16 Days of Activism

Timor-Leste’s internationally certified trainers are ready to boost women entrepreneurship in the country

The Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) certificate are awarded to four trainers, with support from the ILO, certifying them as the ILO’s Gender and Entrepreneurship Together (GET Ahead) trainer.

News | Dili, Timor-Leste | 25 November 2023
Julia B. Leite Araujo and Jacinta Abu Cau Pereira, two internationally certified trainers for ILO Gender and Entrepreneurship Together (GET Ahead) programme. © ILO/Gita Lingga
“This is my first time being awarded with the international scale of certificate. I am so proud. All the hard works are really paid off,” said Julia B. Leite Araujo, Executive Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship Support and Development (IADE) when receiving the Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) certificate certifying her as the Gender and Entrepreneurship Together (GET Ahead) trainer.

I am delighted when participants realize that their businesses are the sources of employment and incomes that would help them having a better life and supporting their families."

Julia B. Leite Araujo, GET Ahead trainer from IADE
She received the certificate together with three other lead trainers: Ivo Inocencio Alecrim from IADE as well as Jacinta Abu Cau Pereira and Miranda Esperito Santo from the Timor-Leste Businesswomen Association (AEMTL). The award ceremony was held on 24 October during the opening of the ILO’s fair exhibition joined by graduates of the GET Ahead training presenting their businesses and products.

Julia said she undertook the Training of Trainers (ToT) of GET Ahead under the supervision of the ILO’s master trainer from Uganda, David Katenderi.

“I was so excited being selected for the second ToT with the international trainer in 2022 after my first ToT in 2008. Out of 15 participants, only four were passed the training and able to move on to the next steps,” said Julia.

As part of the certification process as a lead trainer, she was assigned to conduct two Training of Entrepreneurs (ToE) programmes for 36 participants in two districts, followed with business coaching programmes for three to six months. Before the ToE, she had to select the participants, asses their needs, develop a tailoring training plan and facilitate a 5-day training workshops.

“I literally have to study hard and do a lot of readings and preparations. At the same time, I also have to finish lots of assignments. However, I feel motivated, and I have to fight to reach the end of this long process of being trained as a GET Ahead trainer,” she recalled.

During the training process, Julia was also in the beginning of her pregnancy. Yet, she continued to work hard providing training and assistance to the participating entrepreneurs who also included dropped out youth and female victims of violence.

Four trainers from two ILO’s implementing partners—AEMTL and IADE—were awarded with the Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) certificates certifying them as the GET Ahead trainer. © ILO

Fostering entrepreneurship for better incomes and living conditions

“The main challenge is different level of understandings among participants. Due to difference in level of education, some participants need longer time to understand compared to other participants. But, at the end, 50 percent of active participants are succeeded to develop their businesses,” shared Julia who is now in her third trimester of pregnancy.

A similar experience was also shared by Jacinta Abu Cau Pereira from AEMTL. As a businessperson herself, she was enthusiastic in participating at the ILO GET Ahead’s ToT twice in 2021 and 2022. “The second ToT has put the emphasis on more detailed and specific business plans and prepared the participants to be a trainer,” Jacinta said.

One of the Training of Entrepreneurs programmes conducted. © ILO
After the ToT, Jacinta also had to conduct two ToEs and individual coaching for 3 to 6 months. Not only business theory, she added, the ToEs provide practical exercises that are suitable with the reality and experience of each participant. The ToEs also discussed about digitalization and access to the banking system.

I hope that women would be more independent and do not have to solely depend on their husbands."

Jacinta Abu Cau Pereira, GET Ahead trainer from AEMTL
During the individual coaching, Jacinta would review the business plan and its progress. She would spend at least 3 hours to review, observe and coach the selected participants. During the coaching session, she would provide suggestions and refer the participants to find their own solutions in their training materials. “As a trainer, we should ensure that our participants or clients would be pro-active and full of initiative in finding their own solutions and to make the best use of materials that are already provided,” explained Jacinta.

Both Julia and Jacinta hoped that the ToEs would help local women and other vulnerable groups to earn incomes and improve their living conditions. “I am delighted when participants realize that their businesses are the sources of employment and incomes that would help them having a better life and supporting their families,” remarked Julia; meanwhile, Jacinta wished,”I hope that women would be more independent and do not have to solely depend on their husbands.”

Both stated that they would continue providing ToEs through their own organizations to help those who wish to start and establish their business, especially women survivors from gender-based violence, LGBTI and people with disabilities. They also would continue promoting GET Ahead training programmes to various business associations, employers’ organizations and relevant national and international organizations to ensure the sustainability of the training programme.

The ILO’s support was given through the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste —a joint initiative of EU-UN to eliminate violence against women and girls. This global initiative is implemented by the ILO together with four other UN agencies in Timor-Leste.

To date, the ILO GET Ahead training programmes have reached a total of 144 women survivors, LGBTI and persons with disabilities. The GET Ahead is a gender-sensitive entrepreneurship training programme addressing some of the barriers women and other vulnerable group face in starting and running a business, including lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, low confidence, and gendered norms and roles that increase the burden of household and care responsibilities.