Press Release

EU-UN Spotlight Initiative partners with National Scouts to engage young people as agents of change in preventing violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste

17 November 2020

  • The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative signed an agreement with União Nacional dos Escuteiros de Timor-Leste UNE-TL (Timor-Leste National Scouts Union) today to gear up efforts at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, at the United Nations House in the presence of the European Union Ambassador H.E. Andrew Jacobs, the United Nations System, Government representatives, civil society organisations, and partners.

The agreement aims at capitalising on the reach of the National Scouts Union from the national level down to the municipality levels and to the rural areas, providing advocacy training on the elimination of violence against women and girls to the national scouts, strengthening the inclusion of disabled and marginalised people, and adopting the Voices Against Violence co-educational curriculum to promote gender equality across all scout programmes. The project will be implemented in collaboration with Ministries of Education, Youth, Sports, and State Administration, with activities in target schools and villages across three municipalities.

“I am honoured to participate in this ceremony in the presence of so many strong and inspiring young people. The great qualities of the Scout Movement will help boy scouts and girl scouts to influence people and to help change the way they think about violence against women and girls, and in this way to change lives for the better – enabling women and girls to live their lives free of threats of violence.   The scouts will be important agents of change.  The European Union is proud to make this possible through financing from the Spotlight Initiative”, said Andrew Jacobs Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste.

Through a year-long agreement under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UN Women and the National Scouts Union will (a) train 330 girl and boy scouts to become agents of change for the prevention of violence in villages across Viqueque, Ermera and Bobonaro, (b) incorporate mechanisms to make activities and roles within the networks accessible to the marginalised and people with disabilities for better knowledge on preventing violence and access to services, and (c) implement the Voices Against Violence extra-curricular programme to reach young people and support individual behaviour-change related to equitable gender norms among adolescents.

“The European Union and United Nations are committed to position young people at the centre of preventing violence against women and girls. We believe effective prevention strategies must engage young people as leaders and participants. Such initiatives to prevent violence against women and girls must start early in life by educating and working with boys and girls.”, said UN Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy.

The signing of this partnership will provide $70,000 for the National Scouts to roll out the Voices against Violence curriculum in the three municipalities of focus between November 2020 and November 2021 and support the promotion of gender equality across all of its programmes and greater inclusion in scouting. The partnership is part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative’s efforts dedicated to transforming social norms that perpetuate violence and supporting civil society actors promoting gender equality in Timor-Leste.

The three-year investment of the EU-supported programme in Timor-Leste amounts to USD15 million. It aims to strengthen country’s legal frameworks and institutions, promote positive social norms, increase access to support services for survivors of violence, improve the collection and use of data for better policy making and to strengthen partnerships with civil society organizations.

“Today marks a vital milestone between UNE-TL and UN Women to focus attention to ending violence against women and girls. Youth must actively participate and take part in decision-making at all levels, and they must be actors to build stability and promote peace and security. We thank the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative for being with us to educate our youths as agents of change,” stated Idelta Maria Rodrigues, the Chairwoman of the UNE-TL.

In addition to this agreement, UN Women, through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, has signed two partnership agreements with the State Secretary for Equality and Inclusion (SEII) and the civil society organizations advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQ community, CODIVA and Arcoiris. Appreciating the partnership, UN Women Head of Office, Sunita Caminha said, “Young people have the power to build a society where gender equality and non-violence are the norms. We are pleased that together with the EU, the partnership with UNE-TL is setting the standard for a future free of violence”.





Background Information on Spotlight-National Scouts Union Agreement

Violence against women and girls has been a long-time combat, highlighted in the EU-UN agenda (SDG 5) and countries and organizations are expected to join the combat against violence. In Timor-Leste, the UN Women, under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative has invited UNE-TL (Scout Timor-Leste) as one of its key partners to join efforts in the national movement to end violence against women and girls based on the Voice Against Violence (VAV)[1], a module developed by the World Association of Girls Guide and Girls Scouts[2]. As one further step in this direction, the UN Women partners with the UNE-TL for Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWGs). This partnership is part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.

União Nacional dos Escuteiros de Timor-Leste (UNE-TL) is in independent organisation, established in 2005. UNE-TL became member of the World Organisation of Scout Movements (WOSM) in 2017. It aims at training youth group, civic education to promote responsible citizen, shape good character by the Scout method while reflecting on today’s needs.  Typically, the Scout method harness characters, health, strength and skills through activities like camping, hiking, adventure, sailing, leadership training, among others. In today’s world, youth engagement, diversity and inclusion, social impact should become the strategic priority for scouts. A good example is the national campaign “Movimentu Revolusionariu Karater Foin-sa’e (MRKF)” targeting young people at schools in Dili.


Background Information on EU-UN Spotlight Initiative

The Spotlight Initiative, launched in September 2017, is a multi-year global partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women's empowerment as a precondition and driver for achieving sustainable development goals.

In the Pacific, the situation is particularly worrying. In some countries in the region, 76 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most affected are marginalised women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is that women and girls enjoy their right to a life free of violence, within an inclusive and gender equitable Timor-Leste. The Initiative is led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste and is implemented jointly by UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and ILO."

This will involve strengthening and widening partnerships and solidarity across civil society, Government, media, private sector and development partners. The Initiative will empower individuals, equip institutions at national, sub-national and community levels with the policies, systems and mechanisms to prevent and respond to VAWG, and encourage the public to challenge harmful gender norms. Using innovative approaches, the SI will build a social movement of diverse advocates and agents of change for gender equality and social inclusion.

The Spotlight initiative deploys targeted, large-scale investments to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. For more information about the Spotlight Initiative, visit

EU-UN Spotlight Initiative partners with National Scouts to engage young people as agents of change in preventing violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste


Ahmed Saleem

Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative