The International Federation supported the Timor-Leste Red Cross/Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL) in disaster management, health and care, and organizational development programmes in 2008 which demonstrated good results, despite challenging conditions in the country.
Through its community-based disaster preparedness/risk reduction activities in nine districts, the disaster management programme successfully supported communities in reducing the risk of disasters with improved knowledge, skills and material support in the community. Livelihood improvement activities in two communities had very good results. Through branch, national and regional level courses and material support from the government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and International Federation for emergency stocks, the operational capacity of the national society for disaster response has increased. CVTL also received funding support from the Timor-Leste government for emergency stocks.
The health programme also made progress in 2008. This programme was targeted mainly at improving access to safe water and sanitation services; improving knowledge and practice of health-promoting behaviours through community-based first aid; improving first aid knowledge and practice through first aid training and service in target populations; and increasing knowledge of communities towards the prevention of HIV/sexually transmitted infections, and the reduction in discrimination and stigma among the target population of youth and general public. The CVTL focus in 2008 was developed to cover community activities and has met with some success. An external health evaluation highlighted the need to implement interventions and promote change in behaviour that is evidence-based and provides the greatest health benefits.
The health programme also supported the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation in three districts. There is now a complete HIV peer education refresher package that has been used widely and includes monitoring tools. In first aid, there has been success in establishing a selection process for master trainers, providing training to teachers in seven districts, and generating funds through commercial first aid for other health activities. Advocacy work carried out on behalf of the community in relation to the urgent need for the rehabilitation of existing village water systems, and the installation of latrines was successful. Collaboration with the ministry of health at national level has dramatically increased this year with CVTL being a member of many working groups (e.g. health promotion, nutrition, maternal and child health, community health volunteer and outreach service, water and sanitation) that are involved in national health behaviour change communication (BCC) strategies; information, education and communication (IEC) material; and the development of guidelines and procedures.
Organizational development and capacity building activities were targeted at increasing local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability. Information-sharing between branch and national headquarters, planning discussions and the development of procedures including finance procedures, and reporting structures were key achievements. A mid-year operational planning process including a series of workshops to involve all branches in planning was carried out. This resulted in further learning and increased mutual respect for national headquarters management and branch staff, board members and volunteers, from their own remarks.
Branch monitoring carried out by the organizational development coordinator indicated greater engagement of board members in some branches over the year. CVTL programme coordinators and project managers have demonstrated increased capacity both in management decision-making and in leading and facilitating the capacity development of the organization; and identifying and advocating for systems' development needs. The working group model to coordinate and streamline finance development, formalize coordination efforts and provide a clear CVTL lead, and recognition and coordination of various technical support from CVTL partners was well appreciated. Some of the mechanisms introduced through organizational development programme activities have contributed to the development of this capacity. Branch development in the area of staff knowledge and skill-building, and improved service-delivery capacity through better functioning systems continued at a steady pace. The organizational development unit focused largely on management support systems development and a strong CVTL leadership focus on operational and strategic planning, as well as maintaining momentum in critical areas of management support systems development.
Greater awareness and understanding of volunteer-based programming is evident through active participation by branch staff in suggesting operational improvements, including more use of community-based volunteers, and requests for additional training in volunteer management. The internal/external review provides a basis for the second phase of development of the CVTL strategic plan 2010-2014.
Financial situation: The total 2008 budget is CHF 1,681,025 (USD 1.47 million or EUR 1.1 million), of which 125 per cent coverage has been achieved. Expenditure overall was 50 per cent.
Major support for Timor-Leste in 2008 came from Australian Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross, and Norwegian Red Cross. Bilateral partner support to CVTL included Austrian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross working according to the CVTL plan for 2008. Plan International, and the government of Timor-Leste also provided support for the programmes.
On behalf of the Timor-Leste national society, the International Federation would like to thank all partners and donors for their contributions.