Integrity Action oversees the Network for Integrity in Reconstruction (NIR), which is made up of partner NGOs from Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia. The NIR provides a platform for sharing lessons learnt and best practice, encouraging all network members to improve their approach. Every month we will introduce you to one of our local partners from the NIR; telling you who they are, where they work, and what it is they do.
July: Luta Hamutuk
Timor Leste is one of the youngest countries in the world. The small nation of just 1.6 million people located in south-east Asia was formerly a Portuguese colony until 1975. Timor was occupied by Indonesia from 1975 until 2002, which was a period marked by violence, including suppression of the independence movement, where over 200,000 people were killed. Eventually the country gained its independence fifteen years ago in 2002.
Timor’s main source of income comes from its oil reserves in the Timor Sea. This source of income is quickly drying up though because revenues are being spent at a quicker rate then they are coming in. This is partly due the corruption that surrounds the government financial institutions. In the period since independence the fledging government has been repeatedly involved in a series of corruption scandals. In January this year the government was accused of sabotaging its own airlines interests in order for multinational airlines to make more profit. Stories like this are part of the reason the country is ranked as the world’s 101st least corrupt country. Rapidly withering sources of finance, much of which is lost to corruption, has contributed to Timor Leste being ranked 133rd on the Human Development Indices.
Based in the capital, Dilli, is our partner Luta Hamutuk. They were established on 20 June 2005 by a number of activists passionate about ensuring a participatory and accountable development process, believing that this was crucial to ensure sustainable development in Timor Leste. Luta Hamutuk works to monitor the state budget and project implementation in districts across the country. Their budget transparency program looks to make information about the state budget as accessible as possible, they conduct community briefings to bring information about the state budget and development projects implementation to communities. They also have an Oil Transparency Program which seeks to ensure that Timorese government complies with international standards in the oil and gas sectors, disseminating monthly publicly available reports on the topic.
Luta Hamatuk have been working with Integrity Action since 2008. During this time they have trained 230 monitors across the country. They have monitored a wide range of projects, including roads and electricity projects, fixing problems such as contracts being abandoned and poor quality construction materials. Over this time they have managed to achieve a Fix-Rate of 74%. This is the number of problems that were found with a development project that the monitors were able to fix. 74% is one of the highest scores from our partners, which is fantastic!
Earlier this year Integrity Actions President Fredrik Galtung travelled to Timor Leste to meet Luta Hamutuk. During his time in Timor he was able to meet with some of the country’s senior officials. We are hoping in the future to expand our work in Timor. Due to its small size there is the potential to treat the whole country as a Tipping Point district. This is where we aim to monitor 80% of all projects above a certain value, thereby Integrity is expected by the population.
We hope to continue our productive relationship with Luta Hamatuk in the future and hope they can keep up their excellent results!