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Supporting education since 2008

More than a decade after independence, Timor-Leste is one of the poorest populations in the world per capita, ranking 158 out of 179 countries in the Human Development Index. Approximately 45% of Timor-Leste’s total population is under 15 years old. In this context, the key actors in the future of Timor-Leste are young people.

While the Timorese government has been successfully implementing initiatives focusing on primary school education, secondary education has not seen a similar rate of progress. Literacy levels within the population are still relatively low, particularly in rural areas. The quality of education is often lacking, with high schools in Timor-Leste facing many problems and offering a limited educational experience for youth.  In addition, youth unemployment levels are extremely high, which in turn has led to high levels of youth involvement in gang activity and violence.

With approximately three-quarters of Timor-Leste’s population aged 25 years and under, the challenges facing Timor-Leste’s young people are significant. Oaktree supports local organisation to provide educational opportunities to Timorese youth living in both urban and rural areas.


Ba Futuru

Ba Futuru is Timor-Leste’s preeminent local peacebuilding and child protection organization. Ba Futuru’s activities are founded on the principles of mutual learning, capacity development, artistic self-expression and respect for human rights. Ba Futuru has extensive prior work experience in peacebuilding, child protection and education. Oaktree supports Ba Futuru with the High Schools Transformation Project, which was created as a Timorese adaption of the Beacon Schools Initiative implemented by our Cambodian partner, KAPE.

(Current project): Inspiring Young Learners Through Quality Education (QE):

  • Type of partner: funded 
  • Implementing partner: Ba Futuru
  • Location:Dili district, Manatuto district, Timor-Leste

QE trains teachers in non-violent discipline and participatory teaching methods to give young Timorese children access to the education they need to break out of poverty.

(Completed project): The High Schools Transformation Project (HSTP): 

  • Type of partner: funded
  • Implementing partner: Ba Futuru
  • Location: Dili district, Timor-Leste
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Focus: formal secondary education

HSTP seeks to transform high school educational environments to become more child-friendly and of enhanced educational quality. Thereby, supporting a new generation of youth who are better equipped with the skills and knowledge to become meaningfully involved citizens, to promote peace, and contribute to the development of Timor-Leste.

HSTP aims to provide quality teaching methods to engage with students, while also encouraging community building with extracurricular activities, and workshops on essential life skills, such as conflict resolution and peer mediation. Teacher trainings are provided to equip teachers with quality teaching methods in order to break out of the rote-learning model predominantly found in schools across Timor-Leste, which fail to teach students essential analytical and critical thinking skills.

Plan Timor-Leste

Plan is an international NGO founded in 1937. Since then the organisation has and is now working in 50 developing countries around the world to improve living standards for young people and enable them to realise their full potential. In Timor-Leste, Plan focuses on the importance of political, cultural, social, and economic development of the youth population. In the Aileu district of Timor-Leste, Oaktree is supporting Plan in The Youth Economic Empowerment Program, a branch of Plan’s Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development (YE4SD)

(Completed project): The Youth Economic Empowerment Program (YEEP):

  • Type of partner: funded
  • Implementing partner: Plan Timor-Leste
  • Location: Dili and Aileu districts, Timor-Leste
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Focus: vocational training and skills-based education

Through YEEP, Oaktree is supporting Plan in Aileu to enable young people to realise their rights to economic security. YEEP is part of Plan’s Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development (YE4SD), a large-scale initiative inviting youth to participate in not just the economic sector, but also in cultural, political and social sectors.

YE4SD seeks to foster an environment in which young men and women can both exercise their rights and build their capacity to contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of Timor-Leste. Plan staff work closely with young leaders in the design and implementation of the program. The project provides information to youth about vocational training and self-employment services, improves access to these services, and facilitates access to credit facilities to improve economic security.