USAID Launches USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity

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NGO Advocacy Launch
United States Ambassador Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Filipe da Costa, Coordinator, Civil Society Support Unit, Office of the Prime Minister at USAID's NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity
Cris Guterres/USAID

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 16, 2020

Contact: USAID Development Outreach Communications Specialist Cristóvão Fausto Guterres, 330-0500 ext. 2016, 7732-6213. Email:

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – United States Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick joined by USAID Mission Director James S. Wright, officially launched the USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity today.

This is a   five-year, $9.5 million dollar activity, funded by the U.S. Embassy’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which seeks to strengthen a group of eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Timor-Leste. They are: 1) Belun, 2) Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP), 3) Fundasaun Mahein, 4) Many Hands One Nation Foundation (MAHON), 5) Programa Spesifiku fo Prioridade ba Ema Kiak (Prospek), 6) Community Based Rehabilitation Network Timor-Leste (CBRN-TL), Fundacao Hafoun Timor Lorosae (FHTL), and 8) Mata Dalan Institute (MDI).

NGO’s will receive technical assistance to help advance their technical skills to: generate quality data and conduct meaningful analysis, develop strong evidence-based policy recommendations, effectively communicate policy priorities to a wide variety of audiences, build dynamic inter-sectoral coalitions, and maintain a robust relationship with their core constituencies. With these skills, NGOs can be more effective in supporting citizen-driven policy, raising awareness of critical issues, improving community participation in governance, and strengthening government effectiveness and accountability.

“In both the United States and Timor-Leste, NGOs play a crucial role in advocating for the rights and needs of all citizens,” said Ambassador Fitzpatrick. “The United States provides support for civil society through financial support to small local NGOs and through large scale capacity building programs such as this. We look forward to working with Timor-Leste’s vibrant NGOs through this NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity.”

Timor-Leste has had a robust NGO community since independence, but many of the nascent NGOs find their advocacy skills limited by a lack of administrative capacity and sustainable financial support. NGO Advocacy for Good Governance will provide technical training and support to make local NGOs more sustainable and better able to represent citizen interests with the government. Counterpart International, a United States-based global development company, has been selected to implement the NGO activity.

“I am excited about this new Activity, which will build upon our ongoing technical assistance to government institutions by creating partnerships with non-governmental organizations,” said USAID Mission Director Jim Wright.  “By sharing their expertise and knowledge, these organizations can help improve laws and policies and contribute to Timor-Leste’s social and economic development.” 

High quality NGOs can help hold the government accountable and be transparent and responsive to the public interest, while supporting sound, just, and responsive governance. The activity will strengthen democratic systems to help the country advance on its journey to self-reliance.

USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity will focus on four objectives: boost NGO organizational and administrative capacities; improve advocacy, research, analysis, and networking capacities for better response to constituents; foster more diverse and regular revenue streams, and; promote an enabling environment that fosters independent NGOs.

USAID OVERVIEW: The United States Government, through USAID, works in partnership with the government of Timor-Leste to support broad-based and effective development. Since 2001, USAID has provided about $350 million in development assistance to Timor-Leste. USAID supports Timor-Leste in its efforts to build a more prosperous, healthy and democratic country through programs that foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially in the agriculture and tourism sectors; improve the health of the Timorese people, particularly women and children; and strengthen the foundations of good governance – all areas that are highlighted in Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2013-2030 and will serve to make the country more self-reliant in the future.