“Reforsa Hamutuk” – Stronger Together, the new EU funded project implemented by Hivos Netherlands in collaboration with Fokupers and ACbit, will promote social inclusion and economic opportunities for women survivors of violence in Timor-Leste.
The 30-month project financed through an EU contribution of 550,000 USD (500,000 EUR) will be implemented in seven Municipalities: Ainaro, Baucau, Dili, Ermera, Liquiça, Manufahi and Oecusse.
The project will provide 25,000 Timorese women who have been victims of violence with access to self-improvement opportunities. The initiative will also make available shelters, training, tools, and materials to 1,250 most vulnerable women to enable them to become economically productive and to take up employment opportunities.
The beneficiaries will be trained to run more profitable microenterprises in areas such as trading, agriculture, food processing, and the production of textiles, handicrafts and clothing, by improving the quality of their products. Important components of the project will be the establishment of a network to connect women with job opportunities in the local private sector for and the creation of learning groups to provide child care support.
“Economic inclusion is key in the empowerment of women, and it plays an important role in the reintegration in society of victims of violence. The European Union is very happy to support “Stronger Together” which will help to turn around the lives of thousands of Timorese women who have suffered domestic violence by giving them the tools to run successful micro-businesses and be financially independent. The European Union is proud to work through several different initiatives to support the work of civil society and the authorities in Timor-Leste to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls and to support its victims. I'm confident that "Reforsa Hamutuk" or "Stronger Together" will make a real difference, said Mr Andrew Jacobs, EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste has some of the highest rates of violence against women of any country. Nearly 60% of ever-partnered women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual or physical violence from their partner or boyfriend. Women in Timor-Leste also suffer from the pre-independence legacy of violence. Survivors face challenges in relation to physical and mental health, social stigma and exclusion, and lack of access to economic resources.