Since achieving independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has made great strides towards consolidating its democracy but continues to face challenges to deepening democratic governance and institutions. A robust non-governmental organization (NGO) sector is foundational to a democratically governed, rules-based state. Effective NGOs help hold the government accountable and encourage transparency and responsiveness to the public interest. However, while Timor-Leste has a robust NGO community, many of the nascent organizations find their advocacy skills hindered by limited administrative capacity and financial support.


The USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance activity expands the country’s NGO enabling environment and works to strengthen the organizational, research, networking, and financial capacity of nine Timorese NGOs to provide increased evidence-based, responsive, and sustainable advocacy services on behalf of citizens.

The activity focuses on four objectives:

1) Strengthening NGO organizational capacity

2) Improving advocacy, research, analysis and networking capacities for better response to constituents

3) Fostering more diverse and regular revenue streams

4) Promoting an enabling environment that fosters independent NGOs.

Recent impact:

  • Eight partner NGOs designed, executed, and presented their original primary research products to key policy makers and stakeholders, creating access to key decision makers and new opportunities for advocacy for the NGOs.
  • Supported the partner NGOs with institutional strengthening through Gender Equity and Social Inclusion trainings, revised HR policies, fellowship programs, and networking opportunities with a range of potential funders.
  • Established three advocacy coalitions that created joint policy action agendas on issues to improve the enabling environment for NGOs.
  • Developed and established an inclusive fellowship program with five partner NGOs, which help to provide on-the-job training opportunities to women, youth, people with disabilities, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) community, and provided additional support to the organizations.


Associação Deficiente Timor-Leste (ADTL), BELUN, Community-Based Rehabilitation Network Timor-Leste (CBRNTL), FHTL, Timor-Leste NGO Forum (FONGTIL), Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), MDI, Many Hands One Nation (MAHON) and PROSPEK.

Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Read the project’s recent successes stories:

Inclusive Fellowship Program Prepares Future Timorese Workforce

Private Sector Partnership Strengthens NGO Financial Literacy

NGOs Gain Understanding of LGBTQI; Commit to Inclusive Programming

Using Research to Inform Advocacy Plans