Milestone attained with take-off of contractor training programme

The ERA Agro-Forestry Project seeks at capacitating 40 contractors, together with central government and municipal officials to construct and supervise rural roads within agro-forestry areas.

News | Dili, Timor-Leste | 29 January 2018
The launch of the ERA Agro-Forestry Project Contractor Training Programme
“The launch of the ERA Agro-Forestry Project Contractor Training Programme, marks a significant milestone for the Partnership Support for Sustainable Agro-Forestry (PSAF)”. This was said by Simon Le Grand, Head of Co-operation of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Timor-Leste and reiterated by various stakeholders at the launch of training for 10 contractors held in Comoro, Dili on 29th January 2018.

Simon Le Grand, observed that EU, financer for the project, is looking forward to the project contributing to poverty reduction through employment generation in infrastructure investment, providing market linkages and targeted employment of youth and women in agro-forestry areas.

During the launch, the implementing agent, ILO was commended for implementing projects which have been able to demonstrate how infrastructure can be created, rehabilitated and maintained cost-effectively with labour-based methods thus creating employment using environmentally safe practices.

Augustus Asare, the ILO OIC Head of Mission emphasised that ILO will continue to support interventions aimed at creating sustainable jobs through employment friendly policies. This will be in line with the country development frameworks including National Strategic Plan (2016-2030), Decent Country Work Programme (DWCP), and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Enhancing Rural Access (ERA) Agro-Forestry Project is a component of the Partnership for Sustainable Agro-Forestry (PSAF) between Timor-Leste, the European Union (EU), Germany (GIZ) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The main objective is to contribute to a peaceful, inclusive and sustainable development in Timor-Leste through improved rural access, creation of employment, economic and domestic revenue opportunities through agro-forestry development, and a durable reduction in food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas.

In his welcoming statement, Father Gui of Don Bosco urged contractors to strive for continuous development and learning so as to remain competitive. Contractors were also encouraged to adhere to quality workmanship, contractual procedures and specifications by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Vice-President, Sr. Joao Alves so as to survive in the challenging environment.

In introductory remarks, Albert Uriyo the ERA Agro-Forestry Project Manager, appreciated the support and involvement of project partners in overcoming challenges faced and realizing the milestone. The 10 Contractors selected were lauded for having gone through a rigorous and competitive selection process. Gender proponents including the EU and the CCI women’s chapter complemented the project in exceeding its set target of 30 percent women participation, by facilitating 50 percent participation of women-owned firms.

Participants to the course comprising Directors, Engineers and Supervisors will be undertaking 11 weeks comprehensive training in Dili and Baucau. Accredited training institutions, namely Don Bosco Training Centre and Institute for Business Development Support (IADE) are providing the training. Training has been designed to accommodate contractors and clients’ challenges and modules to be taught include Construction of Rural Roads using Labour Based Methods, Pavement Construction, Maintenance, Site Training, Contracts and Business Management.

During the official opening of the training, an encouraging message was delivered from Baucau District Administrator Sr. Antonio Guterres, who pledged to offer his full support to the programme. Sr. Antonio also emphasised the need for the selected contractors to uphold professional ethics, as they are not only accountable to themselves, but also the people of Baucau.

The contractors and guests at the launch were also able to get a perspective of what will be offered through an ERA Snapshot Video. They also got first-hand testimony from a trained contractor on achievements following training.

The ERA Agro-Forestry Project seeks at capacitating 40 contractors, together with central government and municipal officials to construct and supervise rural roads within agro-forestry areas. Besides training, it is expected that about 90 kms of roads will be built within agro-forestry locations in Baucau, Viqueque and other districts during the 4 years of the project.

This will facilitate market access, provide about 450,000 worker-days of employment and benefit about 6,000 households within the targeted agro-forestry areas. ERA Agro-Forestry is expected to be a catalyst for bringing development and impact within agro-forestry areas by creating sustainable infrastructure and associated employment opportunities by using locally available resources in a balanced and responsible way.