Catalyzing Progress and Envisioning the Future of the Together for Equality Programme (T4E) in Timor-Leste

October 18, 2023

Together fo Equality showcase

Together for Equality Project

Dili, 11/10/2023 – The Hamutuk ba Igualdade (Together for Equality: Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Timor-Leste (T4E) is set to host a transformative two-day event, bringing together project partners, beneficiaries, government officials, and experts to share progress, insights, and strategies in the fight against gender-based violence in Timor-Leste. The event aims to showcase the T4E’s interventions undertaken so far, discuss lessons learned, identify successful approaches for scaling up, and develop a sustainability strategy as the project nears its closure in November 2024. Participants in the event include UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Funmi Balogun, Country Director of KOICA Timor-Leste, Ms. Eunju Cha, Director General of the Secretary of State for Equality (SEI), Mr. Armando da Costa, joint steering committee members, representatives of the line ministries & departments, and development partners.

The "Together for Equality" program, generously funded by KOICA over a 4-year duration since its inception in November 2020, was designed to complement the government's ongoing initiatives outlined in the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, spearheaded by SEI. This collaborative joint program spans four target municipalities: Dili, Baucau, Covalima, and RAEOA and its implementation is overseen by four United Nations agencies, namely UN Women, UNFPA, IOM, and UNDP.

During the event, a distinguished panel of 18 speakers from diverse institutions showcased how the T4E project has enriched their experiences, offering insights into good practices while also addressing the challenges encountered during the project's implementation. Notably, the event underscored the significance of key interventions, demonstrating how these initiatives have effectively supported the fight against gender-based violence and bolstered responses regarding this issue. An additional point of discussion was the scaling up of the initiative and ensuring the sustainability of the project, thereby extending its positive impact well beyond the closing date. This multifaceted approach encompasses strengthening the project's influence while promoting institutional and societal ownership to further build upon the project's achievements.

T4E is a comprehensive program aimed at preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) and promoting gender equality in Timor-Leste. As of September 2023, the project reached a milestone by positively impacting the lives of 54,422 direct beneficiaries, including 31,659 women, 22,668 men, 10 LGBTI members, and 83 people with disabilities across four municipalities. The efforts from the project have also supported 18 Government Institutions and 29 Civil Society Organizations.  


According to findings from DHS 2016, almost half of married women have husbands with controlling behavior. Additionally, 74% of women agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife. With this mentality still visible among communities in the country, an extensive GBV-focused project is critical.  

The Together for Equality partnership supports Timor-Leste’s implementation of its NAP-GBV, led by SEI and the National SDG Roadmap, has collaborated with key line ministries and CSOs working to prevent GBV, provide support to key health and justice services, strengthen monitoring and reporting on violence in public and private spaces, and address GBV in the context of disaster risk reduction. 


According to the Director General of the Secretary of State for Equality, Mr. Armando da Costa, “ We stand unwavering in our commitment to collaborative efforts with line ministries, municipal authorities, CSO partners, and development partners. Through the T4E program, we have achieved significant progress in changing social norms related to gender-based violence, primarily through educational sessions, while also enhancing service accessibility and quality to ensure inclusivity regardless of gender or ability. As we celebrate these milestones, we acknowledge that our mission to end gender-based violence is an ongoing endeavor. SEI remains steadfast in our dedication to strengthening the implementation of the NAP-GBV to create a Timor-Leste where every individual lives free from violence”


UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Funmi Balogun, emphasized, "The initiatives we undertake today and the dialogues we partake in during the next two days are beyond mere rhetoric and declarations. They constitute a genuine effort to transform our verbal pledges into concrete actions, and our dedication into measurable outcomes. Our mission steadfastly centers on the pursuit of a Timor-Leste where every woman and girl can live without violence, where essential services are easily within reach, and where the pursuit of justice is not an aspiration but an attainable reality."


KOICA Country Director, Ms. Eunju Cha, highlighted that since 2020, KOICA, in collaboration with the United Nations, has been implementing the T4E project to enable women and girls in Timor-Leste to escape violence and provide essential services to survivors of gender-based violence, thereby fostering a society where women's rights are respected and protected. She said, "Last year, 2022, the T4E project reached a total of 32,643 individuals, including 18,663 women and 13,980 men, providing diverse educational programs that aim to prevent gender-based violence. We anticipate completing similar-sized educational initiatives to improve women's rights in the coming years.”


The project incorporates proven approaches to prevent gender-based violence (GBV) proactively. It focuses on various target groups, including individuals (particularly young people and marginalized communities), to equip them with knowledge and skills to become catalysts for change. By empowering families and communities, the project aims to foster resilience against sexual harassment and other forms of GBV. Additionally, the project provides support to vital government institutions, enabling them to expand their outreach, and allocation of resources and enhance the quality of essential support services. 

As Together for Equality nears its conclusion, this event serves as a call to action. It challenges stakeholders to explore sustainability strategies, ensuring that the progress achieved endures and continues to make a difference in the lives of those affected by gender-based violence.

Together for Equality brings together the expertise and roles of Timor-Leste Government institutions, the four implemented UN agencies, KOICA, and CSOs building on the collective strengths as partners to address the connected issues of domestic violence in the family, sexual harassment, and violence in public spaces as well as GBV in the context of disasters risk reduction.



About Together for Equality

The Together for Equality partnerships support Timor-Leste’s implementation of its National Action Plan 2022-2023 (NAP-GBV), led by the Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion and the National SDG Roadmap, in collaboration with key line ministries and CSOs working to prevent GBV, provide support to key health and justice services, strengthen monitoring and reporting on violence in public and private spaces, and address GBV in the context of disaster risk reduction. This project also directly supports KOICA’s global flagship “Fill the Gap” Initiative supporting countries to reach targets on SDG 5 on gender equality. 


For more information, contact:


Teresa Verdial

National Programme Officer 

UN Women, Timor-Leste

Mobile: +670 77569325, Email: 


Nuntana Tangwinit

Programme Specialist 

UN Women, Timor-Leste

Mobile: +670 77380959, Email: