|Subject: Bega District News: Ann's expanded
community in Timor Leste
Ann's expanded community in Timor Leste Thursday, 13 April 2006
MANAGER of the Bega Education Centre, Ms Ann Montague, has decided to step down from her Bega role for three months to tackle a community engagement project with a whole new set of challenges.
Ms Montague will do voluntary work for the Timor Institute of Development Studies (TIDS) in Dili, Timor Leste, from May to July this year.
She will be supported by the Australian Business Volunteers Ltd (ABV) which organised the project.
ABV is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation, largely funded by AusAID.
ABV aligns itself with the aims of the Australian Government's overseas aid program, namely to help reduce poverty, create sustainable development and promoting good governance.
ABV contributes to poverty reduction, sustainable development and good governance by providing Australian expert volunteers who, through sharing their skills and experience, assist businesses and organisations in developing countries to grow and thrive.
ABV mainly works with countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific.
The Timor Institute of Development Studies is an independent research and teaching institution seeking to build societies through academia, research and democracy.
It started its operations in 1997 and now employs 20 staff.
The Institute is a well-respected research non-government organisation in Timor and has completed research and development studies in a wide range of areas such as health (eg into HIV/AIDS); economic development (eg the establishment of micro-financial services, the challenges facing private sector development, the demand for technical skills); agriculture (eg property rights and agricultural development); social issues (eg needs of displaced people and returned refugees); and nation building (eg the role of the media in building democracy, advocacy role of non-government organisations).
TIDS has implemented community development projects, such as business training and management studies and hopes to develop a Masters Degree course in development studies.
The Institute also runs monthly seminars on socioeconomic, political and security issues, which are attended by the United Nations, government representatives, World Bank, Asia Development Bank and Non-Government Organisation representatives.
Ms Montague's role will be to assist the TIDS staff in problem areas to be tackled such as a lack of capacity in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as an overall lack of skill in writing, reading and speaking English at an academic level.
"The posting requires somebody with experience in program design, implementation and evaluation, which I certainly have through many years of TAFE experience in research and planning as well as five years' work in research and development as a private consultant," Ms Montague said.
Ms Montague said her position in Timor Leste would be a continuation of her active community engagement since she joined the University of Wollongong.
"A major role of the University's Education Centres is to work closely with, and become a valuable part of their local communities.
My community will have expanded but the roles will be comparable," Ms Montague said.