Investing in women in Timor-Leste

June 7, 2013

Just north of Australia in Timor-Leste, only 20% of working women are paid for their work.1

Yet evidence shows that women invest 90% of their income back into their families, compared with 30-40% for men.2

IWDA is working with local Timor-Leste partners Covalima Community Centre (CCC) and Organisasaun Haburas Moris (OHM) to support women’s micro-businesses and savings clubs, building women’s financial independence and leadership skills. They do this by providing women’s groups with start-up funds or materials; training and ongoing support in finance and business skills, as well as leadership skills; and facilitating linkages with markets.

Beatris do Santos is the leader of the women’s group Haburas Goronto in rural Timor-Leste. Haburas Goronto is supported by CCC. The group began in 2010 and now has a bank account and a group centre.

Watch Beatris explain the activities of her group and the benefits of being a group member:

The project also provides opportunities for women to come together and exchange skills, and share successes and challenges with each other. Local and district leaders are invited to these events to raise their awareness of some of the barriers women face. Haburas Goronto has recently received support from the village chief, who provided two sewing machines.

A member of another group, Xefe Grupo, says, “Before the village chief was never interested in us, we never received invitation for any activity, but now we receive them all the time.”