Timor Leste – Hatching a Plan

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Timor Leste – Hatching a Plan

Category : Updates

Earlier in the year Aquaculture without Frontiers agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with CERES Global, which is a project of the not-for-profit CERES community Environment Park in Melbourne, and slowly and surely the organisations have been exploring ideas.

CERES Global has been building long term relationships with a number of international communities over the past 10 years. As those relationships have developed there has been the opportunity for them and their staff and volunteers to work alongside the local communities on initiatives to overcome social and environmental challenges.

In June 2015 CERES Global made a return to Timor-Leste for a third visit, with a particular emphasis in food security, sustainability, and sustainable agriculture. In partnership with the Aileu Science & Technology institute (ASTI), CERES Global planned to have conversations around permaculture, aquaculture, and sustainable agriculture.

Django van Tholen, the AwF volunteer that connected us to CERES Global, is an Environmental Scientist with a freshwater biology and management background and the projects that he has worked on to date have all had an innovative focus in re-imagining the systems and linkages that relate to the management of freshwater systems, aquaculture, and community resource management.

Django was keen to expand his horizons and engaged on the trip to Timor-Leste with CERES Global. This trip offered a unique opportunity to meet with various individuals and stakeholders from a range of backgrounds and presented a valuable insight into a range of overlapping and cross cutting development directives, initiatives, programs and projects being undertaken across scales.

Armed with AwF contacts in Timor-Leste and a deep understanding of ecological sustainable development and the critical need for global change and creating innovation for community and industry with a triple bottom line, Django went on the voyage of discovery and his report is shared @ TIMOR-LESTE: (Trip Report July 2015) PDF.

As a result of the trip and what he learned Django was keen to find a way back to Timor-Leste and has been able to obtain a position with World Fish, which although short term, may enable him to get more of a foundation and more contacts for something more permanent. In the meantime he will keep us all informed on his travels and will be on the look-out for both CERES Global and AwF to build on their connections with Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste is considered as one of the poorest countries in the world and extreme poverty and food insecurity are stark facts in the lives of many people living in the rural areas, where undernutrition affects 45% of children under the age of five.

The knowledge that fish is rich in micronutrients and is an important part of a balanced diet we and many others appreciate the huge potential that exists to develop aquaculture as a means to provide nutrition and alternate livelihoods in the country. Interestingly the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Timor-Leste have a National Aquaculture Development Strategy Implementation Plan (ADSIP) but, of course, delivering under the plan requires resources, capacity and capability and takes patience and lots of support.

CERES Global organises trips, run at cost price, generally annually to all of the centres with which they collaborate and you can connect with them through http://ceres.org.au/ceres-global/ .   The participant fee includes meals, accommodation, transport, community contributions, facilitator support, carbon offsets, pre-trip preparations and administration. It does not include flights, passport, visa, medical and items of a personal nature. AwF people interested in engaging in future trips are always welcome and, in time, the aim is to connect aquaculture in all the programs.

The Values, Vision, and Mission of the two organisations are consistent, and the strategic objectives of AwF fit with CERES Global’s current and ongoing activities. As such both parties are looking to build on the foundation now that Django has shown the way.