Timor- Leste AUSTCARE Community Peace Building Project. Timor-Leste –History and the Fight for Independence. Portuguese Colonization (400+ years)

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  • History
  • Timor-Leste Today
  • AUSTCARE in Timor- Leste
  • AUSTCARE Community Peace Building Project
Timor-Leste –History and the Fight for Independence
  • Portuguese Colonization (400+ years)
  • Japan Occupation World War 2 (1941-1945)
  • Return to Portuguese Timor
  • Civil War (1975)
  • The Indonesian Occupation (1975-1999)
  • United Nations Referendum for Independence (1999)
  • INTERFET Peace Enforcement (1999)
  • UN Transitional Administration East Timor (1999- 2002)
  • Independence (20th May 2002)

Timor-Leste - Today

  • One of the newest nations of the new millennium, Timor-Leste is also one of the poorest. In a population of 924, 642 (2004):
  • - More than 40% of the population live on less than 55c a day;
  • - More than 40% of the population is below the poverty line;
      • 43% of children underweight for their age;
      • 44% if the rural population cannot meet their basic needs for food, clothing and housing;
  • - Life expectancy stands at just 57 yrs;
  • - Only 57% of the population is literate;
  • - Approx. 20% of the rural population have access to safe water;
  • - 50% of the population is below 16 years of age;
      • - Unemployment is rife and there is significant urban drift by young people in search of work;
      • Maternal Mortality is the worst in the world.
Timor-Leste: A country of refugee and Internally Displaced Peoples


During the years of Indonesian occupation and the violence of 1999 forced hundreds of thousands of Timorese to flee within and out of Timor-Leste. This was due to violations of their civil, political, economic, social, cultural and human rights suffered from intimidation, persecution, forced migration, rape, forced military service, torture, murder and harassment. High levels of violence have been experienced by women.


ESTABLISHEDin 1967, AUSTCARE is a not-for-profit, independent and secular Australian non-government organisation.

OUR MISSIONis to assist refugees overseas, displaced people and those affected by landmines to rebuild their lives through the expert delivery of development programs in partnership with local communities and other agencies.

HAS SUPPORTEDthe people of East-Timor since 1981 and has strengthened a permanent presence in Dili showing commitment to positive engagement with the people of Timor-Leste.

(Peace Building - Bobonaro)

AUSTCARE in Timor-Leste
  • AUSTCARE projects areas include :
  • Capacity building
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Human rights and civics
  • AUSTCARE has MOUs with :
  • the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • the Ministry of Education
  • the University of Timor-Leste
  • AUSTCAREworks with Local NGOs :
  • HALARAE (a Timorese NGO)
  • COBAH farmers cooperative
Community Peace Building , Bobonaro District
  • This education program is designed to:
  • - increase knowledge and awareness of peace building through school and community based education programs.
  • -to strengthen the ability of families, communities and schools to promote peace building within their district areas.
  • Timeframe
  • 30 May 2004- October 2005
  • Curriculum:
  • Covers the areas of:
  • - conflict resolution - social responsibility
  • - working together - peace
      • - domestic violence - gender
      • - human rights and justice
Why a Peace Building Project?
  • The project was formulated in response to the affects of a culture of violence:
  • High levels of violence;
  • Criminal activity;
  • Decline traditional civic/family values;
  • Violence towards women;
  • Children and a culture of violence.

(The Program in Action)

The Need for Peace Building

AUSTCARE’s Peace Building Project manager, Mr Agostino de Deus, describes the situation that Timorese people have faced:

“Many people were killed before and after the referendum, particularly during Indonesian occupation. After the referendum much sexual violence was committed. During the violence people even killed members of their own family…this makes me feel very, very sad. The peace building is important for Timor-Leste because people have been affected by conflict. People need to reconcile, people need to live in peace. Children and women have particularly been affected by violence, our community needs to heal.”

The Project in Action

Peace Building

Achievements of the Community Peace Building Project to date are:
  • 4,720 participants involved in the program (2,255 community members and 2,465 primary school children/ 48% of these participants are female).
  • 5 civic centres established and 16 field project officers trained as trainers.
  • A project Steering committee involving community leaders and women has been established.
  • A training curriculum and manual developed to be used in schools and in wider community.
  • Community and school trainings use appropriate learning methods, including group discussion, story sharing, song, dance and ceremony. This has been effective in engaging the local community.
Involving Women and Children in the Peace Building Process

Increasing women’s participation by:

- the use of women’s networks;

- establishing women only groups when appropriate;

- the development of gender sensitive facilitation skills of trainers; - accessible locally based sessions held at appropriate times;

- an open learning environment enabling children to attend if necessary.

Recognising Women as peace builders- UN resolution 1352.

Outputs of the Project
  • Increased community information and awareness
    • Of building peace and security.
    • Of gender based issues and reduced levels of sexual and gender based violence.
  • Increased participation of women in peace building

AUSTCARE meeting with Field Officer Lopez

AUSTCARE Projects – Community, Cultural and Conflict Sensitivity

The project is implemented with the Department of Education, Bobonaro and supported by AUSTCARE’s team of Timorese and Australian project managers.

Like all AUSTCARE projects, community and cultural sensitivity is at the heart of The Community Peace Building Project.

This project was developed in a way which incorporates such sensitivity and awareness. It was developed and implemented in conjunction with Timorese nationals and in response to identified human security issues in post conflict Timor-Leste society.

AUSTCARE and Timor-Leste – The Future
  • AUSTCARE believes that Timor-Leste’s future development and security will be dependent on poverty reduction and the strengthening of civil society in rural areas, particularly in the vulnerable border districts.
  • AUSTCARE will extend the Peace Building project to Oecusse District in December 2005.
  • AUSTCARE welcomes support in addressing poverty alleviation at the community level through a focus on :
      • Food Security
  • - Rural Communities
  • - Capacity Building

“Peace must be built, peace cannot be made! Only when society begins to build itself gradually will peace establish itself on solid foundations and, with time, be consolidated!”

H.E. Presidente Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao on the occasion of the launch of the Peace and Democracy Foundation

Dili, 14 December 2002

AUSTCARE Donor Thanks
  • ADF
  • AID
  • Australian Public
  • Australian Rotary
  • CIDA
  • Crawford Fund
  • Intrepid Tours