Community Employment Project Aims to Create Jobs and Stimulate Local Economy in East Timor

DILI, April 3, 2000 -- A target population of 600 of the poorest people in village communities in Dili, East Timor, will benefit from a US$499,000 Community Employment Generation Project grant signed on Saturday by Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative to the UN Secretary General; Sarah Cliffe, World Bank Mission Chief in East Timor; Finn Reske-Nielsen, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Representative, and Avelino Coelho on behalf of the East Timor National Consultative Council (NCC). UNDP has already started project set-up, including procurement of equipment, so that jobs can be created quickly during April. A pilot program has already started in one community district and project activities will progressively spread throughout the Dili urban areas over the next two months.
"It is extremely important that we start implementing, as expeditiously as possible, labor intensive projects like this in Dili as well as in the districts," said Vieira de Mello. This project is part of a coordinated effort by different partners that has resulted in the creation of thousands of jobs in recent weeks."

The project complements the Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project financed by the Trust Fund for East Timor, which invests in communities outside Dili. It also complements the Transitional Employment Project and the Quick Impact Project, which are funded by other organizations. With a duration of five months, the project has been designed to enhance community cohesion in Dili through the involvement of community leaders in decision making and the employment of community members. It aims to provide a safety net for the poorest families through income generation.

"This project is critical to create jobs quickly for the poorest workers," said Cliffe. "Funded through the Trust Fund for East Timor, the partnership between the World Bank, UNDP, UNTAET and Timorese leadership aims to alleviate poverty by creating jobs and stimulating the local economy," she said.

Under UNDP's management and with the active involvement of key stakeholders, the project will concentrate on the cleaning up of rubble and debris from the streets of Dili. Solid waste will be collected by teams of community workers and taken to collection points where it will be sorted. Recyclable materials such as plastic, aluminum cans and steel will be separated. Concrete will be broken up into road filling aggregate. Environmental considerations have weighed heavily in designing the project and its management procedures.

Benefits from the project will derive from the promotion of social stabilization through the provision of short-term employment; the injection of wage payments into local communities; and public health improvement through environmental enhancement. A Project Steering Committee consisting of representatives of the Bank, UNDP, UNTAET, and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) will meet regularly to monitor, review and advise on implementation. In the next fiscal year, waste management services are expected to be incorporated in to the government budget. The project has been independently technically audited and passed by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT).

In addition to community development projects, the World Bank is working closely with UNTAET, the East Timorese people, and contributing donors on small and medium enterprise, education, health, infrastructure, economic capacity building, and urban planning.

Contact Person:

In Dili: Loty Salazar 614-07-712-153
or 6729-390-321-178
e-mail: lsalazar@worldbank.org

In Washington: Sharon Goldstein (202) 473-3531
e-mail: sgoldstein@worldbank.org