ERMERA, 25 November 2021:EU-UN Spotlight Initiative-UNDP, Fokupers, and the Secretary of State of Equality and Inclusion (SSEI) collaborated with the Ermera Municipality Authority to launch a collective action called the “Orange the World: End violence against women now”, in Gleno, to jump start this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Campaign in Ermera Municipality.
The campaign is celebrated globally every year from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th of November until the International Human Rights Day on 10th of December.
The event was opened by the Mayor of the Ermera Municipality, Mr. Eusébio Salsinha. In the opening remark, the Mayor stated that, “According to the report from Ermera Police’s Vulnerable Person Unit (VPU), there were 77 new cases in November 2021, with 37% prevalence of GBV cases, in Ermera Municipality. Therefore, to build a collective action among relevant partners, and achieve the global agenda on gender equality with empowered women and girls, are essential in order to eliminate gender-based violence, from now and onward, in Ermera Municipality.”
Meanwhile, in his report, the President of the Organizing Committee, Mr. Constantino Exposto, mentioned that, “On behalf of the event organizer committee, I would like to wish a wonderful 16 Days Campaign Launching. It is the first time for this event to be conducted in Ermera Municipality. In this opportunity, I would like to express my high gratitude to EU-UN Spotlight Initiative UNDP, Fokupers, and SEII for their collaboration with the local authority of Ermera Municipality to initiate and fund this event. My appreciation is also for the contribution of CARE INTERNATIONAL, HAMNASA, ARCOIRIS, and CCI Ermera Municipality in funding this event. Also, for all of the hard work of the event committee members and community organizers, and all relevant partners, thank you. The amount of total funding collected to support this event is US$ 3,773.”
The event was held in two locations in Ermera Municipality. The launching ceremony which included a bazaar, quizzes, free vaccinations, music and dance performances was held all day in Kampo Terras. It provided the opportunity for 23 women survivors of violence from the municipality to showcase and sell their products.
A seminar titled “End Violence against Women, Empower the Economy of Women Survivors” was held at the meeting hall of the Ermera Municipal Authority from 9.30 A.M. to 12.30 P.M. The speakers included Mrs. Maria da Costa, a women survivor from Ermera Municipality, Mrs. Agostinha da Costa, Chief of the Socioeconomic Department of SSEI, Mr. Rui Alexandrinho Pacheco, the Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Timor-Leste (CCI-TL), Mr. Joao Monteiro, Head of the Democratic Governance Unit (DGU), Spotlight Initiative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mrs. Genoveva Martins, Ex-Titular, and Priest Dionildo de Andrade, Prior of the Chuch in Ermera.
Highlighting the importance of the event, Mr. Livio Xavier, the Project Manager of UNDP, mentioned that, “According to Spotlight Initiative’s 2020 Annual Report, in Bobonaro, Ermera and Viqueque alone, 3,511 women reported physical or sexual violence in 2020. Out of that number, 369 were girls under 19 years old.”
The event was funded by the European Union through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative (represented by UNDP) and the Reforsa Hamutuk project (represented by Fokupers), as well as by SEII, CARE INTERNATIONAL-HATUTAN PROJECT, ARCOIRIS, and HAMNASA, with important contributions from the Municipal Authority of Ermera.
Speaking about the aims of the event, Mrs. Domingas Amaral, the Vice Director of Fokupers, mentioned that, “We hope to build public awareness on violence against women and girls and encourage the local community members in Ermera to participate in the efforts to end it. We would like to also emphasis the importance of economic empowerment in helping women victims to leave the circle of violence.”
Speaking further, she stated that, through the bazaar in this event, Ermera women survivors were able to showcase and sell their products to the wider community. They had the opportunity to network amongst themselves, widen their personal network to reach business institutions and government officials, and access additional support to further expand their businesses. More importantly, this event allowed for solidarity, not only from the general public and government officials, but also from other institutions, such as the Church, that have important roles and contributions in stopping violence against women and girls and in promoting gender equality.
About the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative
To address the challenges of VAWG, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations have embarked on a new multi-year programme, the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. The Spotlight Initiative aims to support transformative change on the ground to end violence against women and girls and harmful practices, in numerous countries globally. The Initiative comes with the highest level of commitment globally and is governed by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Vice President of the EU Commission.
The Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is implemented through five UN agencies (UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF, and ILO) with a focus on addressing intimate partner violence and domestic violence.
The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is that women and girls enjoy their right to a life free of violence, within an inclusive and gender equitable Timor-Leste.
The programme, aligned to the Timor-Leste “National Action Plan on Gender based Violence (2017- 2021)”, will contribute to the elimination of domestic violence/ intimate partner violence (DV/IPV) by responding to the needs of women and girls and addressing the underlying causes of violence against women and girls using a multi-sectoral and intersectional approach to implement intervention on the following six outcomes areas: Pillar 1: Legislation and Policies, Pillar 2: Institutional strengthening, Pillar 3: Prevention of violence, Pillar 4: Available, accessible, and acceptable, quality services, Pillar 5: Quality and reliable data, Pillar 6: Supporting women’s movements and relevant civil society organizations.
About the Reforsa Hamutuk Project
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union between 27 Member States. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The EU is the largest trade block in the world; as well as the world’s largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally. (**)