Guest blog from Mélissa Jaar, student intern with Luta Hamutuk
On 8th May 2015, 37 high school seniors and 3 of their teachers gathered on the rooftop of the Colégio São Miguel, Dili, for a briefing with Luta Hamutuk. This was the first briefing of its kind that has been organised this year, in order for Luta Hamutuk to engage with students and teach them about integrity, as part of their Community Integrity Building programme.
During the briefing, Luta Hamutuk informed the students about the 2015 Timorese Government’s State Budget and the State Petroleum Fund. Each of the students received a copy of a one page report also known as a “Faktus Informasaun” document. The document provides details about how and where the state budget will be allocated in 2015 by the government. This is in order to promote awareness about the Timorese government’s duty to manage its resources and to deliver basic services to its citizens.
During the meeting the students participated in a questions and answers session which focused on the oil and gas industry in Timor-Leste. Students asked about how the revenue generated from the oil and gas industry provides funds for the government. Revenues generated from oil and gas in Timor-Leste represent around 95% of the state budget. A large portion of these funds are meant to be used for development programmes. The students asked how it was possible that public infrastructure in Timor-Leste was in such bad condition despite the abundance of oil and gas revenues.
Luta Hamutuk then introduced the students to Community Integrity Building. They explained the importance of active citizens and empowered communities being able to solve integrity issues, in order to improve vital public infrastructure and service delivery, in Timor-Leste. They also told the students how citizens can work with stakeholders and government to resolve integrity issues at a local and national level. Many of the students expressed an interest in participating in Community Integrity Building, as well as the opportunity to work with Luta Hamutuk, in the future.
Luta Hamutuk is not only working to ensure that citizens take the lead in tackling integrity issues in Timor-Leste, but they are also educating the future leaders of the country about integrity. These students are the future voice and leaders of Timor-Leste and therefore it is important that they bring about positive change to improve the lives of their fellow citizens in Timor-Leste.