Local approach makes the difference in Manufahi

Apr 1, 2011

Same – The Deputy SRSG/Resident Coordinator, Finn Reske-Nielsen today visited three projects implemented by the Timorese Government with the support of the UNCDF-UNDP Joint Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP) in Same, Manufahi District.

He was accompanied by representatives of the international community in Timor-Leste, including Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, European Union, AusAID and other UN representatives.

“Since 2007 through the LGSP, UNDP and UNCDF in close collaboration with UNMIT have been supporting the Government of Timor-Leste to establish an accountable and effective local government,” said Mr Reske-Nielsen.

“I am personally impressed with the concrete impact of the projects developed in the Manufahi District, where hundreds of families now have access to water facilities, medical services and a market,” he said.

After an introductory meeting with the Manufahi District Administrator, the group visited the Same District Hospital.

The hospital was reconstructed in 2009, substantially improving the hospital conditions. The hospital is now a reference hospital for more than 50,000 people living nearby.

In Same, the Local Development Programme (LDP) supported the reconstruction of two market buildings in 2008 and 2009.

When the new market was open, women vendors were able to sell their local products throughout the year.

“When there was no market I used to sell my squash and cassava in my own house, with just a few friends buying,” said Domingas, one of the many women working in the market.

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

In Maniku, Letefoho, the visitors met local residents who have benefited from a water supply project completed in 2010.

Before the project, women and children had no access to water and needed to go to the nearest river, a two-hour walk.

The LGSP has provided technical support to the District Assembly for all these projects, with planning, prioritization of proposals and assistance during project implementation.

The Local Development Programme (LDP) was introduced in Timor-Leste in 2004 by UNCDF and UNDP in partnership with the Government and with a key contribution from Ireland.

"A concrete, well-resourced and vibrant local governance is crucial for a balanced rural development,” said Eoghan Walsh, Head of Mission for Irish Aid.

“Irish Aid has been supporting decentralization and local governance in Timor-Leste since their very early stages and we intend to continue our support in future as part of our country strategy for Timor-Leste for 2010-2013,” he said.

Under the LDP, communities are able to identify their practical needs and priorities thorough a participatory local planning mechanism, in areas such as health care, education and small infrastructure.

The LDP also supports capacity development at the local level through the provision of block grants to local assemblies, enabling them to develop management skills through an integrated approach of learning by doing in issues such as budgeting, procurement, monitoring and evaluation.