Evaluation of Community Engagement in Suco Holarua

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1. Introduction

Engineering Without Borders (EWB), and Water Aid, have organised a large scale engineering project for undergraduate engineering students across Australia, known as the EWB Challenge. This challenge encompasses the creation of a design that will positively progress the technical, social, economic and environmental outcomes for those living in Suco Holarua, of the Manufahi Distrit in Timor-Leste. In this project, Water Aid, EWB and my team will work collaboratively with community members in Suco Holarua to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, transforming the lives of some of the most marginalised people in the world. In this scoping study , my area of focus is community engagement, how to best address local ideas, concerns, opportunities (Tindana 2007), and how to best communicate with the community leaders: aldeias, xefe, delegado, and also with community members. (EWB Challenge 2018)

2. Research Findings

2.1  Community Engagement in Suco Holarua

In Timor Leste, Suco Holarua has an approximate population of 7000 people and is positioned in the Manufahi district where the main languages spoken are Tetum, Portuguese and Mambai (Dowling 2015). This causes a language barrier which will need to be interpreted with the help of someone who can translate English, Tetum and Portuguese, in order to communicate with the 13 aldeias. The aldeias each have a Xefe and Delegado who represent their community in public forums and in decision-making, therefore communication with these leaders is vital. 

In order to implement the solutions we find for the EWB challenge, we will need to:

  1. Share Information. Tell the community members about the goals of our project.
  2. Consult. Get feedback from the community members in Holarua about the project.
  3. Decision Make. Get the Holarua community members involved in implementation of our project.
  4. Initiate Action. Get the community members to take initiative for their own interest.

Ways to engage with the community:

  1. Hold a meeting in the village at a time where both working men and women can attend to increase participation.
  2. Speak with teachers and have a seminar for the students at each of the three schools.
  3. Make Radio and TV advertisements to increase the communities knowledge about water aids goal to improve access to safe, clean water and to improve hygeine and ultimately improve their health.

2.2  Social and Gender Issues

Holarua is a patriarchal community in which gender inequality and social norms supress both women and people with disabilities. Men are typically responsible for earning an income and making household decisions. However, women are responsible for breeding livestock, helping fisheries and improving agriculture for their families. In Holarua, gender inequality is perpetuated through polygamy, bride prices, property rights and inheritance. This is demonstrated by Timor Leste ranking 118th out of 149 countries on the gender inequality index in 2012 (Rodriguez 2014). Refer to figure 1, which displays the significance of gender inequality in Holarua compared to Australia. To engage with the entire Holarua community, we will need to organise a meeting in the village at a time where both working men and women can attend to increase social inclusion and participation in the projects design (Molnar 2010).

(Figure 1)

2.3  Cultural Issues

In Holarua, around 90% of the community members are Roman Catholics and the remaining religious groups include protestant, muslim or Hindu (Tindana 2007). According to the 2016 census, 30% of Australians are atheists, 22% are catholic, 13% are anglican and the rest fall under other religious groups (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016). The cultural heritage between the two countries vastly differs which would create a deep religious variance between the Holarua community and myself.  Solutions to reduce this cultural difference include: wearing Timorese clothing, eating what the village members eat and behaving respectfully similarly to someone that understands their culture, possibly imitating the actions of a community member. If there is less cultural contrast the Village community members will be more inclined to engage with my design/project. 

2.4 Economic Issues

Infrastructure problems, harder to get there = barrier. Speak with community leaders and demonstrate our purpose

In Timor-Leste, Nearly 37% of the population live below the international poverty line of $1.84 AUD per day, and in 2010 the adult literacy rate in English was 10.2% (Knoema Corporation 2010). This makes it harder to fully engage with all of their community.

The economy has been growing with the support of a strong oil sector, which has contributed almost 80% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and is the source of more than 90% of government revenues. The growth of the non-oil economy has averaged more than 10% per year since 2007, mainly driven by government spending on capital expenditures. Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan (SDP) 2011–2030 aims to sustain its strong economic growth, with a vision of building a modern, diversified economy. This vision for the economy focuses on investing in core infrastructure, while identifying the agriculture and tourism sectors as key for future development.

The main economy is based on agriculture - the cultivation of wet rice on the plains near major water sources, dry rice fi elds in the hills and mountains, along with co ff ee, maize, tobacco, copra, and various tubers (yams). Agricultural production is, however, mainly for subsistence use. Sandalwood is another important economic item, along with pearl fi shing. Currently tourism is in the process of being developed. Oil and natural gas resources in the sea bed between Timor and Australia are beginning to be extracted but not yet to the fullest potential. Also several donor countries are

committed to sponsoring various development projects. The GDP composition is made up of 55 percent services, 32 percent agriculture, and only 13 percent industry (ibid.). Co ff ee and exploitation of oil and natural gas resources make up only 13 percent of the total GDP.
Molnar, Andrea Katalin. Timor Leste : Politics, History, and Culture, Routledge, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=465530.

Economic issues impacting how we communicate

Timor-Leste celebrated a vital treaty with Australia on their maritime borders in the Timor Sea. (Feijó 2019)

Timor-Leste is a low income country with an emerging private sector, limited economic diversification and a concentration primarily on agricultural production.

2.5  Environmental Issues

In Holarua, people rely heavily on the natural environment to provide them with the essentials to live. However, prolonged Periods of colonialism and underdevelopment culminated the exploitation and mistreatment of their environment. Over these periods of colonialism, Forests were burnt and over-logged which resulted in an increase of landslides , chronic erosion, a decrease in food supply and a decrease in wildlife. See Figure 2, which demonstrates how susceptible the entire village is to landslides (Hosgelen 2014). As of 2018, approximately 25% of the Holarua population (1750 people) were connected to grid electricity and others accessed electricity through solar panels. In Holarua, energy is used to power: light, televisions, cooking, radios, and construction equipment. Furthermore, with the use of radio advertisements we can best communicate with the Holarua community, that my design is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and that water aids goal is to improve access to safe, clean water and to improve general hygeine/health for the whole community (EWB Challenge 2018).

(Figure 2)

2.6 Existing Programmes

Currently in Suco Holarua, School enrolments have rapidly increased, with girls’ rate exceeding boys’ at each level of schooling. In 2010, 94% of primary school age girls and 92% of boys were enrolled in school. Net enrollments in presecondary school were 34% for girls and 27% for boys. Net enrollments in secondary school are still low at 21% for girls and 17% for boys.

In 2013, the government allocated $103  million to education, 12.8% of the total state budget. An additional $9 million was allocated for education infrastructure costs with the plan to build 250 new preschools, 5 new technical and vocational schools, and 4 polytechnic institutes.

2.7 Humanitarian Engineering in Suco Holarua

In Holarua, the local partner is Luta ba Futuru (LBF). WaterAid Timor-Leste have also acknowledged the critical role that local government and community members have played in helping Holarua be declared open-defecation free (ODF) in 2018.

In Timor-Leste, WaterAid focuses its work on two specific districts: Liquiçá and Manufahi. They have technical advisers in both locations who help to build the capacity of partner organisations. Being situated in the area also means they are better able to facilitate networks of partners, communities, and local government to support access to water and sanitation as they have stronger relationships with the different stakeholders and a deeper understanding of the local context.

WaterAid and LBF work closely with the Hamutuk initiative, an network which focuses on nutrition outcomes and reducing stunting in children, because diarrhoeal disease from poor sanitation access is a major cause of stunting. Aligning initiatives and collaborating across sectors can lead to much stronger, more sustainable outcomes for communities.

http://daniel.edgington-mitchell.com/humanitarian-engineering/humanitarian-engineering-timor-leste/

Local collaboration

In Holarua, the local partner is Luta ba Futuru (LBF). WaterAid Timor-Leste have also acknowledged the critical role that local government and community members have played in helping Holarua be declared open-defecation free (ODF) in 2018.

Cross-sector collaboration

While reading through the projects in this design brief, you will likely notice that many of the topic areas are inherently linked. WaterAid’s work in water, sanitation, and hygiene is often in collaboration with organisations who work in areas such as nutrition, family planning, climate change, livelihoods, etc. As an example of thinking about the wider system of your project and how this collaboration can have impact, think about the links between sanitation and nutrition - WaterAid and LBF work closely with the Hamutuk initiative, an network which focuses on nutrition outcomes and reducing stunting in children, because diarrhoeal disease from poor sanitation access is a major cause of stunting. Aligning initiatives and collaborating across sectors can lead to much stronger, more sustainable outcomes for communities.

3. Professional connections

Through Linkedin I was able to find the founder and CEO of Co Good Australia, Gail Jackman. Gail studied project engineering at the university of South Australia which lead to the launch of a humanitarian engineering project in Cambodia back in 2011. Over the past 10 years she has worked, taught and learnt at the university of South Australia and she is inspirational to me because as she says on her linkedIn she’s “passionate about people and planet… [and] wants to make a difference.” Gail exemplifies how an engineer should portray themselves and also how a project engineer interacts with lower, middle and upper class people. The second professional connection is Megan Chisholm. Megan has over 15 years of experience in the international humanitarian and development sector. She is also the country director of CARE international in Vanuatu and travels to many developing countries around the world helping the less privileged. She speaks 4 languages and graduated from the University of Wollongong with a degree in project engineering and masters in anthropology. Megan demonstrates the core communication skills needed for an effective engineer. According to her colleagues, her greatest strengths include: her ability to connect a wide, strategic viewpoint with detailed operational know-how and translate this into effective outcome, whether in facilitating strategic processes, delivering training or providing programmatic and operational leadership.

References

Use QUT Harvard style. Refer to Library Cite/write website

Some examples:

Journal articles in print:

Hollander, Rachelle D. and Nicholas H. Steneck. 1990. "Science and engineering related ethics and values studies: Characteristics of an emerging field of research." Science, Technology & Human Values 15 (1): 84-104.

Chapter in a book

Taylor, Mark. 2006. "Architecture and interior: A room of one's own." In Intimus: Interior design theory reader, edited by Mark Taylor and Julieanna Preston, 339-344. New York: Wiley Academy.

Online materials – webpage

Stanford, Laurence and David Shurtleff. "A picture of the development of the adolescent brain: a structural and functional assessment." Accessed December 9, 2010. http://drugabuse.gov/whatsnew/meetings/translatinginsights/adolescent_brain.html.

 

Appendix

  • Your Professional Review goes here where you are to respond to Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard 3.2, Effective oral and written communications and document a “beginning” professional review in your Student ePortfolio.
  • Other Appendices could be charts, maps, diagrams, calculations etc, which are not essential to the key message within the report body.
  • Order your appendices A, B, etc as needed.
  • Don’t copy or print out other authors’ text as an appendix. If your reader can easily obtain that content, then it doesn’t need to be appended.

 

4         Bibliography

The livelihoods and wellbeing of children, young people and women are dependent upon agriculture, which is strongly influenced by unique climatic conditions autém is the only sub-district to have a surplus of food stocks, yet shows food shortage for the highest amount of months indicating that mobility of food, transport infrastructure and markets all require further growth. Towns within the region are thus highly vulnerable to the wayward extremes of weather conditions that occur and food sustainability is of particular importance alongside youth development, with just under half the population below the age of 18.

education or tourism program exists already

 how to best communicate with them,radio ads,tv ads,seminars for projects so they can hear about it. In a developing country you might talk to the community leaders who can then relay the solution to the community(identify the community leadres).  Target the younger generatin. Teach the students about sanitation. Implement something during school hours as kids are more open to new ideas rather than adults.

Element addressed? Connection to place and community

How to engage – how to best communicate with them,radio ads,tv ads,seminars for projects so they can hear about it. In a developing country you might talk to the community leaders who can then relay the solution to the community(identify the community leadres).  Target the younger generatin. Teach the students about sanitation. Implement something during school hours as kids are more open to new ideas rather than adults. Can compare a similar area to show the ideas will work.

Humanitarian engineering project.

Whats happening there,now,on the ground.

Whats the purpose of the scoping study

Who is ewb,who is who is water aid

Maps and tables don’t count towards words use them

Throw in economically,socially,technically and environmentally effective

Finish as a summary in the research findings.

Reference textbook and engineers Australia

Headings, sub headings, names below figures and above tables.

Eg, Refer to source 4 for further demonstration of..

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