A member of Leo-lima SDMC presents the results of HVCA for validation of other community representatives.

ADPC’s local civil society organization (CSO) partners – MAHARU and NAFOFILA – conducted activities in different sucos (villages) in Ainaro Municipality, Timor-Leste from 16 to 17 March 2024. These were part of community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) initiatives under the Strengthening Partnerships for Community Resilience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste (SPRINT) project.

SPRINT is a regional project that seeks to address low-attention disasters by enhancing the capacity of the local communities to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster impacts through inclusive and participatory approaches. It is being implemented by ADPC with support from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP).

Community Activities

In Leo-lima Village located in Hato-Udo Sub-district of Ainaro Municipality, NAFOFILA facilitated a validation session of the results of the participatory disaster risk assessment (PDRA) conducted by the Suco Disaster Management Committee (SDMC). With support from NAFOFILA’s program officers, the members of the Leo-lima SDMC presented to the community representatives the data they gathered on hazards, vulnerabilities, and capacities present in their locality. A topic that stood out during the activity was the severe impact of disasters on women, girls, boys, the elderly, and persons with disability. After an insightful discussion, the participants agreed on the information that will be integrated into their community action plan.

Meanwhile in Manutaci Village in Ainaro Villa Sub-district of Ainaro Municipality, NAFOFILA and MAHARU collaborated to facilitate an action planning session with the community representatives. Among the participants were the members of the Manutaci SDMC, led by the village chief Ms. Manuela da Silva Caldas. The participants, mostly women, shared their thoughts on local initiatives that may be undertaken by their constituents. For each of their suggestions, they also identified the timeline, resource needs, organizations for support, and persons accountable.

Program officers of NAFOFILA and MAHARU facilitates an action planning session for Manutaci Village.

Finally, MAHARU’s program officers delivered a training course on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) to the community members of Aituto Village situated in Maubisse Sub-district of Ainaro Municipality. Inclusive and participatory approaches were utilized. Participants were divided into small work groups to encourage open and active participation. The group representatives reported to the rest of the participants the results of their discussions. MAHARU employed the use of pictures, tables, and diagrams to ensure better understanding among the participants.

Community representatives of Aituto Village actively participate in a training facilitated by MAHARU.

The next step is for the sucos to identity the activities and small-scale projects they want to prioritize. With guidance from ADPC, technical support from the local CSOs, and funding support under SPRINT, the communities will move forward to implementation. Joint monitoring and evaluation will also be undertaken. MAHARU and NAFOFILA will conduct training and mentoring activities to the communities to further strengthen their local capacities.

“It’s a privilege… in my village having great interactive sessions on [SPRINT] with the full participation from the community, especially with women, persons with disabilities, and village council members.  I and look forward to working together for disaster risk reduction for the most vulnerable members of our community.”

– Ms. Manuela Caldas, Chief of Manutaci Village

Under SPRINT, ADPC continues to provide technical guidance to its local CSO partners in both Timor-Leste and Indonesia. It also connects them with their peers in the member countries of the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) that include Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The APP is a unique multi-stakeholder regional partnership formed in 2017 with technical and secretariat support from ADPC as well as assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the Foundation) and the United States Agency for International Development Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID BHA). Its goal is to achieve “safer and well-prepared communities through locally-led disaster risk management (DRM) actions, so that disaster impacts on at-risk communities of Asia will be reduced”.

“We should… prevent, mitigate, and adapt to disaster risks such as heavy rains and strong winds. It is important that we ensure ourselves to be safe, so that we prevent significant impact of disasters to ourselves and our family. I believe my village can be a DRR model in the future for other communities in Ainaro.”

– Mr. Gregorio Lopes Pereira, Chief of Aituto Village

About the Local CSOs in Timor-Leste

Established in 2003, Fundasaun Maubisse Hametin Futuru (MAHARU) is a local civil society organization in Timor-Leste that aims to perform social transformative functions. Moreover, it aspires to contribute to national and local development by actively contributing to increase the participation of the poor communities in the local development process that can be attended equally between men and women through information and capacity building to improve their lives. It seeks to develop rural community skills, promote and strengthen the principles of transparency and accountability in public institutions, and carry out social transformations from national to local levels.

“SPRINT has been helped to identify and analyze the disaster risks faced by the target communities, especially on recurring disasters. The project is new and we wish to continue to strive through ongoing capacity development to raise our knowledge to enable us to provide further support to the communities to promote resilience.”

– Mr. Bonifacio Sereno Ramalho, Director of MAHARU

Meanwhile, Fundasaun Naroman Foun Fitun ba Labarik (NAFOFILA) is a local civil society organization in Timor-Leste that envisions for everyone, especially children and youth, to have access to their right and action for development following the ways of transparency, accountability, and good governance. Founded in 2005, it seeks to achieve for everyone to have: (a) access to their rights appropriately; (b) access to treatment with dignity without discrimination; (c) assistance in the promotion of human rights which are universal for everyone regardless of their sex, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation in their survival, development, participation, and protection; and (d) assistance in the protection of nature and security from disasters.

“SPRINT serves as a motivation to strengthen working relationships with communities and local authorities in promote community resilience. We look forward to continue having the greater partnership for the community development and resilience building in Ainaro, Timor-Leste”.

– Ms. Maria Madalena da Silva Barros, Director of NAFOFILA

Both MAHARU and NAFOFILA are local CSOs founded and operating in Ainaro Municipality, Timor-Leste. Aside from being registered as foundations with the Government of Timor-Leste, they are also members of the Forum NGO of Timor-Leste (FONGTIL).