Road rehabilitation work in Baguia begins

Thu. 20 of September of 2018, 18:06h

The first batch of the "ERA Agro-Florestal" project 8, which includes the rehabilitation of three roads with a total length of 20,635 kilometers and that crosses agroforestry communities in the Baguia area of ​​the municipality of Baucau, was launched today, September 20, 2018.

The "Agro-Forestry ERA" project is a component of the partnership between the Government of Timor-Leste, the European Union (EU) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The partnership aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Timor-Leste by ensuring improved rural access, promoting job creation and income opportunities, and reducing food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas through agroforestry development.

The program has a value of USD 14 million, funded entirely by the European Union (EU) and developed by the International Labor Organization (ILO), and includes the rehabilitation of 90 kilometers of roads that will benefit more than 6,000 families and train East Timorese agents to be capable of building and rehabilitating rural roads.

The first stretch to be rehabilitated under this project is a road that links the sucos of Defawasi, Alaua-Leten and Alaua Kraik, with a length of 10.43 km, that serves 925 families andmore than 2400 people and provides access to four primary schools, one health center and two churches. The road is also essential for the population to sell their agricultural products in the markets of Baucau and Dili, in addition to the local market of Defawasi.

The rehabilitation work will allow the vehicles to circulate throughout the year and in all weather conditions, in an area previously only accessible in the dry season, leaving the population isolated in the rainy season.

The launching ceremony for the start of work on the three roads (Defawasi-Alaua Leten-Aláua Kraik, with a length of 10.44 kilometers, the Defawasi-Uacala road which is eight kilometers long and Defawasi-Alaua Leten (with 2.2 kilometers in lenght) had the participation of the ambassador of the European Union in Díli, Alexandre Leitão, the representative of the ILO in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Michiko Miyamoto, and the administrator of the municipality of Baucau, António Guterres.

Michiko Miyamoto said that the start of this rehabilitation work is a "significant milestone of the Partnership for Sustainable Agro-Forestry (PSAF) between the ILO and the Government, the EU and the German Government through the GIZ cooperation agency. He added that the "ILO continues to commit to this project to improve roads, allow market connections and better skills for contractors. I believe that all these efforts will lead to better living conditions within agroforestry communities".

Alexandre Leitão said that the project "deals with roads, but thinking about people " and added that "roads identified for rehabilitation are selected considering criteria of connectivity and potential for economic development and job creation”.

The Head of the EU Delegation in Timor-Leste further noted the "more than 6,000 workers and their families who will benefit directly from the project through the creation of 450,000 days of paid work, with a minimum of 30% reserved for women, representing an ambitious but strategically decisive goal. In a project where much of the success depends on the ability to establish synergies between agroforestry activities and improved access, promoting women's participation is truly critical. No one can better assess the difficulties associated with rural development, and no one is better prepared than them to help accelerate this development with their work and ideas made from intensive experience".