U.S. Ambassador Marks U.S. Independence Day with new USAID NGO Strengthening Initiative

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE – United States Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick today announced the award of a new, five-year activity to strengthen a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Timor-Leste. 

The U.S. Embassy’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $9.55 million to implement the Advocacy for Good Governance Program. Ten local Timorese NGOs will be selected to participate in the program which will focus on strengthening their organizational, research, networking, and financial capacity. The goal is to help local NGOs improve their tools for providing increased evidence-based and sustainable advocacy services on behalf of Timorese citizens.

Ambassador Fitzpatrick made the announcement as part of the United States’ celebration of the country’s Independence Day.

“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 Advocacy for Good Governance Program.”

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 program, 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’s NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Program 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 works in partnership with the government of Timor-Leste to support broad-based and effective development.  Since 2001, USAID has provided over $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 which are highlighted in Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.  To learn more, visit: www.usaid.gov/timor-leste.