Project Factsheet
Tools for » Supporting Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights in Nation-building of Timor-Leste
Project ID:00067158Description:MDGF-1703-B-TLS Suppt.Gender E
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 14 Sep 2007
MDGF Gender Equal & Empowermt
End Date*: 31 Aug 2012
Country: Timor-Leste Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


Timor-Leste suffers from a high incidence of domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape and other forms of mistreatment. The recent Demographic Health Survey (DHS) of 2010 showed that 38% of women aged 15-49 experienced physical violence since the age of 15. As a new country that became independent in 2002, Timor-Leste has integrated gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women within its first National Development Plan (2002-2010) as one of the nine development strategies. This was carried into the second National Plan (2011-2030) and is also in line with UNDAF outcomes. The Government has taken significant steps to address gender inequality. The State Secretariat for the Promotion of Equality (SEPI) was created in 2008 to lead efforts to address gender inequality. However gaps on gender equality and women’s empowerment remain and required further support. Given the prevalence of GBV in the country, a National Action Plan on GBV to take forward work on prevention, protection and provision of services was needed.  There was a lack of skilled personnel to deal with victims of sexual and gender-based crimes. NGOs were providing counseling and psychosocial care, health care and referral services in selected districts but these services were not comprehensive and replication of these in districts where services were needed the most was not forthcoming due to lack of capacity and resources. Certain legislative gaps existed, and requests for Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) schemes were among the requirements. Another gap was the absence of gender responsive budgeting (GRB) technical knowledge and ability. The Joint programme was therefore developed to address identified gaps and was structured around three outcomes, each having three components.

The technical, financial and capacity building support provided by the JP facilitated the approval of the Law Against Domestic Violence, development and approval of the National Action Plan on GBV and development of the Law Against Trafficking in Persons and the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. Through the training and capacity building, knowledge and ability of the government and NGOs to develop and implement plans and policies to promote gender equality was developed, as well as allocation of budget to these priorities.

The JP also supported the improvement of the CCT scheme of the government, pilot testing and finalizing of the medical forensic protocol for examination of victims of gender-based violence, development of the Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for the referral of victims of gender based violence and human trafficking and referral guidelines for dealing with child abuse cases. These policies and frameworks contributed to improving support services for the vulnerable population and victims of GBV, child abuse and human trafficking.


Outcome 1:

Improved protection of women and girls through the establishment of legal frameworks and mechanisms to uphold their rights.

Outcome achievements:

  • SEPI led the facilitation for the approval of the Law against Domestic Violence. UNFPA, UN Women and NGOs supported advocacy for its approval and dissemination of the approved Law. Technical support was provided in drafting of the National Action Plan (NAP) on GBV. UN Women provided technical support in the allocation of budget of the NAP and a monitoring and evaluation framework. The process of developing the Law against trafficking in persons and the NAP to combat human trafficking was led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a taskforce that included 12 institutions and NGOs. IOM provided technical support and capacity building to the taskforce in drafting the Law and the NAP in consultation with the central and district levels. In terms of training and capacity building on the Law and NAP, 89 government officials, 727 police, 294 service providers and 2,754 Suco (district) council members were reached.
  • The approval of the Law and NAP against trafficking in persons took much longer than anticipated. While the process was initiated in 2009, only in March 2012 were the drafts finalized and approved. By that time it was too late to submit the drafts to the council of ministers, as most members were busy with the national elections.
  • In terms of sensitization campaign, a total of 16,157 rural people were reached through social mobilization conducted by the Child Protection Networks. Specific activities to raise awareness and disseminate the message against human trafficking were undertaken reaching 2,540 people, of which 281 media people through 4 radio talk shows, 6 public information campaigns and 15 workshops for media officials and journalists.


Outcome 2:

Reduced vulnerability of women and girls through improved outreach mechanisms and services and the establishment of a social protection scheme.

Outcome achievements:

  • UNDP supported the Ministry of Social Solidarity in improving the implementation of the CCT scheme of the government, Bolsa da Mae, which provided CCT to female-headed poor households.
  • Improving referral and shelter services for victims of GBV was an intervention largely driven by NGOs. UNFPA provided some financial support, notably to PRADET for the Medical forensic protocol for examination of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
  • Regarding GBV, reporting mechanisms and referral services for women and child survivors of GBV, child abuse and human trafficking were strengthened. Health, legal and psychosocial support services were provided to 2,056 through the shelters operated by PRADET and the existing NGO network of shelters. National referral guidelines and SOP were developed and distribution, and SOP and case management training were provided in five districts where 132 stakeholders and victim protection networks participated.


Outcome 3:

Improved social and economic situation of women and girls through a fair allocation of resources using gender-responsive budgeting.

Outcome achievements:

  • Improved knowledge and enhanced commitment of government and NGOs on gender responsive budgeting (GRB) through various training and capacity building that build the platform for introducing GRB in Timor-Leste and overall improved social and economic situation of women and girls through fair allocation of resources for them. The drawback here was that limited GRB training was conducted down to the Suco level, for lack of time – as there were delays in staff recruitment and in the implementation modality. Finally the GRB training was undertaken in two selected villages in two districts and involved 90 Suco council members, community leaders and local level government and NGO officials.
  • For GRB, 228 government officials, 25 parliamentary members, 77 NGO partners, 15 civil servants from parliament, and  journalists received training.


Best practices:

The joint programme has the following good practice to offer:

  • Coherence to the national development plan and long-term commitments of the programme implementing partners.
  • Strategic partnership building to achieve the common goal of strengthening protection of women and girls’ rights and their empowerment.
  • Promotion of national ownership in programme design and implementation.
  • National capacity building. Harmonization in programme implementation.
  • Participatory planning and decision making with adequate flexibility to accommodate situational changes and practical needs of the implementing partners.

Sustainability plan developed and periodically updated to ensure sustenance of the programme results.


Lessons learned:

  • Significant challenges and delays were faced in setting up the PMU (programme management unit). An international programme manager was only assigned to perform the PMU functions in the third year of the programme period due to various challenges. A quicker appointment would have further contributed to effective and timely coordination.
  • Different pace of work of the UN agencies affected timely completion of the JP – a thorough capacity assessment of the implementing agencies is required at the design stage.
  • The appropriate selection of programme implementing partners contributed to greater achievements and to the sustainability of the programme results.
  • The JP failed to produce reliable statistics on the programme outcome level results as the establishment of a database did not form part of the JP – thus the importance to create a database for M&E and measuring results.
  • The opportunity for a more coherent advocacy and awareness-raising on GBV, child abuse and human trafficking was limited due to the lack of a joint communication strategy.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Timor-Leste or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

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