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Cablegate: Timor-Leste: S/Gwi Project Proposals

DE RUEHDT #0042/01 0500832
P R 190832Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 132094

1. (SBU) Summary: Embassy Dili submits the following two
proposals for consideration for the 2010 Secretary's Office of
Global Women's Issues (S/GWI) small grants initiative. Our
first choice is the Caukus Feto Iha Politika (Women's Political
Caucus), an organization founded to promote women's
participation in politics and the decision-making process, and
to empower women's leadership development. This is the only
organization in Timor-Leste seeking to assist women to be an
active part of the new democratic government of Timor-Leste. We
also recommend Timor Women's Self Help Group (TWSHG) project in
Timorese Women's Woven Art. This project is focused on reducing
poverty by enabling women to utilize their existing skills and
resources to generate income and provide for their families. If
S/GWI awards grants to these organizations, they will be managed
by Political/Economic Officer Christopher Crawford,
CrawfordCA@state.gov. Both projects directly relate to mission
priorities (i.e., strengthening democracy and promoting economic
growth) and will be closely coordinated with the activities of
our ongoing USAID projects and other international donors in the
relevant sectors. End Summary.

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2. (U) This project seeks to strengthen women's leadership
skills, as well as to expand civic and voter education as
Timor-Leste moves to create new regional municipalities
beginning in 2010 and prepares for presidential and
parliamentary elections in 2012. Since achieving independence
in 2002, Timor-Leste has established a democratic state and
sought to promote gender equality. The 2006 electoral law
requires that at least one of every four candidates fielded by a
political party be a woman. Currently 19 of the 65 members of
the national parliament are women. The participation of women
in the first two legislative elections, however, has been low.
This has been exacerbated by the fact that little voter
education has been conducted on gender issues and Timorese women
candidates continue to lack confidence, adequate education,
advanced leadership skills, and political party support.

3. (U) The proposed project will conduct transformative
leadership training and civic education for women at the
national and local levels of government throughout
Timor-Leste. The project will fund lobbying and advocacy for
women's issues. The project will also fund a comparative study
with neighboring Indonesia to determine what positive and
negative lessons Timorese women can learn from their neighbor's
example. The project will conclude with an independent
evaluation to review lessons learned and recommend changes for
the future.

4. (U) The project seeks to promote gender-based equity in
politics and decision-making. It aims to enhance women's
participation in the decision-making and policy-making process
at all levels and to promote actions to increase women's
capacity to participate fully in politics and assume leadership
positions. The project seeks to achieve an increase in women's
political participation and help nurture competent, effective
and committed women politicians. The project will help build
linkages between the national and local levels to widen women's
influence and effectiveness as well as facilitate the
implementation of the women's agenda. The project will increase
awareness of political parties in supporting women candidates
for their internal power structures. Finally, the project will
increase the influence of the parliamentary women's group to
raise the profile of gender issues in the policy process. As a
result of this project, women's participation in the 2012
elections should increase and women will be more women involved
in politics at every level of government.

5. (U) The project duration is 18 months, and the requested
budget is USD 100,000. The funding will be used as follows:
transformative leadership training, USD 25,000; civic education
and socialisation, USD 10,000; comparative study of women in
politics in Indonesia, USD 10,000; advocacy with media and
lobbying, USD 10,000; project monitoring, USD 5,000; project-end
independent evaluation, USD 15,000; and project administration
cost, USD 25,000.

6. (U) KPDP-TL (Kaukus Perempuan Dalam Politik - Timor Leste)
was formed in 2001 to promote and consolidate democracy by
ensuring and realizing equal rights and gender parity in
political participation and in the structure of government.
Over the past 9 years the women's caucus has conducted numerous
activities in developing capacity, pursuing advocacy, and
mobilizing women, including within parliament. KPDP-TL has
conducted civic education training sessions addressed to women's
organizations, village community leaders, and women at the
rural, district and national levels. KPDP-TL has established a
parliamentary watch group to monitor both the inner workings of
the parliamentary system and the performance of women
parliamentarians in order to assist and urge them to draft

DILI 00000042 002 OF 002

legislation. Finally, KPDP-TL has produced media bulletins to
publicize women's activities and has conducted campaigns for the
participation of women in politics and as decision-makers. The
Women's Caucus is committed to strengthening the involvement of
women in the democratic process. Its members include prominent
women activists from a network of human rights and democracy

7. (SBU) Embassy Comment: Based on our contact and experience
with the Women's Caucus, post believes that this organization
has the necessary capacity to implement the proposed project.
Timor-Leste suffers from a chronic lack of professional capacity
throughout government and civil society. Nonetheless, the
Women's Caucus includes several capable leaders who have
demonstrated that they have the necessary experience and
contacts to successfully implement a project of this scale and
complexity. Post recognizes that this proposal summary lacks
some necessary details regarding the specific proposed
activities. Upon request from S/GWI, we will ask the Women's
Caucus to provide additional information.


8. (U) This second project seeks to alleviate the endemic
poverty and desperation of rural and illiterate Timorese women
and families by utilizing their existing skills and resources.
The project will build confidence and skills through training
and practical assistance to produce quality goods for sale using
`Tais' - a traditional Timorese cloth that has been made by
weaving on simple back strap looms for centuries. This will
assist remote and illiterate women to capitalize on the
opportunity that now exists to reach local markets and generate
sales and income for the women and their communities. The
women's new purchasing power should create a ripple effect so
that other small businesses can also benefit.

9. (U) The project will build skills in management, marketing
and administration at grass root levels ensuring manufacturing
quality, consistency, and timeliness for orders. It will also
provide continued training and assistance via a Dili-based
training, marketing and administration center that will assist
with new product ideas and techniques. Finally, the project
will establish and maintain overseas markets for Timorese
women's products WON with a reputation for reliable quality and
beauty, ready supply, and competitive prices. Products sold on
these merits will provide long-term sustainable employment as
opposed to "sympathy buys" which are not sustainable or
proactive in creating new jobs.

10. (U) The project duration is 12 months and the requested
budget is USD 91,892. The funding will be used as follows:
Premises & Equipment, USD 5,512; Services, USD 3,000; Training
and Marketing, USD 57,540; Professional Services USD 5,500;
Transport in-country, USD 5,000; Consumables, USD 2,400;
Buildings and Maintenance USD 6,220; Production Materials for
training, USD 5,520; and packing for products, USD 1,200.

11. (U) The training programs can commence within 2 weeks of
receipt of funds. Experienced Timorese staff and trainers are
already known and available. The organization will work with
local NGOs interested in women and children's welfare to
identify those who will benefit from training. TWSHG will link
with micro-finance entities who may assist trained women to
start up small businesses or collectives in their own areas.
Trained accounts staff will advise on simple bookkeeping and how
to set their "profit margins" if they wish to conduct a small
business. TWSHG envisages a minimum of 10 women at any one time
will be trained by experienced trainers who will conduct
different training activities based on desire, need, potential
skill level, and the availability of raw material. Example
products include those utilizing TAIS (traditional cloth), bata
kulit (corn ear/leaves), and also recycled paper and paper mache
(e.g., paper and cards that can be decorated with TAIS or bata
kulit decorations). All of these can be sent to the Dili market.

12. (SBU) Embassy Comment: Based on USAID's experience with
TWSHG, Post believes that this NGO has the capacity and the
ability to implement the project described above. Post also
believes that the proposal has the potential to have a positive
impact on the lives of rural women. The raw materials for the
products are readily available and the traditional weaving
skills have not been lost. What rural women lack, however, is a
sense of what products would be marketable in the cities or
abroad, how to market them, how to connect with buyers, and how
to manage a business. All of these skills, of course are easily
transferrable, thus lending much-needed sustainability to the
project and potentially stimulating local rural economies.
Again, Post recognizes that this proposal summary lacks some
necessary details regarding the specific proposed activities.
Upon request from S/GWI, we will ask TWSHG to provide additional

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