Category Archives for "Promoting health, education and EcoDev"

Dec 29

Composting toilets

News , Projects - Current , Promoting health, education and EcoDev , Supporting Communities

Project Description:
Providing composting toilets for both community facilities and village households on Atauro Island.

Project Need:
The villages of Atauro Island do not have mains sewerage. People use drop toilets and many go to the toilet in the open fields. These existing practices are unhygienic and contribute to the health problems of the local people. There is a limited and unreliable water supply. The building of composting toilets supports the welfare and health of school students as well as providing hygienic toilet facilities not only for local people but also for visitors to the island.

Project description, cost and management:
The composting toilet adopts a local design developed initially for the use at the Tua Ko’in Ecolodge. The local IAFG facilitator, Marcelo, in conjunction with health administration officials, local chefes and community members, identify the sites for each toilet. Marcelo organises local labour and materials to construct the toilets. Communities are trained in the proper use and maintenance of the toilets. There are important advantages to having teams of local labour construct the toilets. Greater ownership of the toilets come from being involved in the construction and this is clearly seen in photos of community members following the toilet’s completion. An important flow on effect of the toilet construction is the injection of much needed cash into largely subsistence village economies.

It costs approximately $750(AUD)to build a toilet. There is some variation in the cost because of the remote location of some villages and the need to transport specific materials. Once the toilets are completed, and a sign made acknowledging the donor, a photo is sent with a very detailed invoice to the IAFG. Marcelo also facilitates an education process to ensure local people understand how to use and maintain the toilet effectively.

Across, 2020 to 2022 drought and the covid pandemic have made the completion of all the planned toilets difficult. The scarcity of water made making the concrete bricks and slabs very difficult. Most of the water in these times is carted from small springs some distance away. There have not been large scale Covid cases on Atauro but restrictions imposed to control Covid, in particular the cancelling of the Dili ferry has made getting supplies difficult. As these restrictions are eased we look forward to maximizing the construction of these toilets.

 Over twenty toilets have been built on Atauro. Currently, the Friendship Group has committed to building between 3 and 5 toilets a year.

Since 2011 we have had numerous individuals and organisations who have donated funds to construct one or a number of toilets. We thank all of these donors. Currently the Kiewa/Tangambalanga Lions Club and Indigo Shire Youth Ambassadors have been on-going and generous donors to this project.

Hahi Pa'an family toilet sponsored by the Kiewa/Tangambalanga Lions Club

St Mary's Cave toilet sponsored by the Indigo Shire Youth Ambassadors

Simone from Iliana village inspecting his work

Ventilated Pit Latrine Design

These students are very pleased with their new toilet

Marcelo and Simone signing off and providing much needed cash payment for his work on the toilet

Oct 31

Atauro Island Tourism

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Economic Development , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

Eco tourism is one of the most significant areas for Atauro Island to develop.
Travel to Timor Leste is now possible for Australian citizens In fact  Indigo/Atauro friendship committee members are planning a trips. The dry season which is July, August and September  are the best months to visit Atauro as a tourist.

For more information you can visit the Island’s official website or contact one of the committee members. Most committee members have traveled to Timor Leste/Atauro on more than one occasion.

The internet and You Tube can be a good source of information.
Travelers have made You Tube film clips for example:
 - Small Island Big Heart - Adam Constanza ,2018
 - Free Diving Atauro island – The Way Overland ,2017
 - Explore Atauro Island – Caroline Peterson ,2012

Professional Film makers have made films about the people of Atauro:
 - Timor Leste Mermaids – Adara, 2018 (8mins)
 - Priests of Atauro,Claudio - Savaget,2021,90mins)
 Both films can be accessed through You Tube and are good viewing.

Jul 30

Student Scholarship Program

News , Projects - Current , Promoting health, education and EcoDev , Supporting Communities

Project description:
Providing scholarships for students from Atauro to study at either  tertiary or vocational colleges. Our first student started in 2011 and our first graduate was in 2016. Up to 2021 we have had 11 students graduate and we currently support 7 students in their studies.

Project Need: 
Very few families on Atauro Island have the financial resources to send their children to the mainland for further education. Most are subsistence farmers/fishermen and there is a limited cash economy. It is unlikely that young people staying on the island will be able to obtain paid employment. Education is vital to the development of Atauro Island and for Timor Leste as a nation. By providing an opportunity for some of the brighter, hard-working students to pursue higher education we can have an impact on individuals, families and the wider community.

Project description, cost and management:
Marcelo Belo Soares is our liaison officer on Atauro who works with the senior High School teachers to identify potential candidates and to arrange a rigorous selection process including interviews, parent meetings and the signing of an agreement. Indigo Atauro Friendship provides some financial support for the work done on our behalf by Marcelo. He will liaise with the Alola Foundation to provide the best possible support for the students while they are in Dili.
The move to Dili away from family and friends is often a difficult one. Some of our students are mature age and have family responsibilities that make it difficult to combine study, work and family care. Others have had serious health issues that have prevented them from completing their studies. We currently have 4 students on leave, 3 of whom have expressed a strong desire to return and complete their course.
The resilience of all of these young people is to be admired.
We have elected to award scholarships to one male and one female student each year. These students will be assisted to select their courses at accredited institutions, then financially supported to attend that institution. Funds will cover tuition fees, books and other stationery, travel costs and living expenses of $80 US per month. For most students the financial support to complete their education will continue for three to five years. The students will be required to show evidence that they are attending and passing their courses.

Project costs:
Scholarship for one year (Between $2000AUD and $3500AUD depending on course)

Indigo representative Marcelo Soares provides an introduction to all candidates and their parents before the interviews in 2020/2021

Marcelo briefs the 2 successful candidates and their parents about the scholarship program requirements before they go to the Alola Foundation in Dili.

Graduate  Indigo /Atauro Friendship Scholarship Students

2016      Eva Saldhla, Nursing, Cristal Institute, sponsored by Beechworth Surgery

                Alirio Soares, Community Health, UNPAZ (Peace University), sponsored by Beechworth Uniting Church

                Barnabe de Araujo Soares, Nursing, Cristal Institute, general sponsorship

2017       Anani Weles, UNTL, Information technology, sponsored by Indigo Shire/ Porter family

                Leopoldina dos Santos, Tourism &Hospitality, DIT, sponsored by Skirmer family & CSU Ecotourism

2018       Marcelina de Araujo, Economic Management, UNPAZ, sponsored by Indigo Shire

                Gedeo Soares, Engineering, DIT, sponsored by Turnbull family

2019       Charles Xavier, Information Technology, Institute of Business, sponsored by Hosking/Taylor family

                Obed de Araujo, Nursing, Institute of Health Science, sponsored by Indigo Shire

2020       Herminia de Costa Soares, Hospitality Cert. 2, Tibar Vocational college, sponsored by Porter family

2021       Germano de Araujo, Geology, UNTL, sponsored by Beechworth Uniting Church

We congratulate all of our students.We wish our graduates in particular good luck in finding employment in the area of their choosing. Often students have taken on voluntary positions in an effort to gain experience and be in a position to fill paid employment when available. In this way they are making a very special contribution to the Atauro community and other communities around Timor Leste.

Current students:

UNTL refers to the National University of Timor Leste, DIT is The Dili Institute

Ratna De Araujo - Nursing at Cristal Institute

Josefino De Costa Gusmao - Civil Engineering at UNTL

Crizanio Freitas Soares - Animal Health at UNTL

Juvinal Soares - Medicine at UNTL

Anabela Cura de Araujo - Accounting at UNTL

Eva de Araujo Lopes - Laboratory Science at UNTL 

Martinho Soares - Agriculture at UNTL

Rosalita da Costa Soares - Tourism & Hospitality, Deli Institute

Domingos P de Araujo Soares - Science Education, Catholic University

Oct 31

School Support

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Education , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

The Friends of Atauro  and more recently Indigo Atauro friendship  Inc. have been generous in supplying school materials ,readers ,sporting goods to the schools  of Atauro. The IAFC supported two secondary teachers on exchange to Beechworth and Rutherglen High Schools and there has been some interaction between Indigo school students and those on Atauro. Recently the Youth Ambassadors from Indigo’s primary schools have been strong supporters of the development of school gardens on Atauro. See current projects for details.

Pedro & Antonio on exchange in Indigo  

Indigo visitors talk to senior students about the scholarship program

Marcelo and Atauro senior students model donated Rutherglen High school sports uniforms

Oct 31

Primary School Professional Development

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Education , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

Primary School Professional Development using whole school model (teachers.students and parents.)

Compact Teacher Training Project Report – Lesley Milne
In 2011, the Indigo Atauro Friendship Committee committed to supporting education on Atauro in a sustainable way. At this time, very few teachers on Atauro had any formal training in education and relied on their own experience of schooling to guide them in their teaching. Current educational research suggests that the single most important factor that influences children’s learning is quality of teaching. The IAFC made contact with a group of Timorese teacher trainers who had experience in delivering a model of in-service training for primary school teachers in Timor, initially funded by the Norwegian Refugee Council, and had delivered the Compact Teacher Training Programme to staff in over thirty primary schools in Ermera and Manatuto districts. The team work in the Learning Resource Centre in Dili and have now delivered the CTT program to many other schools in Timor, receiving enthusiastic endorsement form the teachers, their principals and the Head of Education on Atauro.

Identify the needs of teachers on Atauro through a process of consultation with the teachers and Suco Chefes

  • Expand the capacity of primary teachers and enhance the learning experiences of primary aged children in every primary school on Atauro
  • Offer the provision of the
    Compact Teacher Training Programme which involves an intensive five week programme facilitated by two Timorese trainers in Tetun in every primary school.
  • Provide focussed, competency based training covering the domains of Teaching and Learning, Curriculum, Language and Professionalism
  • Collaborate with a local partner organisation to provide qualified Timorese education facilitators, all of whom have a degree in Education and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment from Victoria University
  • Undertake detailed evaluations of each program and provide follow-up needs analysis to determine future training needs
  • Continue to work with the National Teacher Training Institute and the Ministry of Education

The program has been delivered to all ten primary schools. The cost for training between 12 and 20 teachers was initially about $4,000. This covered the salaries and travel expenses of two trainers; one male and one female, all teaching and learning materials, lunch and afternoon tea for participants, a driver and cook, and all administration costs. The actual cost has risen enormously since 2011 and the strong US dollar has made the conversion very expensive. The final schools cost over $7200, which has been a challenge to meet. Our grateful thanks go to all of our generous supporters, donors and sponsors.

Feedback from evaluations from teachers, principals and the Head of Education on Atauro has been overwhelmingly positive and every school has requested more training of this kind. 73 teachers have now participated in this training program, which represents a significant contribution to building teacher capacity on Atauro.

Teachers participating in program

Students participating in program

Certificate from PD program

Compact Teacher training team

Oct 30

Developing and supporting kindergartens

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Education , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

The first initiative of Roman Luan on Atauro was to establish kindergartens. The junior councillors of Indigo Shire chose to support this initiative and showed their willingness to consider the welfare of people outside the home area. This support continued for a number of years until the central Timor Leste government took control of most of the kindergartens.

Frances from Indigo visiting one of the original kindergartens in 2011

Rob from Indigo delivering toys donated from the Corowa community to Makadade kindergarten 2015

Oct 30

Providing equipment & training staff for Atauro’s medical centre

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Health , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

From 2011 onwards some of our supported scholarship students trained as health professionals. These students have returned to the island to work in various Health clinics around Atauro both in voluntary and paid positions.

Over a significant period of time the cyclists of Beechworth and Rutherglen have donated considerable funds to the Friendship group. These  funds have been used to purchase both general equipment for medical clinics on Atauro and specialised equipment used by midwifes.

In 2020 Indigo/Atauro with the assistance of Rotary was able to transport a large number of Mobility aids to the clinics of Atauro. These aids were donated by organisations in Corowa and Rutherglen,

Makili health clinic

Recipient of walker

Midwife in Makili

Graduated nurses and public health workers in Roman Luan office

Marcelo and newly arrived mobility aids

Director of clinic receiving equipment from Marcelo

Oct 31

Tua Ko’in Eco Lodge

News , Projects - Past , Projects Past Promoting Economic Development , Promoting health, education and EcoDev

Roman Luan constructed and operated an eco lodge accommodation for a number of years on a beachside site near Vila. The IAFC actively supported their efforts to establish a profitable business which provided employment and training in the hospitality industry and a much needed cash flow to support Roman Luan’s other projects. The eco-lodge manager was one of Atauro’s first visitors/exchanges to Indigo Shire.

Pasta making workshop

Lunch at Tua Ko'in Eco Lodge

Duarte (Lodge manager) on exchange in Indigo

Eco Lodge accommodation