Frequently Asked Questions
“The Alola Foundation” (Fundasaun Alola) was established in 2001 in Timor-Leste to raise awareness about gender-based violence and conduct various development programs to assist the women and children of Timor-Leste.
In 2008, “Alola Australia Ltd‟ (Alola Australia) was set up in Australia. Its aim is to work together with The Alola Foundation (Fundasaun Alola) to support the development of women and children in Timor-Leste.
Our vision is; “Strong women, strong Nation” and our main objective is to support development programs for women and children in Timor-Leste through our major in-country partner organisation Fundasaun Alola.
Alola Australia supports four key programs for the benefit of women and children in Timor-Leste:
- Advocacy: Promoting the rights of women & children through the National Women’s Resource Centre and District Support Worker projects
- Education and Literacy: Expanding education opportunities through scholarships, teacher training and Mother Tongue and Tetum literacy materials
- Maternal and Child Health: Promoting infant and young child feeding (breastfeeding and complementary feeding); Supporting newborn care programs; Safe Motherhood Initiative – Implementing Birth Preparedness Plan; Community Management of Acute Malnutrition.
- Economic Development: Supporting women’s small business ideas in particular the production and sale of traditional handicrafts.
Alola Australia supports these programs by promoting awareness of development issues and raising funds through the Alola Timor-Leste Development fund.
The Alola Foundation was established in 2001 by Kirsty Sword Gusmão, the then First Lady of Timor-Leste. The initial focus of the Alola Foundation was to raise awareness and campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in Timor-Leste.
The Foundation has grown to include development programs that enable women and families in Timor-Leste to build a strong future: Programs such as advocacy, economic empowerment, education and literacy, and maternal and child health.
Alola Australia is a not-for-profit charitable organisation and is comprised of a Board of Professional women who are all volunteering their expertise in diverse ways. There is information available about each Board member on the Alola Australia website: https://www.alola.org.au/about-us/our-people Each person has a Portfolio and project area of focus. The Board meets monthly to coordinate the work of the organisation guided by a strategic plan that is developed in partnership with Fundasaun Alola. Volunteers in a range of ways, also generously support Alola Australia and we continue to receive offers of this valuable support.
Alola Australia works in partnership with Fundasaun Alola to make positive and sustainable changes in the lives of women and children in Timor-Leste. Projects are initiated and managed by Fundasaun Alola and our goal is to support their initiatives, as our collaboration with Fundasaun Alola involves responding to issues that they identify as important. Our role is to be a responsive and supportive collaborator, committed to building the capacity of our partner. Together we bring and build knowledge, experience and resources to address our shared priorities.
There are multiple disadvantages that women face. These include limited access to education, barriers to employment, high fertility rates, poor health status and exposure to high rates of domestic and sexual violence.
We send AU$100, 000 per year to Fundasaun Alola and the funds are transferred every 3 months.
b) How much do we spend on Administration?
Administration costs are kept at a minimum, with one day per week funded for our Administration services. We do not pay rent or other overheads and all other tasks are carried out by volunteers.
Both Fundasaun Alola and Alola Australia’s finances are audited annually by external auditors. Annual reports detailing projects and expenditure by Fundasaun Alola are tabled and shared on their website. The projects Fundasaun Alola focuses upon are the result of extensive monitoring and evaluation to ensure they are meeting the actual needs of the communities they work in.
Fundasaun Alola works closely with the Ministry of Health and have greatly contributed to these improvements:
- Timor-Leste is one of the few countries on track to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal No. 4 to reduce under-5 mortality by two-thirds by 2015
- Rates of infant and under-five mortality have declined by approximately 50% since 2001 in Timor-Leste. Fundasaun Alola’s work in the Maternal and Child health field has contributed very directly to this encouraging achievement.
- In 2014, they provided Infant & Young Child Feeding promotion (IYCF), Safe Motherhood, Newborn Care & birth spacing training to Mother Support Group (MSG) and Suku Hadomi Inan ho Oan (SHIO) group members. The course, which consists of 18 sessions, was conducted twice in clinical practice through home visits to lactating women whose baby is less than two weeks of age. This enables MSG/SHIO members to practice the knowledge and skills gained during the training. IYCF training sessions include breastfeeding, complementary feeding, counselling skills, infant feeding with mothers who are HIV positive and infant feeding in emergency situations as well as maternal nutrition.
- Become a Friend of Alola
By joining our mailing list and staying in-touch via our quarterly newsletter and receiving up-dates about our campaigns and events.
- Become a Volunteer
We welcome volunteers to help out in a range of ways, which may include assisting with mail outs and administrative tasks, selling Timorese handicrafts, assisting at events or coordinating your own fundraising events for Alola Australia. Also raising awareness in your community, by being a friend and an advocate for Alola Australia is also very important and valued.
Directly volunteering with Fundasaun Alola in Timor-Leste, may be possible depending on the skills, both language and work related skills of the volunteer, as well as the requirements of Fundasaun Alola. Please contact: friends(at)alola.org.au for more information.
- Make a Donation
We welcome donations to our annual campaigns and events so that we can then support Fundasaun Alola’s programs. We also have gift certificates available for purchasing via our website for a special occasion – these are to provide specific support for example: buying a maternity pack for a pregnant woman, or to give a scholarship to a female student to support a year of her schooling.
Alola Australia would like to thank all who have helped us with our work. In particular, we would like to thank the following organisations.
Dorrie Alcock Foundation, through Australian Communities Foundation
Online Tree web agency
Fundasaun Alola Media Team, who have provided many of the images used on this website
Our Community Partners
International Women’s Development Agency
Australian Catholic Religious Against the Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH)
Our close association with Timor-Leste Friendship Groups, especially
Friends of Same
Friends of Baucau
Geelong Friends of Viqueque
Ballarat Friends of Ainaro
Bendigo friends of Maubisse
Indigo Shire Friends of Atauro
Wangaratta Friends of Lacluta
Macedon Ranges Friends of East Timor
Monash Friends of Vermasse