Stories

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“I started to see the rise in violence and the lack of opportunities for women and girls with disabilities in my community,” said Ximenes, who was elected as chief of Dilor, in the municipality of Viqueque, around 100 kilometres south-east of Dili.
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Through UN Women’s Safe Baucau and Safe Markets Initiative, has been giving the municipal authority technical advice on preparing a draft budget for 2023. With help from the Secretary State for Equality and Inclusion, UN Women and TOMAK have been training municipal officials on doing gender-responsive budgeting, including exercises on analyzing the budget and integrating specific gender-responsive items into it.
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Bento is among the 450 parents across three municipalities (Bobonaro, Viqueque and Ermera) to have benefited from the Connect with Respect (CWR) programme implemented by Alola Foundation and Mane ho Vizaun Foun under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative since February 2021. The programme provided training to parents on positive parenting, where they learn critical skills for developing respectful family and gender-equitable relationships.
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Thanks to a UN Women programme, hundreds of schoolchildren and their parents in Timor-Leste have learned how to treat each other with greater respect in the classroom, at home and in the community. UN Women works with educational institutions, civil society organizations Alola Foundation and Mane ho Vizaun Foun (Men with a New Vision) and the Ministry of Education to run the Connect with Respect programme on preventing violence against women and girls by promoting healthy relationships in 15 schools in three municipalities of Timor-Leste.
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Under the Together for Equality project, UN Women works with public institutions, local authorities, communities, civil society organizations and the media to prevent and respond to violence in public and private spaces. UN Women has partnered with the media outlet Timor Post on gender-sensitive reporting, the Baucau Municipal Authority on Safe Baucau and Safe Markets, and the National University of Timor-Lorosa’e (UNTL) in Dili on the Safe Campus Initiative.
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The Timor-Leste National Inclusive Education Policy (2011) has the objective that all residents of the country “should receive equally, an education of good quality appropriate to their individual abilities and should gain the necessary knowledge, capacity and skills – suitable vocation – to support themselves and their families and to participate in all areas of national development,” and the National Education Strategic Plan (2011).
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The unseen strands: looking at the state of violence and gender in Timor-Leste. Message from the former Head of Office for UN Women in Timor-Leste on the state of violence against women in the country. With this progress around us, we have been reflecting on violence, especially violence against women and girls that still makes the news and our Facebook feeds, in places with familiar names, such as Lahane, Kutet or Rai Kotu, and in familiar settings, such as homes, orphanages, schools, on the street, in taxis, markets, offices and even social media.
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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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Just one day after Cyclone Seroja hit Dili in April, killing 41 and displacing 4,022, members of the LGBTI community and a joint force from local non-governmental organization Arcoiris set up a community kitchen to provide food and drinking water to more than a thousand people in their neighbourhood of Bidau, in the east of the capital. As the torrential rain swept away belongings and houses, the spirit of solidarity remained firm, as food, clean water, women’s hygiene kits, and essential household goods were supplied to more than 200 families, including material to rebuild houses.
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Four UN agencies: UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA and IOM through the generous funding of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Timor-Leste with the State Secretariat for Equality and Inclusion (SEII) launched today a four-year USD 7.7 million project titled “Together for Equality: Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Timor-Leste” to enhance efforts for all women and girls in Timor-Leste to enjoy their right to live free from gender-based violence, and access quality essential services.
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Gemma joined UN Women Timor-Leste’s Communications and Advocacy Internship program for 6 months. This program is designed for enrolled university or higher education students and recent graduates that aims to increase their knowledge on the work of UN Women in the areas of gender equality and women empowerment. Successful candidates can also learn about the UN system as well as experience a bigger picture of being in the development sector.
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Cesario da Silva is the executive director for the Association of People with Disability in Timor-Leste (ADTL). UN Women and the UN Human Rights Advisor’s Unit in Timor-Leste have been working closely with ADTL to support the rights of persons with disabilities and build an inclusive society, through the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) program. Amid immense and persistent challenges, Cesario has seen some progress for the community.
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Tourism has a unique potential to drive economic growth, create jobs, and promote innovation for more sustainable development, and in particular support development of the municipalities in Timor-Leste. Developing tourism in Timor-Leste means business, and business in tourism means women.
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As more individuals and young people are using digital spaces, the widespread issue of online hate speech and the tension of social cohesion amid the COVID-19 pandemic is gaining greater visibility.
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What will it take to move these ideas from our imagination into a reality? With more than 1 in 3 married women (37 per cent) in Timor-Leste experiencing violence from their partners in the past year, and more than half of women and men believing such violence is justified, eliminating violence against women and girls by 2030 often seems impossible and unlikely.
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Camille Wauters in Timorese traditional dress. Photo: UN Women/Helio Miguel Camille Wauters has been with UN Women since 2008. She started working in Niger as a UN Volunteer for UN Women as Economic Empowerment Officer and then continued working in Palestine. She has been working at the Timor-Leste Country Office since 2014, where she managed the Gender Mainstreaming programme and later the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) programme. Let’s hear more about her work with UN Women Timor...
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Despite the progress made towards LGBTI rights in Timor-Leste, discrimination is still extremely high against people from the LGBTI community in family, societal and institutional settings. In addressing it, civil society organizations (CSO) and human rights activists persistently advocate to ensure LGBTI persons are not left behind.
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Olinda Alves da Silva, 44 is part of a community of women who are pioneering a better way to provide care and support healing for women survivors of the past conflict in Timor-Leste (1975-1999), while working to prevent further violence against women.
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Martinho Carvalho Sarmento, recently promoted to the position of Inspector General, knows the benefits of having women involved in conflict mediation and prevention.
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In the past, women in Timor–Leste have had limited opportunities to be involved in conflict resolution due to customary practices that limited women’s roles in leading such processes. In advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Timor- Leste, the Ministry of Interior (responsible for internal security) is supporting women to lead as professional conflict mediators in their communities.