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Women and Girls' Participation in Local Governance in Timor-Leste

Supporting women to become skilled, politically engaged and inspiring leaders is an important step towards reducing domestic violence in Timor-Leste and putting issues that affect women and children on the political agenda.

Over the past year, this programme has worked closely with women in Aileu District to identify and seize leadership roles within their communities in order to put issues that primarily affect women and children, such as gender-based violence on the political agenda.

This is a new programming approach in Timor-Leste that utilizes strong, existing community connections built from working in Aileu District since 2001 and working with women to create forums and associations that are sustainable forces for cultural change.

Plan International and partner staff have supported women to form women’s associations, join and participate in village councils and to nominate themselves as candidates in the upcoming village council elections. These women are also advocating the importance of the Timorese government implementing and enforcing domestic violence legislation across the country.

Currently in Timor-Leste there are just 10 of 532 village heads are female. If successful, this initiative will create more women in positions of power than has been seen in Timor-Leste since independence.

With women in positions of power they will be able to give voice to half the population who will be able to ensure issues such as domestic violence and child protection will be given the attention they deserve.

Women attending a training on gender equality and how to prevent domestic violence.