Strengthening Advocacy Through Local Partnership in Timor-Leste

May 10, 2023

Crispin Gomes de Jesus Mali speaking at a USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity event.

Youth are the future of a country and are eager to establish themselves and become a contributing member of society, but they often face difficulties securing employment. Many Hands One Nation, one of the nine NGO partners on Counterpart’s USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance Activity, advocates for youth and provides job opportunities for young people, such as Crispin Gomes de Jesus Mali, to realize their full potential in contributing to the development of their country.   

Mali is passionate about youth, education, and advocacy in his island nation of Timor-Leste. The 25-year-old is a final year student at the National University of Timor-Leste in the Faculty of Education, Arts, and Humanities. As a university student, Mali joined several youth movement groups to discuss education issues.

Since joining Many Hands One Nation last year, Mali was appointed as the advocacy coordinator for Many Hands One Nation and serves as the organization’s point of contact with the Counterpart Activity. Through the Activity, Mali has attended multiple training sessions, on topics such as advocacy, primary and secondary research, and leadership. He also attended the activity’s gender equality and social inclusion training programs, covering issues such as unconscious bias, gender-based violence, prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. The Activity also supported Mali to become an accredited trainer through ANZ Bank’s MoneyMinded  program, which is designed to build financial literacy and instill confidence in a person’s ability to manage their daily and long-term financial needs and goals.

Crispin Gomes de Jesus Mali addresses the media at a USAID/Timor-Leste NGO Advocacy for Good Governance event as Many Hands One Nation’s advocacy coordinator.

With these experiences and opportunities to access and learn from experts, Mali feels more confident, noting, “I feel more empowered by attending training programs. I have gained confidence and increased my knowledge.” His increased confidence, empowerment, and skills further Many Hands One Nation’s efforts to conduct effective, evidence-based advocacy and thereby influence government and development partners. Through its advocacy, Many Hands One Nation seeks to promote planning and programs that will benefit the livelihoods of youth by contributing to the development of the country. 

Beyond applying his learning, Mali enjoys sharing his knowledge. He has trained staff from various NGOs and constituents of Many Hands One Nation as a MoneyMinded trainer, giving them skills to be more effective organizations as well as improve their personal financial management. In addition, Many Hands One Nation has integrated its learnings from the Activity into the organization’s training center, including adopting training material related to social inclusion, gender equality, and evidence-based research into their curricula and delivering this content to youth throughout the year. By cascading knowledge and skills acquired from the Activity to their partners, students and constituents, Mali and Many Hands One Nation are helping to raise the capacity of wider civil society and improve the NGO operating environment throughout Timor-Leste.    

To learn more about our partnership with Many Hands One Nation, read about the Inclusive Fellowship Program.

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