Spotlight Initiative: Our Journey Toward Zero Gender-Based Violence

Empower locally to change nationally

July 10, 2023

Ermera’s local key authorities starting the Training of Trainers with some ice breakers

@UNDP Timor-Leste/Carolina Couto da Silva

As in any battle, the stronger your allies, the better your chances of success. The empowering of local key actors in the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and the promotion of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) is critical for the success and sustainability of Spotlight Initiative’s fight to end violence against women and girls.

As a result, UNDP organized a transformative Training of Trainers (ToT) followed by GESI and GBV refresher training over four days in partnership with the Ermera Municipal Authority and SEII (Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion). This effort aims to provide Ermera's municipal authorities, including gender focal points and Gender Working Group (GWG) members from line ministries, with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully address GBV and lead advocacy initiatives in their respective communities.

Mari Amaral, SEII’s Focal Point in Railaco

@UNDP Timor-Leste/Carolina Couto da Silva

"I've taken several GBV courses, but the TOT component of this one is critical for me to be professional when assisting others and discussing GBV." As stated by Maria Amaral, SEII’s Focal Point in Railaco, the purpose of this program was to certify government officials who had previously attended GBV and gender mainstreaming training. The initiative emphasizes sustainability, cost efficiency, and long-term impact by building a pool of qualified trainers inside line ministries, allowing locally available government resources to be used, a priority investment as Timor-Leste progresses towards decentralization.

During the activity's opening, UNDP's Deputy Resident Representative Adeline Carrier emphasized how this was "...part of the municipality's recommendation from the recent consultation conducted by UNDP's gender specialist in Ermera." The recent Spotlight Initiative Report highlighted the need for capacity building in gender training since just one-third of participants had prior exposure to such training. The report also revealed the urgency of addressing gender-based violence and domestic violence, given that Ermera ranks second highest in cases of intimate partner violence in Timor-Leste “… heavily affecting women and girls in many ways. And remember these women are our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters”, urges Adeline.

Adeline Carrier expressed her hope that the training would help participants to build strategies and coordinated plans of action linked with the NAP-GBV, producing a ripple effect in promoting gender equality and combating GBV at the municipal level from the top down. "Those in positions of municipal leadership have a higher responsibility to prevent Gender-Based Violence," says Alexandre Salsinha, Ermera's Post Administrator, "We must work together to prevent violence against women and girls and its negative impacts in our communities.”

Alexandre Salsinha, Ermera's Post Administrator

@UNDP Timor-Leste/Carolina Couto da Silva

Through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, Ermera municipality has made amazing improvements in the battle against gender-based violence. The ToT and refresher training have provided municipal authorities with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to successfully combat GBV. The Initiative ensures that the response to GBV is comprehensive, inclusive, and long-term through encouraging partnerships and collective action.
Ermera's municipal authorities are leading the charge for gender equality and socioeconomic inclusion, with the backing of civil society organizations and local communities. As we continue on this path together, we are committed to empowering local key players, improving lives, and fostering a society in which violence against women and girls is not tolerated.

ToT, GESI & GBV Training Participants

@UNDP Timor-Leste/Carolina Couto da Silva