Forum Komunikasaun Ba Feto Timor Leste (Fokupers) and Asosiasaun Chega! Ba Ita (ACbit) are holding a bazaar in Dili on the 4th of December 2020 to support the economic activities of women survivors and victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and past conflict violence. This event is supported by the European Union-funded "Reforsa Hamutuk” initiative, implemented by Hivos, as part of the 16 Days of Activism, started last November 25 for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and will conclude on 10 December 2020, which is International Human Rights Day.
“Reforsa Hamutuk - Stronger Together” bazaar provides the opportunity for 23 women survivors and victims, from 7 districts, namely Dili, Ainaro, Baucau, Ermera, Liquica, Manufahi, dan Oecusse, to showcase and sell their products. In addition to the exhibition, a seminar themed “Ensuring A Sustainable Community-Based Economic Development” will also be held with speakers from women survivors, representative of Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion, former Secretary of State for Youth and Labour (SEJT), Sr. Nivio Magalhães, the Ambassador of the European Union, and human rights activist and freedom fighter, Ir. Bella Galhos.
The bazaar and seminar are needed to strengthen the economic development of women survivors and victims. The processes of creating and selling products are their primary means to provide for themselves and their children, but their income is inconsistent.
According to a rapid assessment and market scan conducted by Fokuper and Hivos, the results showed that women survivors and victims only received somewhere between USD 1 and USD 10 every week from their trades. Their common challenges include the limited access in selling their product in the city, while the number of buyers within their communities are low.
The assessment and market scan also showed that approximately 109 out of 123 survivors who participated in the survey would love to expand their businesses or start a new one. However, most could not afford to buy raw materials to increase their production. Therefore, this bazaar, that is held as part of the Reforsa Hamutuk project, aims to help promoting their products and provide access for the business expansion they are hoping to do.
In his opening speech for the event, Mr. Andrew Jacobs, the Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste, stated that, “The EU is firmly committed to strengthen its efforts in order to make gender-based violence a problem of the past. Women survivors and victims of violence are productive members of the community that deserve equal access to social services and opportunities for employment. We have important roles in creating the enabling environment and supporting women survivors to access those services and seize the employment opportunities.”
“Reforsa Hamutuk” — Stronger Together is a 30-month project financed through a European Union contribution of 500,000 EUR, and implemented by Hivos in collaboration with Fokupers and ACbit, to promote social inclusion and economic development of women survivors and victims of violence in Timor-Leste.