Establishing a Community Driven Alliance for Sustainable Cultural Alliance Planning in Lautem

Tuesday 04/10/22

In partnership with communities, the Municipal Administration of Lautem and the State Secretariat for Arts and Culture, and with support from UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) and the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Many Hands International (MHI) is proud to be supporting culture and development in the Lautem municipality through the Establishing a Community-Driven Alliance for Sustainable Cultural Development Planning in Lautem Project.
Lautem is rich in culture, with cultural knowledge and practice playing a central role in the life of communities. This is something easily taken for granted, but in reality requires a strong commitment from everyone to maintain. The Establishing a community-driven alliance for sustainable cultural development planning in Lautem project will bring together representatives from community, government and civil society to form a cultural alliance that promotes, protects and supports culture as a foundation, driver, enabler and goal of development. 
Upon commencement of the project, MHI Team Leader, Ildefonso da Silva expressed: 

“For the people of Lautem this project is very important. It will bring us together to celebrate our many cultures across the Region. We have many cultural expressions and practices including music, dance, craft, and storytelling. This project will help my community to promote and strengthen these cultures and cultural expressions while providing new social and economic opportunities.”

Jose Monteiro, Municipal Director for Civil Society Cooperation, Cultural Elder and Cultural Practitioner in Lautem said:

“The Alliance will enable community cooperation to investigate cultural practices and expression. Global expansion brings new modern orientation that can cause less interest in local cultural wisdom and practices. With the establishment of the Lautem Cultural Alliance, our community can create, maintain, preserve, promote and develop culture.”

The formation of a cultural alliance acknowledges that the health, happiness and success of community is in large part based on its cultural foundations, with the role of the alliance being to support and sustain culture and creative activities within and across communities in Lautem. This means creating a sustainable foundation, including robust planning and funding, to enable communities to practice and economically benefit from their cultures and creative pursuits as Timor-Leste develops into a modern and vibrant nation. 

Membership of the cultural alliance will include representatives of lia nain (cultural leaders), performing and visual arts groups, traditional crafts groups, local businesses, youth groups, women’s groups, local and national government organisations and other parties interested in diverse cultural expressions and development within the region. Driven by the needs and aspirations of the Lautem community, the alliance will create a cultural development plan for the municipality. 

The alliance will be a direct link between communities and national policy makers, enabling people in Lautem to communicate with government on issues that are deeply important to them and to inform government planning and investment. This approach will ensure that culture and development activities and outcomes are driven and owned by the community, as well as government and civil society, and will support the realisation of Timor-Leste’s national development objectives.

This is a two year project made possible through funding from IFCD of UNESCO and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The IFCD’s objective is to foster the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector in developing countries that are Parties to the 2005 Convention by strengthening their capacity to create, produce, distribute and provide access to a diverse range of cultural goods and services. As a multi-donor fund, the IFCD promotes South-South and North-South cooperation, while contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and gender equality.

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