Friday, January 4, 2008


Shelter construction

During the crisis in 2006, Rede Feto took a lead role to coordinate humanitarian activities for IDP camps in Dili and in the districts. The members were involved in organizing and establishing shelters in the IDP camps. Rede Feto also worked with 2 engineers, 3 electricians and 50 workers in the construction works that was technically supervised by engineers of UNHCR. Rede Feto was specifically involved in the site survey that was a requirement before the setting up of tents, installation of electricity, construction of kitchen and latrine.

Non-Food Items Distribution

Rede Feto members also took a lead role in the distribution of non-food items (NFI) such as tents, stoves and plastic sheetings. This work was carried out together with UNHCR.

Camp management at the Dili football stadium and airport

Rede Feto members were also assigned at the Dili airport and football stadium to ensure that the needs of IDPs were responded by the team. They also coordinated with camp teams to identify the needs in coordination with the designated NFI and Construction Coordinator. They also monitored the construction process and needs, IDPs registration, categorization of tents according to blocks and numbers and the preparation of forms to support various activities in collaboration with UNICEF, IOM and UNHCR. Also conducted was socialization of the new IDPs at the IDP camps.


The activity on gender-based violence (GBV) was aimed at preventing and monitoring GBV cases in IDP camps. The activity commenced on 12 June to 31 October 2006. The project was implemented by Rede Feto members and stakeholders such as the OPE, Pradet Timor-Leste, Oxfam Australia and the Association of Men Association Against Violence (AMKV). The objectives of this project was to conduct an initial GBV assessment in the IDP camps, to conduct GBV awareness raising/training for key actors such as the police/legal personnel providing support to IDPs in the camps, to work with key counterparts to ensure that facilities in each IDP camp e.g. that sanitation and shelter facilities were gender sensitive, to build up the existing referral network in Timor-Leste to ensure that IDPs who were victims of GBV had proper access to counseling, legal and other services and to collaborate with key counterparts in the establishment of a database on the incidence of GBV cases in IDP camps.

Before the actual implementation of the project on GBV, the 12 facilitators conducted a needs assessment to know the problems and needs of the IDPs in the 56 camps in Dili, Hera, Metinaro and Ermera. From the rapid assessment, it was found out that GBV was not reported as an important case by IDPs but the condition of tents and the environment in IDP camps were conducive to GBV-related cases to happen considering that there are two to three families staying in one tent. There are no private spaces in some tents in IDPs, there is lack of latrines and supply of clean water, food distribution was reported to be unequally distributed, several wives and husbands were separated because of the problem “east and west” regional conflict. The IDPs were worried to send their children to school because there was a case of violence to one student when he left the camp to take up his examination. There was no security measures existing in the villages and hamlets that situations that are possibly expected to happen to happen would traumatize children.

The facilitators also distributed and discussed with IDPs advocacy materials such as stickers, comic booklets on CEDAW and Timor-Leste’s legislation on women’s rights in Tetum including copies of the UN Security Resolution 1325 that were provided by UNIFEM and OPE. The facilitators also discussed GBV prevention measures in IDP camps. The Rede Feto facilitators were divided into teams of two as they go for their activities in the camps with each team responsible of two IDP camps. In the advocacy activities of the facilitators, the number of participants was higher than the initial target of 12-15 persons per session. The sessions consisted of three modules specifically designed for: 1) women’s groups; 2) men’s and women’s groups; and 3) combination of groups 1 and 2.

The GBV working group also attended the coordination meeting held at the Ministry of Solidarity and Community Re-insertion (now the Ministry of Social Solidarity) with the aim of discussing needs and problems of the IDPs in relation to GBV. In addition, Rede Feto collaborated with two cultural groups from Theatre Buka Hatene and Hadomi Foundation that performed theatre and musical presentations to the 16 IDP camps in Dili and Metinaro. The objective of the community theatre presentations were to reflect and describe possible ways of responding to the needs of women and men in IDP camps, to reduce trauma and as much as possible, to provide a moment of tranquility, harmony and peace to the women and men in IDP camps. The presentations were at the same time aimed at sensitizing the IDPs on issues related to GBV and on how to deal with them in IDP camps.


The maternity waiting camps (MWC) for pregnant women in IDPs project was aimed at reducing maternal and neo-natal mortality among IDPs. The activity was implemented from 12 June to 30 September 2006. The project was implemented by Rede Feto through its member organizations and other stakeholders in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNFPA. The objective of the MWC project in Dili was for pregnant women to improve access to comprehensive obstetric services and increase knowledge of IDP women regarding pregnancy, on taking care of newborn children, and the provision of Hygienic Kits to IDP pregnant women. Other components of this project included the establishment of shelters, distribution of non-food and food items, women hygienic kits, health promotion and monitoring and evaluation of project-related activities. In three months time, the project team managed to provide assistance to 207 pregnant women and their close family members from Hera and Metinaro IDP camps to the MWC. The mobile ANC/PNC clinic provided the project team’s names and location of women eligible for transfer to the MWC.

After two weeks of post-natal period, the women were transferred back to their camps of origin with their close family members. The project team collaborated with UN agencies and other international and national NGOs as well as the Ministry of Solidarity and Community Re-insertion in providing food and non-food items to pregnant women upon arrival at the MWC. UNFPA also provided 660 kits for pregnant women. The project team, in collaboration with UNFPA and Alola Foundation, conducted orientation sessions on the importance of the kits to pregnant women. The project team also collaborated with hospital nurses and Young Health organizations to provide education and counseling to pregnant women about the danger signs of pregnancy and delivery, importance of attendance of birth by skilled attendants, essential newborn care including early immunization and breastfeeding and benefit of birth spacing and balanced nutrition to bring about behavioral changes regarding safe motherhood. Rede Feto also conducted monitoring and evaluation to establish the effectiveness and efficiency of the services and the functioning of the Maternity Waiting Camp.


The crisis that occurred in 2006 resulted in thousands of people fleeing to their districts or finding refuge in convents, churches and other places, such as airports and in front of embassies, turning these places into IDP camps. People living in these conditions faced many problems, such as poor health and sanitary conditions. The condition of women and children were the most vulnerable ones, especially in regards to diseases and exposure to violence and abuse. Based on the ongoing crisis and the results of the first GBV activities and assessments conducted in 2006, Rede Feto decided to organize women committees. In this way, it was aimed to create a safe space for women to voice their problems and find solutions, to empower women to solve problems in cooperation with men and participate in decision making processes relating to conflict resolution, prevention and reintegration.

The project was implemented in eight IDP camps, namely Metinaro, Tibar, Obrigada Barak, Don Bosco, Jardin, Cional, HNGV, Seminario Maior. A facilitators’ team was formed which was composed of 12 members of Rede Feto: CAUCUS, FMF, St. Bakhita, Et-Wave, AMST and other organization such as JSMP, PRADET, AMKV, RMDH. The results of the project were having the women in IDP camps to express their needs and problems where the SLS and Camp Manager were involved, GBVI was raised as a priority problem during the regular meetings, and members of the Women’s Committees developed their skills in providing assistance to women in IDP camps.

During project implementation, there were also challenges and lessons learned which are very useful for similar for future projects. One of the main challenges was the fact that communities in IDP camps regarded Rede Feto as an organization that will change women’s mentality and with the growing fear that women may turn against their husbands and families’, especially during the elections period. The Women’s Committees were also considered a threat for camp hierarchy, with camp managers fearing that the Women’s Committee will take over their role in the camp. On the other hand, some members of the Women’s Committee thought that by involving themselves in the activities of the women’s committee activities would enable them to receive money and goods. It was earlier thought that correcting this perception of the women would hamper the women’s full participation in meetings and may influence their friends not to participate in meetings unless they are able to receive some incentives or in kind payments like goods. On the contrary, after the women were able to see tangible results on the progress made by the women’s committees through active participation of women in various meetings with government officials, workshops and conferences, they were more attracted and convinced to participate.

As support were continuously provided to the IDPs, the majority of them do not agree to return to their villages or houses due to fear over further possible threats and attacks that may occur any time and to lack of necessary shelter especially amongst those whose houses were destroyed. This is despite the fact that means of transportation to bring them back to their original villages and government’s plan to allocate IDP at temporary shelter will be provided as explained conducted by government officials at MTCR and UN agencies in several meetings with the IDPs. However, the IDPs in camps still do not agree to go back to their original villages. The disagreement appears to be a common consensus of the IDPs due to lack of government’s commitment to resolve their problems and unclear government decisions to reallocate IDPs accordingly. For example, one of the requirements of the IDPs is to maintain security in their villages but government was still not able to fulfill the request as coordinated by the IDPs the UN Police authorities. In fact, the government even offered two options to the IDPs to choose from, for example, reintegrating to their original villages or to place then in a temporary shelter that has been prepared by the government. In addition, government will not force those who want to continue to stay in the IDP camps. The decision of the government makes women’s committee, particularly women in IDP camps felt that they prefer to go back to their own villages because living in IDP camps for almost one and half month limited their movement, their access to information and many aspects that constrained their life. Moreover, their children’s education is affected. Fears and suspension continue to affect their lives especially during the election period, because some IDPs have confessed that they are forced to stay by some political elites in these IDP camps so that these elites can use them for “political bargaining”. The ongoing discussion between IDPs and new government should prioritize the issue of the returning all IDPs to their villages or reallocating to temporary shelters. In some IDP camps, the functions of camp management only relate to the distribution of food and non food items. The women committees should conduct regular meetings with the structure of the camp management to ensure that camp manager always conduct regular meeting to discuss about problems and needs of the IDP camps and find solution to resolve these problems. Another challenge that Women Committees in IDP camps are facing is that even though they obtained more information on gender based violence through trainings and workshops, but some of the women still became victim of gender based violence. Men still show their power to control their wives and treat their wives whatever they like. In one IDP camps, women victim of domestic violence complained that she had divorced from her husband because her husband brought his partner to live together with them in one IDP camp. This case has being reported to police and Fokupers. To reduce the tension of violence which always involved men as perpetrators, it should involve men in an intensive discussions and trainings so that they will gradually change their behaviors and mentalities. The other problems were some political party members used IDP camps to mobilize members and to threaten people who are from different political parties for their own political objectives. According to some women Committee in different IDP camps said that their IDPs were used by some political parties to vote for their political parties and reach “bargaining power” during the election campaign. They even said that, some political parties provided money and things to cook for the people who organize campaign. One coordinator of Women Committee as quoted by saying: “…during the campaign there were some strange people who entered and stayed in IDP camp and caused disturbances both in the IDP camp and outside the camp, especially within and after they caused troubles with people out side near the camp…...”. They escaped to their districts. Women’s Committee raised these problems with camp manager and SLS because they are often being accused as the trouble makers by the outsiders in the IDP camp. Besides this, the problems of the different political parties also affect Women Committee. Women feel they have different principles which will affect their relation with the others. The Women’s Committee also conducts civic education which involves facilitators from Rede Feto to raise their awareness on democratic system. It is very important to increase awareness of people of democracy and human rights so that they will understands and implement in their daily life and they will avoid from any agitation by any political parties.



Site Info

All informations on this site is prepared by Information, Communication and Publication Office of Rede Feto for public access information.

Rede Feto Timor Leste

Secretariat of East Timor Women Network NGO FORUM / FONGTIL Kompleks, Caicoli Dili - Timor Leste Phone : +(670) 3317405 Email :

REDE FETO TIMOR LESTE Copyright Free Blogger Template