Catholic Alliance for International Development: Creating healthy communities, Timor-Leste

Published: Wednesday 15th June 2016

East Timorese health workers are taking on greater leadership roles as the result of powerful collaboration between the East Timorese and Australian health sectors.

A major shift has occurred among the health workers in Timor-Leste, who are now taking the lead on local projects.

Community engagement is about capacity building, and empowering communities to take charge and this is what is happening in Timor-Leste.

Three meetings of the Catholic Alliance for International Development (CAID), an Australian umbrella organization consisting of a partnership between ACU, Caritas Australia, Catholic Health Australia and Catholic Religious Australia, were held in Timor Leste since 2012. The last one took place in November 2015.

At previous CAID meetings in Timor-Leste, the East Timorese had been observers and participants, as CAID representatives facilitated and conducted discussions. But at the last gathering, there was a major shift asthe local people set the agenda, named their priorities and goals, and led the discussion. They also asked that a similar meeting be held in November 2016, which CAID is currently organizing.

The positive results in Timor-Leste follow the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the CAID partners in June 2015. that the MOU reinforces the group’s efforts in coordinating the Church’s work with communities through community engagement, research and publication in the Pacific Region and Timor-Leste. The aim is to provide a whole-of-Church approach to international development in our region.

East Timorese and Australians are committed to working together for Healthy Communities Timor-Leste.

East Timorese and Australians are committed to their shared journey and pathways to advance this vision of capacity building for Healthy Communities Timor-Leste. This commitment will be of benefit to all in Australia but also to other nations and communities.

The East Timorese involved in Catholic Health in Timor-Leste expressed their commitment to working together as a group and as Church to better promote such healthy communities. They also expressed their commitment to work together as Catholic Health Timor-Leste (CHTL).

CHTL will give priority to basic health for children and addressing malnutrition of children and mothers as areas of health promotion that will focus particularly on remote communities in which the members of CHTL are working.

The Australians, through CAID, stated their commitment to working with CHTL in the Year of Mercy with a priority upon accompaniment as an integral expression of Catholic Health care.