I Can' campaign celebrates women's political potential in Timor-Leste

Continuing the commitment to women's participation in all spheres of public life in Timor-Leste, UNIFEM has launched the Hau Bele ("I Can") campaign. This campaign, directed at women's empowerment, will coincide with Timor-Leste's parliamentary election period, yet its relevance reaches far beyond the country's Election Day, 30 June 2007.

Through public advocacy, the "I Can" campaign aims to achieve popular support for the message of gender equality and women's empowerment throughout Timor-Leste. The campaign includes a collection of ten poster portraits of women from around the nation, including a prominent Connosian Sisters representative from the Connosian parish, a local radio journalist, and a mental health counsellor.

To reinforce the message of strength conveyed through these posters, vocalist Cidalia Goncalves has written a theme song that draws from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to highlight women's rights and the democratic value of their political participation. It will be played on Radio Timor Leste (RTL) and distributed to community radio stations and local transport operators. With support from the United Nations Integrated Mission In Timor-Leste (UNMIT), a public service announcement has also been produced for broadcast on Timor-Leste's national television network, TVTL, to show the diverse, dynamic roles women play in public life.

This campaign is part of UNIFEM's Integrated Programme for Women in Politics and Decision Making (WIP), designed to promote women as viable candidates who are informed participants in the political process, as well as to enhance public understanding of gender equality and positive media coverage of women in decision-making. To date, UNIFEM has initiated a presidential debate on gender-based violence and women in politics and workshops for women's wings of competing political parties, which culminated in the signing of a landmark commitment to women's political participation. The programme has also monitored women's participation during each election period through support of the General Election Monitoring Coalition (KOMEG) and local non-governmental organization FOKUPERS.

The WIP programme is being implemented in two phases, pre-election and post-election, to help women maximize their potential throughout the campaign period and throughout their terms in office.

For more information, please contact Chris Parkinson, +670 726 3773, chris.parkinson[at]unifem.org