Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ADB, Community Consultations for Rural Development (Ermera Area).

Community Consultations for Rural Development /
Livelihood Enhancement and Peace Building


Timor-Leste has made significant progress since independence in 2002. It has a reasonable rate of growth, rising oil revenues and large aid flows yet it remains a fragile situation characterized by persistent poverty, internal instability and deteriorating access to services. Most of the population relies on subsistence agriculture, infrastructure is poor, and agricultural production is very low. Hardship was compounded through civil unrest in mid 2006 that led to a break down in law and order and widespread population displacement. There has since been progress in addressing issues such as petitioners (former soldiers alleging discrimination), return of displaced people, and security sector reform. However, society, especially in the rural areas, is strongly segmented according to ethnic roots, clan ties and colonial ties and when overlaid with the struggle for independence and resettlement, traditional and elected power bases and political affiliations, the potential for conflict remains significant.

Following a request by the Government of Timor-Leste, ADB is exploring the options to rehabilitate the water containing structures of the Eraluo Lake located in Ermera District, about 30 km away from the capital city of Dili. The Lake used to be a natural lake, and in early 1990's two low dams were constructed to contain water for leisure and irrigation purposes. Currently, the lake is silted, the structures are broken, and a leakage and an overflow from one of the dams created a serious soil erosion problem near the lake. Communities around the lake would like the dams are rehabilitated so that the lake can contain water all around year for fish ponds, horticulture and eco-tourism, thus diversifying livelihoods and income generating opportunities. Currently, most households are engaging in subsistence farming and coffee which needs productivity improvement to address food security issues and low yields.

Ermera district hosted several camps for internally displaced people from the 2006 conflict when 37 people were killed, around 3,000 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 severely damaged, and an estimated 150,000 people were displaced. The causes of the crisis included political rivalries, divisions between “easterners” and “westerners,” but also chronic poverty and a large and disempowered youth population. Over 64 percent of Ermera's population is less than 25 years old. Poor access to education and health and lack of employment opportunities outside agriculture has created a large number of unemployed and underemployed youth, and there are increasing concerns that this may contribute to further violence and civil unrest. Ermera was a significant focus of violence and political activity during the problems of 2006. In Ermera the Democratic Party (PD) has stronger local support than Fretilin. A PD supporter was killed in Ermera during the 2006 violence and tension around this issue remains. In addition, there are several martial arts groups that contributed to a violent clash in 2007 when 11 people were killed and over 70 houses were burnt down. Compared to many other rural areas Ermera levels of income are more variable. Farmers in the high hills receive an average income of $200 per year from coffee the only major export of Timor-Leste. Social identities are quite localized in Ermera and competition for benefits from government and donor programmes is very high.

Potential conflict is a major risk for any development intervention in this area, and in order to ensure that program activities not only take a do-no-harm approach but also promote peace building among community members through development activities, community participation is crucial. Meaningful community participation in the program design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation will contribute to greater ownership of the program by the community and ensure more effective and successful program implementation. Carefully designed community consultations will provide opportunity to promote mutual understanding and consensus among different groups within community, thus contributing to stability and peace. With a perspective of an integrated rural development program in selected districts in Timor- Leste including Ermera, ADB will pilot a conflict sensitive, peace building approach in community consultation and participation for the Eraluo Lake rehabilitation. The design and implementation of such a conflict sensitive consultation process will additionally provide important lessons and methodologies, not only further interventions in Ermera, but also for future ADB projects in Timor-Leste as well as ADB programs in other fragile, post-conflict situations.

Objective of the Assistance

To strengthen the design and implementation of the proposed Ermera Livelihoods and Productivity Project through the development and testing of a pilot conflict sensitive consultation process.

Implementation Arrangements

Two consultants, an international Social Development Specialist and a local Community
Development Specialist will be recruited under the RETA-7269 Supporting ADB’s Engagement in Fragile Situations to undertake the consultations. Additional technical backstopping will be provided by the Coordinator of the RETA. The terms of reference of the two experts are outlined below. Implementation will take place for 6 weeks from January 2010.

NB. A pre-feasibility assessment will be conducted by a water resource management specialist and an environment specialist to assess the dam failure factors and determine approaches that would ensure technical soundness and environmental sustainability in the rehabilitation of the Lake Eraluo. The community consultation team would also work closely with the pre-feasibility team in facilitating community engagement and feedback and ensure that the work of prefeasibility team is well informed with inputs from different stakeholders and interests and well communicated to the community. The pre-feasibility assessment will inform more in-depth assessments that will be conducted under a Project Preparation Technical Assistance. The community consultation work will contribute to the project preparation process as well as project design by identifying conflict factors and appropriate consultation approaches and methods.

Consultant Terms of Reference - Community Development Specialist

This consultant working under the supervision of the Social Development Specialist will support the development and implementation of the community consultation process in particular ensuring that the process addresses local conflict sensitivities and social norms, identifying and liaising with relevant informants and leading field consultation work. The Community Development Specialist will:
  1. Support the Social Development Specialist to undertake the desk research including identification of relevant documents, identification of key informants, interviewing key informants and reviewing and summarizing key documents particularly information in Tetum language.
  2. Assist the Social Development Specialist in liaison with MSS on conflict mapping and lead the fieldwork on conflict assessment/conflict mapping including the provision of technical and logistical support.
  3. Support the water resource management specialist (working under a separate mission) to identify key stakeholders in respect of the Eraulo Lake rehabilitation. Together with the Social Development Specialist and Water Resource Management Specialist identify the consultation needs in respect of the pre-feasibility assessment of the Eraulo Lake rehabilitation.
  4. Support the Social Development Specialist in the development of a conflict sensitive plan for community consultations that will identify priority needs and provide feedback on potential areas of interventions under the proposed project. In particular undertake a stakeholder analysis and ensure the cultural appropriateness and logistical feasibility of the consultation plan.
  5. Conduct community consultations (with support from dialogue teams if feasible) that encompass key stakeholder groups including minority groups (women, youth, returned IDPs, elder, landless farmers, etc.), local formal and informal leaders, local businesses, community based groups etc.
  6. Contribute to the reporting process as proposed by the Social Development Specialist including
    • a socio-economic brief of the communities around the Earulo Lake,
    • a summary conflict mapping and assessment of conflict issues in relevant communities
    • proposed design and process for conflict sensitive community consultations;
    • findings from community consultations including community concerns, acceptance and conditions for proposed rehabilitation work and process as input to water resource management specialist and environment specialist,
    • lessons learned and recommended activities and approaches to be integrated into the future project for peace promoting rural development.

Experience: at least 5 years (for international) of relevant experience in applying community development, rapid rural appraisal, gender analysis, conflict mapping, and various participatory approaches. Proficiency in Tetum language required.

Additional Support

As well as direct inputs from the hired consultants, support in the form of technical backstopping will be provided by the Fragile Situations Support Team. This could include (but is not restricted to) a support visit by the TA Coordinator (RETA 7269) towards the end of the assistance to facilitate lessons learned, the provision of ongoing distant support to the consultants on the development and implementation of the consultation and monitoring of the impact of the consultancy. The exact details of the additional support will be agreed between the Focal Point for Engagement in Fragile Situations and the Project Team Leader.