As we speak, the Oaktree team are over in Timor visiting 8 of the 15 small business groups, meeting the people and learning about their successes and challenges! Driving from village to village in some the most remote parts of timor, they are witnessing incredible changes and the project in action!Catch the FIRST VIDEO CLIP fresh out of Aileu, Timor here on the eXchange. It is literally hot of the press with the Oaktree team getting back from aileu Wednesday night!!
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Our guest bloggers are online now!! Ali Readhead our National Director of Overseas Projects, and Paddy Tobias our East Timor Project Officer!
In March 2009, Oaktree, in partnership with Plan Timor-Leste and Plan Australia, commenced a Youth Livelihoods Project, in Aileu District, just south of Dilli. Since then this project has sought to equip around 200 young people in Aileu with the skills to establish their own small businesses. To prepare the participants for setting up their businesses Plan has provided technical training around their specific area of business, such as chicken farming, along with business and organisational management training, financial literacy, and conflict resolution training. In the middle of this year all the businesses received materials from Plan to begin. For example, a fish farming business received 100 baby fish, along with fish food, and netting to line their large pond. Many of the businesses are now underway and have begun to earn their first small amount of income. By the middle of 2011, when the project concludes we hope to have 15 sustainable businesses up and running, providing a much needed income to the participants and their families, and renewed pride for their communities.
Paddy and Ali are part of the Oaktree Projects team and are over in Timor-Leste for 10 days to monitor the project and see how it is progressing. They have just spent 3 days in Aileu with Plan staff visiting 8 of the 15 small business groups, and seeing what they are up to!! A report from their trip ill be available in the coming months. The visited a variety of businesses including – chicken farming, horticulture, goat farming, fish farming, and coffee grinding!
The project is having a powerful impact, while many of the businesses are only in early stages, some have begun to earn income, and perhaps most importantly, the participants ability to work in a group, organise themselves, develop a business plan, market their produce and so on, is pretty phenomenal. Many of the young people involved have it really tough, with many having lost parents during the indonesian occupation, making the little money they earn through these businesses all the more important as they seek to support their remaining family members.