With the goal to reduce poverty and build peace in East Timor?s rural areas, IMVF has been strengthening its cooperation with NGOs, groups and associations that work on sustainable agriculture in this Southeast Asian country.

The revival of HASATIL ? Sustainable Agriculture Network ? which encompasses civil society organisations that work on sustainable development of all over the country is one of the main challenges of the ?Programme for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building of HASATIL and the Civil Society Organisations working on Rural Development?, implemented by IMVF in partnership with Foundation ETADEP, Belun and Fokupers and co-financed by the European Union and Portuguese Cooperation.

East Timorese Civil Society in full swing

Working informally since 2007, HASATIL had its General Assembly on the 21st and 22nd of March 2013, in Díli, a meeting that was attended by members from almost all districts.

Showing how important this Assembly was for the country, the opening session had a representative of the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Rural Development, a representative of the Ministry of Finances and the Executive Secretary of FONGTIL (East Timorese NGO Forum), Arsénio Pereira.

At the event there was a presentation and debate on the study ?Institutional Analysis of the HASATIL Network and its Members?, conducted by Foundation ETADEP with the support of IMVF, as part of the above mentioned project. 10 new members were approved and new HASATIL statutes were validated. At the Assembly there was also the election of a new Committee of Management of the Network, made up of the following organisations: ETADEP, HAK, HABURAS, USC-Canada and CIACS.

New space, new challenges

The HASATIL was not only restructured but its headquarters were also rehabilitated. The new space was inaugurated on the 23rd of March and at the inauguration was the Minister of Agriculture, Mariano Assunami Sabino. At the ceremony the minister recognised the importance of civil society for national development and invited HASATIL to be a permanent member of the Board of the Ministry of Agriculture. At the event there was also a debate on the Law of Seeds ? theme which has been on the political agenda for the last months. The discussion was on the need for the law to reflect the full concept of Food Sovereignty.

With the Programme for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building of HASATIL and the Civil Society Organisations working on Rural Development in East Timor, which takes place between March 2012 and March 2015, IMVF and the local partners will benefit the rural communities of 13 districts of East Timor, which represents approximately 77% of the population.

In addition, in this first year of project, 12 HASATIL members have already been selected to have a role as antennas of the network and multiplying actors, disseminating information and providing training on rural development and peace building in the several districts of the country. They have benefited from an intensive training and technical and material capacity building programme, which aims to promote more efficient and sustainable interventions in the beneficiary communities.

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