Timor-Leste

Renovation creates new opportunities in Timor Leste district

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Local communities in Maliana District in western Timor Leste are transforming the former district administrator's residence into an income-generating guest house.
Built at a scenic location during the 1960s when the country was under Portuguese rule, the residence was extensively damaged during the 1999 violence by militia groups following the popular vote for independence from Indonesia.

The Norwegian Government, in consultation with local communities and the district administration, allocated US$239,760 to UNDP in 2000 for the renovation project.

Working closely with the UN Office for Project Services, UNDP developed the initiative based on community participation and self help. A local company won the reconstruction contract last year.

Scheduled for completion at the end of the month, the guest house will provide employment for people in the area, including widows and youth. To put the venture on a sound footing, the project is providing community members with training on tourism, hotel management and day-to-day operations.

Income will be used to cover the running costs and the balance will be kept in a trust fund to support future community development activities in the district.

"The guest house will be an important part of the district infrastructure for tourism development," said UNDP Resident Representative Sukehiro Hasegawa. It is also offers a key resource for creating job opportunities for the people of Maliana that can bring dynamism to the district's economy, he said.

For further information please contact Rita Pires (rita.pires@undp.org), UNDP Timor Leste, or Trygve Olfarnes (trygve.olfarnes@undp.org), UNDP Communications Office.