Updates from USAID/Timor-Leste

Updates from USAID/Timor-Leste

Expansion of Candlenut Oil Industry

Timor-Leste has been exporting candlenut oil to
Hawaii since 2005, as a result of focused
business assistance by USAID to local processing
factory Acelda. To expand the country’s
production of candlenut, USAID has signed a
memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as
various farmers’ groups. USAID also linked up the
farmers’ groups with Acelda. (March 26, 2008)

First Cattle Export of 2008

In early March, the National Cooperatives
Business Association (NCBA) and Cooperativa Café
Timor (CCT) facilitated the exportation of 70
fattened bulls from farmer members in Covalima
and Manufahi to West Timor, Indonesia. This is
the first cattle exportation activity for 2008.
CCT cattle exports to Indonesia amounted to over
$150,000 in 2007. Prospects are good for
Timor-Leste’s cattle exports as the NCBA cattle
fattening project has built a reputation for
high-quality bull and the price of beef in the
region is on the rise. (March 26, 2008)

Literacy Training for Enclave’s Women

Over a hundred rural women from across the
Oecusse enclave celebrated International Women’s
Day with a graduation ceremony from a
USAID-supported six-month literacy and numeracy
training and a workshop-exhibition that
highlighted their successful small business
practices. Since 2005, USAID has paid special
attention to numeracy and business management
training for Timor-Leste’s rural women to help
them identify business opportunities and increase
their income. The enclave’s women are starting to
gain a reputation in the country for being
“nearly all literate” to the credit of USAID’s
local partners. (March 26, 2008)

“Children’s Newspaper” Gets a Boost

Through a pilot program, USAID is supporting
‘Jornal Labarik,’ or ‘Children’s Newspaper’ to
boost production and distribution of its
newspapers to over 1,000 primary and secondary
schools and nearly 450 adult literacy classes
throughout the country. With a national literacy
rate of less than 50 percent, and a dearth of
reading materials in local languages, ‘Jornal
Labarik’ is serving as an important resource
material in the country delivering important
messages on child rights, education, health,
peace building, and civic duty. (March 10, 2008)

On-the-Job Training for Tourism Graduates

Timor-Leste’s young tourism industry received a
critical boost through a USAID-sponsored
internship program for 27 hospitality and tourism
school graduates. Nine hotels and restaurants in
the country’s capital, Dili, are participating in
the program. In a country with high unemployment
and underemployment rates, the program is
providing youth with productive employment
opportunities while strengthening the
relationship between academic institutions and the industry. (March 10, 2008)

Immunization Coverage Up Since 2005

The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows
increased immunization coverage in 2006 and 2007:
with measles immunization coverage now at 63%
from 43%, and diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
(DPT3) coverage now at 70% from 49%. Timor-Leste
Asisténcia Integradu Saúde (TAIS, a partnership
of BASICS and Immunization BASICS) has been
providing technical assistance to the Ministry of
Health at the district and sub-district levels to
increase immunization service quality and
coverage under USAID’s Maternal and Child Health programs. (February 20,2008)

Prime Minister Appeals to Media

In a public lecture organized by the
International Center for Journalists (ICFJ),
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao appealed to the
Timorese media to be more responsible and
professional in its news reporting, emphasizing
that freedom of expression comes with great
responsibility. The public lecture on “Press
Freedom” was held following recent statements by
the Prime Minister which the media interpreted as
threatening their freedom of expression. ICFJ is
implementing USAID’s Strengthening Independent
Media program. (January 28, 2008)

Nationwide Civic Education Campaign

USAID, through the Small Grants Program, is
supporting three Timorese organizations–East
Timor Insight (ETIS), Bibi Bulak Group, and Radio
Rakambia–to conduct a nationwide civic education
campaign called “Do you want to Know? Find Out
Yourself!” for the communities in 65 locations
around the country. The campaign will use locally
made civic education videos, proven to be one of
the most powerful media in Timor-Leste, to inform
people about civic responsibilities, improved
health, gender equality and protecting the
environment. Campaigns will run from January
through March and hope to reach populations that
are currently out of reach of the national
broadcaster Televizaun Timor-Leste. (January 14, 2008)



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