New market shows success of local government approach

A female vendor at the Same Market, Manufahi district.
A female vendor at the Same Market, Manufahi district. Photo UNDP-UNCDF Local Governance Support Programme

Same – Domingas is one farmer who today can sell her vegetables throughout the year in a new marketplace, in Manufahi District, in southern Timor-Leste. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

Farmers who are unable to travel far and have no local market often sell their produce by the side of the road. Their produce is exposed to the elements, resulting in spoiling and a reduced income.

“They built this new market because the old market was not wide enough, and water was always leaking from the roof,” says Domingas.

Highlights

  • In 2012, the Ministry for State Administration and Territorial Management increased the budget of the Local Development Fund to US$6.3 million, compared to US$3.5 million in 2010.
  • In 2004, UNDP together with UNCDF, the Government of Ireland and the Norwegian Government began the Local Development Programme (LDP).
  • Over 5300 small scale infrastructure projects were implemented under the LDP between 2005 and 2012.

Selling her produce at the Same Market has had a dramatic impact on her and on her family.

“When there was no market I used to sell my squash and cassava from my own house, with just a few friends or relatives buying from me,” she says.

“But now my income has more than doubled and I can even buy books for the kids.”

A recent history of conflict has left Timor-Leste with key infrastructure either non-existent or in a state of disrepair. In a country where agriculture still represents the main source of income for 80 per cent of the population, this is a major concern for local communities.

In 2004, UNDP together with UNCDF, the Government of Ireland and the Norwegian Government began the Local Development Programme (LDP).

Under the programme, communities were asked to identify funding priorities for their areas, and local authorities then decided which proposals would be funded.

Between 2005 and 2012, at the request of local communities, over 5300 small-scale infrastructure projects were implemented under the Local Development Programme.

In Manufahi district, the community asked that the local market be restored and in February 2009, the district’s new Same Market, which was large enough to house all the local vendors in one central location, was opened.

The LDP supported a process whereby proposals for projects were received by a district-level assembly. The assembly would then review proposals and vote on which projects to support.

The Manufahi District Assembly allocated US$32,000 to renovate the Same Market, because it was a community-identified priority which would have an immediate positive impact on the local economy.

District assemblies demonstrate one of LDP’s core objectives – to promote empowered local governance and opportunities for citizens to participate in decisions on local development.

Contact UNDP in Timor-Leste

Media inquiries:
Jeanne Finestone, Results Management, Communications and Partnerships Officer

Phone: (+670) 7732 7211
jeanne.finestone@undp.org