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Our Partners Need Our Help

Support our Covid-19 Campaign: Covid-19 Emergency and Recovery Support for Baucau


Timor-Leste is currently facing challenges with accessing PPE, medical equipment and supplies. This is an uphill battle for a small fledgling nation. Our partners in Baucau, like local NGO AFEHABAD, are doing their best but they need our help.

COVID-19 presents significant challenges for Timor-Leste, which is the both the youngest nation and the poorest country in our region. In Timor, most people live on less than $1 a day. In addition, on the ground, regional communities like Baucau are experiencing a marked increase in poverty. As markets close down and people isolate, households, particularly in areas outside Dili, are feeling the impacts. Food security is a growing issue, domestic violence is increasing. 

Your donations will support the ongoing work of Friends of Baucau and our partner organisations in Baucau. Please give now: https://www.givenow.com.au/baucaucovid19recovery

One year ago in Timor-Leste

Arriving at Dili airport. on the first day of the tour

The major Friends of Baucau event for 2019 was the Tour to Baucau of the Darebin Neighbourhood Houses (DNHN) and Friends of Baucau Delegation, held in May.   

The main purpose of the visit was to broaden and strengthen the friendship relationships between women’s groups in Baucau and Friends of Baucau together with the Neighbourhood House Network to engage in ongoing exchanges, mutual learning and resource sharing to improve the wellbeing and capacity of communities in Baucau.  The visit also provided the opportunity for the City of Yarra Representative, Aldo Malavisi, and the City of Darebin Councillor, Kim Le Cerf to make personal contact with the Mayor of Baucau, Antonio Guterres to look for ways to advance the Municipal Agreement to support decentralisation. 

Notice of the Annual General Meeting of Friends of Baucau Inc.

Date:   20 May 2020
Time:   6 – 7.30 pm
Place:   Zoom (invitation to be sent one week prior to the meeting, with 2019 minutes)

Our annual general meeting (AGM) is held once a year with an invitation for all members and interested friends to attend. In the AGM we give a report on our activities and finances for the previous year, allow time for members to ask questions, and elect members of the committee for the coming year.

Given restrictions on face to face meetings, this AGM will be conducted by Zoom. For details of nomination and proxy processes please email friendsofbaucau@gmail.com .

Please Note

Membership is required to cast a vote. Memberships for 2020 can be made through Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/BJKPU

We look forward to sharing our review of 2019 with you!

Chris Dureau Wins 2019 Darebin Community Award

Some of Darebin’s most outstanding citizens were recognised in the 2019 Darebin Community Awards for their tremendous, selfless work in making society a better place. Chris Dureau was one of them.

The special awards ceremony was held at Preston City Hall on Friday, 23 August. Council received more than 50 high calibre nominations reflecting the rich diversity of the local community for the eight awards on offer, including the new Sustainability and Lifetime Achievement awards. 

Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said the Darebin Community Awards are about celebrating people or groups in our community who show leadership and care.

“It’s a privilege to present these awards to some of our truly inspiring community members. Their wonderful contributions to our society deserve to be acknowledged,” Mayor Rennie said.“It’s important that we recognise people who are making outstanding contributions and showing excellence in their field.”

The winners of the 2019 Darebin Community Awards included a Lifetime Achievement Award for Chris Dureau.

Chris Dureau has had over 30 years’ experience in the International Aid and Development sector. His career has seen him develop and deliver on-the-ground programs in developing countries all over the world, like Timor Leste. In recent years Chris has led Friends of Baucau, a community-led organisation that utilises an asset-based development approach to assist local communities in the District of Baucau in Timor Leste.

Welcome to Mana Regina de Sousa

Mana Regina De Sousa will arrive on 29th February for a three week visit to Friends of Baucau and the Councils of Darebin and Yarra.

Regina De Sousa

For some background on Mana Regina, see https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/news-and-events/stories/2015/06/100-per-cent-ready-for-women-in-leadership

Timor-Leste: 100 per cent Ready for Women in Leadership
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2015
Author: Christina Yiannakis

Timor-Leste is developing at a swift pace since restoring its independence in 2002, however one of its biggest transformations is a movement that is growing quietly behind closed doors. Inspired by the Nation’s proud history of resistance during years of occupation, over 100 women from Timor-Leste’s 13 municipalities have come together in the capital city of Dili to talk politics.
Regina de Sousa, current administrator of Timor-Leste’s sub-district Baucau, discusses why women’s voices are essential to effective local governance. Photo: Christina Yiannakis

The event that has brought them together is the first 100 per cent Hau Prontu (or the “I am 100 per cent Ready”) workshop. Supported by numerous government partners, civil society organisations and international agencies including UN Women, the training event aims to ready at least 100 women from across the nation for local politics, encouraging participants to run for suco (village) elections this coming December.

“Currently, only 2 per cent of suco leaders are women,” explains Laura Pina, the director of the women’s organization Patria and a key organizer of the workshop. The 2 per cent statistic stands in stark contrast to women’s representation in Timor-Leste’s National Parliament, which boasts the highest percentage of women in Parliament in the Asia Pacific region at 38 per cent. This difference, explains Pina, is a result of cultural changes happening in the capital that have not yet broken through the strong patriarchal culture in the municipalities.

“We were inspired to start this campaign because there are many potential women leaders at suco level – they just need to be shown the road.” Running through topics ranging from campaigning, to public speaking skills, the workshop hopes to guide participants in taking part in the decision-making process.

“When only men make decisions they are unable to understand the different needs women have to men. Women have a dual function as leaders (and carers), giving them a better understanding not just of what women need, but of what whole families including women, children and men, need,” reflects Regina de Sousa. Invited to the workshop as a prime example of a successful female in local politics, de Sousa is the current administrator for the sub-district of Baucau with no plans to stop her outspoken political involvement.

“At this national workshop I am accompanying my fellow women to encourage them to run for suco leadership. Based on my experience over the years, women’s participation in decision-making at the local level is minimal,” de Sousa explains.

Impassioned by the cause, she goes on to highlight that the campaign is essential for all members of the community, as when women’s voices have the power to represent many of the needs of the community that may otherwise be forgotten. “When only men make the decisions we only get half the picture! For example, men may think that road development is the most important local issue. However, women believe it is access to clean water because that is the most basic need of the household. Good roads will only help men who have cars and motorbikes, not the whole family.”
Over 100 women stand together to sing the national anthem, opening the 100 per cent Hau Prontu workshop. Photo: Christina Yiannakis

Once the workshop is over the campaign will continue by providing information and support to the women candidates through continued training, lobbying, and advocacy efforts to help promote the women’s policies and their capabilities as leaders. The next great challenge, Laura Pina explains, will be to help communities change their perception of women’s traditional roles, “This campaign is vital to shifting community opinion, to showing people that women are not just wives and mothers, but capable leaders at all levels.”

Friends of Baucau annual planning meeting 20 February

This is a reminder that the Friends of Baucau annual planning meeting and first meeting for 2020 will take place at 4.30 pm onwards on Thursday 20 February at the Edinburgh Gardens Community Room.

The program will begin at 4.30 with a review of what we have achieved against our strategic plan and then planning for our activities for 2019. We expect to have a draft plan ready for further discussion at the usual time of 6pm.

Catering will be provided!

Teaching Scholarships

Support Teacher Education in Baucau, Timor-Leste this Christmas.

Instead of a gift for your Kris Kringle give a donation on their behalf to our scholarship fund.

Higher education is unaffordable for most families in remote rural villages in Timor-Leste. It’s expensive to send young people away for teacher training and it’s especially difficult for girls.

Your donation this Christmas in lieu of a gift to a colleague will make a huge difference.

Catholic Institute of Teacher Education

Instituto Católico para a Formação de Professores (ICFP) Diocese de Baucau

In 1999 the Australian Marist Brothers were invited to establish an institute in Baucau to train teachers in Timor-Leste. In the beginning the Institute addressed the pressing needs of in-service training in physics, languages and school leadership among other areas. In 2003 the Institute began the three year program for a Bachelor of Teaching and by 2017, seventeen Institute staff had completed a Master of Education through ACU.

In 2018, a total of 630 students completed their studies and are now contributing to education and training across the country.

Donate by EFT to Friends of Baucau

BSB: 033 073  Account number: 395841

Please note ‘scholarships’ in reference and email your details for receipt

OR send a cheque or money order to: Friends of Baucau PO Box 484 Preston Vic 3072

For more information contact: Annie Keogh M: 0409 997 030 E: friendsofbaucau@gmail.com www.friendsofbaucau.org  www.icfpmarista.edu.tl

Friends of Baucau support the development of Permaculture Practice

Following up a request from our Friends in Baucau, we are looking for ways to support local initiatives to promote greater use of permaculutre in household gardens and in school community gardens.

Recently, 10 young people from five Suco of Baucau Vila (Admin Post) attended the Perma Youth Camp, 26th Nov – 1st December 2018 ably led by the Peresident of the Baucau Friendship Association, Xefe of Samalari Suco, Rui Sequeira. Friends of Baucau collected funds to pay for their registration and transport and each of the participating Suco’s provided tools and equipment for their week long learning about Permaculture in Timor-Leste.

In Samalari Village many of the households have already introduced household vegetable gardens based on permaculture principles.  The hope is that these young people can support their respective villages to use permaculture in starting up or improving their household gardens.

Our second initiative for which we are collecting funds now is to establish a School Community Garden in Bucoli’s Basic Education Central School. Watch this space for more developments.