Dear Madres, Guests and Students,
Today is a very special moment for us all as we officially celebrate and open the water location in Canossa Comoro.
This is the first Water Shop, or /location, in Dili where we all find 100% clean and drinkable water, packed in a new storing system called “Bag-in-Box”. The highest standards and quality levels are guaranteed by this packing system. 80% less plastic and much money saved, to store the water over a long time.
Since 2013 we have been working on this concept, in a long term relationship with our partners Scope Asia Switzerland, Trunz Water Systems and the Canossa Foundation. Sister Guilhermina Marcal, went to Trunz Water System in Steinach, during her official visit 2014, in Switzerland. Trunz Water Systems is well-known worldwide and has converted the vision of a simple self-sufficient water treatment system into practice It combined it with a packing system called “Bag-in-Box”, from Scope Asia Switzerland.
The funds from Timor Foundation brought this unique solution into reality: for the school of Canossa Comoro and for its 4.500 students. At the end of last year, all the technical equipment and the materials have been delivered through containers from Switzerland to Timor Leste. The installation of the machinery was completed in February 2016. Technical training and coaching was supported by our partners Scope Asia Switzerland and Scope Asia Timor in cooperation with Trunz Water Systems.
We trust this system and this innovative combination of a water treatment machine and the “Bag-in-box” packing system. The films comply with FDA and BDA, the highest food regulations in the world. We hope that all students and even the guests will take home today minimum one 5-litre “Bag-in-box”. Clean drinking water is one of the relevant points which will help Timor Leste to improve the health of the population.
It will bring a change in your environment – no plastic bottles anymore - 80% less plastic with the solution “Bag-in-Box”. It will generate a change in your daily health standards. It could mean a remarkable reduction of plastic bottles and we all know how important this is for Timor Leste. Today the Country has 1.2 million people, if everybody takes 1-liter water daily in a plastic bottle, Timor Leste will use daily 1.2 million plastic bottles daily. 6 million per week, in 4 weeks 24 million, and in a year 288 million bottles.
More and more waste every day, every week every month. This waste destroys your environment; even your health will be affected. Thus, we have a high demand to solve this problem. Timor Leste is a fascinating Country, populated by fascinating people and has to face these problems. Can you imagine how Timor Leste looks like in 10 years time, if we do nothing to increase the life conditions of his inhabitants?
This innovation can help to solve one of the difficulties, but it is necessary to start to think different, to accept new solutions, which can improve life conditions. It will be a plus, plus operation for all of us, for our homes, our environment, and our Country, Timor Leste. Canossa Comoro will be the first place where to find this high quality and innovative solution. On this stage, I would like to thank the Canossa Foundation, all the Madres, especially Sister Guilhermina Marcal, for the flexibility, the trust in our solution, the support and cooperation over the last years.
Hello everybody, hello Students – Do you think we can bring the change and think differently?
Yes we can - We are ready to start this new water shop – let us celebrate this valuable moment together.
Thank you very much for your attention.
May God bless you all
Personal report from Florindo Sales De Araujo about the “Water solution workshop” held on November 2016 by Scope Asia Timor LDA and Timor Foundation
My name is Florindo Sales De Araujo and I’m from Atauro Isand. I’m going to be one of the technical staff members for the Water project in Atauro Island. At the moment I am working as a volunteer for Scope Asia Timor LDA, being trained in the maintenance of different water project locations.
We are working with Trunz Water Systems solutions (Switzerland), exclusive provider for Timor Leste in locations like Oe-cusse, Dili Canossa Comoro, Atauro Island, etc.
I’m very glad that we got the opportunity to participate to the one-week Workshop for water solution project with Trunz Water Systems. The workshop was organized and lead by Barbara Lietz, the president of Scope Asia Switzerland and CEO of Scope Asia Timor LDA. The practical training during these days was supported by the very well experienced team of Januario Carvaloh and Dahlia Bernardo Guterres, and by Barbara Lietz who gave me and the other participants a very good platform to get important knowledge in different sectors, which I can take in my practical daily work.
We learned to organize the daily work in a water shop, regarding administration, logistics, marketing and business parts, and all the hygiene aspects which are important especially in the area of production. We realized and were impressed by how important teamwork can be and how to work with different tasks in a team.
The Workshop shows on the other hand, how to deal and communicate with different people and characters successfully. We realize how important communication can be. Especially in the daily work, it is relevant to have a clear communication, clear structure rules, a transparent way of working process and a good functional and trustworthy team.
We enjoyed and were impressed to be a part of this important workshop. I am sure it will help all of us to build up a really successful water location shop. We are looking forward to the next steps to get more and more practice in different areas especially in the pre-opening phase, where the team and Mrs. Barbara Lietz will be again our training partners.
My special thanks for all these opportunities which we got in the last months to H.E. Dr. Mari Alkatiri, President of ZEEMS, his trust in the system provided by Trunz Water systems and Scope Asia AG, Switzerland. He gave us the chance for this first step and H.E. is the reason why we are all had this big opportunity. During September 2016, we had our first training at Trunz Water System, in Switzerland. We are so thankful we had the chance to work with the people of Trunz water systems.
Mrs. Andrea Trunz was our training and coaching partner during those days. Mr. Barbara Lietz and the partners from Scope Asia AG, Asia Connect Centre at the University St. Gallen, took the responsibility for us in Switzerland and we learned in different steps the maintenance of the machines by Trunz water systems as well as a short training for Bag-in-Box, the packing system from SCOPE ASIA Switzerland.
We appreciate the support from all partners from SCOPE ASIA AG Switzerland and wish to get more and more knowledge to be and to work successfully in our Water locations in Timor Leste.
Authors: Carlito Paixao Neno, Mateus Pinto Coa, Florindo Sales de Araujo
Coordinator: Scope Asia AG 56, Hauptstrasse 9400 Rorschach, Schweiz
Responsible partner: Trunz Water Systems Technologie Center, Ahornstrasse 1, 9323 Steinach, Schweiz
Why was the technical training important for the water-solution projects in Oe-Cusse and Aturo Island?
Learning how to operate Machine of Unit TWM light.
TWM light is a smart unit for the treatment of municipal water (non-saline). It is a complete system and is ready to be install at the pipe of the apartment. It requires feed pressure and ongoing water supply in order to operate smoothly. The unit is equipped with: an Ultra-filtration membrane that allows to remove viruses and bacteria, a system to backflush the membrane, and an active carbon filter to remove unpleasant smells. This process retains natural minerals in the source water. The TWM light is for in-house application only and represents a perfect solution for apartments. The system is very compact, easy to install and maintain.
Learning how to operate Machine of Unit TWM 001.
This machine is a water treatment system to produce drinking water. The site installation will generally be accomplished by specialized personnel of the plant manufacturer or by trained professionals of the site/regional sales, service office. The TWM 001 provides approx. 500- 600 liters of potable water per hour from diverse sources such as rainwater reservoirs, tank-truck water utilities or pre-treated municipal water sources. The principal purpose is it to eliminate organic contaminations such as microorganism, bacteria or viruses and to separate small particles from bigger ones (usually size bigger than 0,02 micron).
Learning how to operate Machine Bag in Box.
Machine Bag in Box is a smart machine, which fills water coming from the tank water production into the plastics. This machine have already automatic setting like filling mode, in other to know how many liters need to be punt into the plastics. After that, the operator puts the plastic into the carton.
Jivana Presentation Day concerning business and management.
The main points concerned the management of employees, the shop maintenance, and the logistics. In detail:
Activity details per day according to schedule
Arrival in Zurich airport, then transfer to Restaurant/Hotel Linde. Lunch at hotel with Ms. Barbara Lietz and Davide Gremmo. They showed us where Trunz is, accompanied in the town center / church / services
In the morning, Ms. Barbara Lietz, and Mr. Davide Gremmo accompanied us to Bahnhof Rorschach to pick up 3 bicycles and 3 helmets. After that, we went back to the hotel for lunch. Then, at 2.00 PM we went to Steinach where TRUNZ facility is to learn the way we would then need to use every day. We then went to Arbon for some shopping.
We had free time on Sunday, to rest and go around.
After a meeting with the staff of TRUNZ, they introduced the type manufacturer; we made a tour around the facility and finalized the coming program. Then, they gave us the opportunity to ask for questions and clarifications.
After that, Ms. Andrea Trunz gave us some manuals of TRUNZ machineries, in detail the unit TWM 001, TWM 001 Light, and the TSPC manual. After having studied until 05:00 PM, we went back to the hotel by bicycle.
We had a meeting with Ms. Andrea Trunz. She gave us some theoretical introduction about: water contamination, filtration technologies, and product range. In the afternoon we had a practical lesson with Mr. Roney Graul about the most important components of the unit TWM 001 Light, the tests and he showed us how water flows in the system TWM 001 Light, how to backflush ultrafiltration, how to perform maintenance, how to clean the pre-filtration, how to change carbon filter, etc.
Meeting at TRUNZ with Mr. Samed Restiti. He gave us some folders and a little briefing about the different TWM Light, TWM 001 and TSPC. In the afternoon, we repeated the practical training with Mr. Roney Graul.
In the morning, we had a meeting with Ms. Andrea Trunz. She gave us some theoretical introduction about Trunz wall mounted (TWM) 001, and she explained its most important components.
In the afternoon, Mr. Roney Graul, he explained us other activities to perform with the Unit TWM 001: e.g. how to operate the machine, how to maintain the machine, how to install it, etc.
In the morning, we had a meeting with Ms. Andrea Trunz. She explained the theory about TRUNZ SOLAR POWER CENTER (TSPC), and also the most important components of Unit TWM 001. We then put into practice these points about the TSPC with Mr. Markus Stolz, who explained, showed us, and then asked to install the cable from TSPC to the system unit TWM 001.
We went to the Säntis mountain with Mr. Davide Gremmo, we saw the beautiful mountain, took pictures together, had lunch there, and in the evening went back to the hotel.
We had free time on Sunday, to rest and go around.
In the morning, we went to the Steinach and Wil to visit the Sewage Water Treatment Plant with Ms. Andrea Trunz and Mr. Marco Kaser. They explained the specifics such as how to accept the energy, gas, and the system of that manufacturer.
In the afternoon we practiced this lesson and repeated again how to operate TWM 001 Light, how to perform the maintenance, backflush, etc.
In the morning, we had a meeting with Ms. Andrea Trunz. She explained the theory about taking in to operation and maintenance, and review again the lessons that she had explained before. We had a practical lesson with Mr. Roney Graul, he explained us the regular maintenance (daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance).
Mr. Lutz Schöllhammer and we went to the German plant by car to learn how to glue the carton boxes with hot glue and operate the filling machine.
In the morning, we went to the University of St Gallen and followed the presentation provided by the JIVANA LINK management. Had lunch with them and in the afternoon had another session with them, Prof. Roger Moser and Mr. Davide Gremmo.
We went to the Brauerei Locher AG, with Mr. Davide Gremmo in Appenzell. The owner of the company provided information about the production process, the quality standards, and the specifics of his brewery plant.
We had free time on Saturday, to rest and go around.
At 14:00 PM, Ms. Barbara Lietz brought us to visit the German Museum, church, we went across the lake with the ferry.
In the morning Ms. Barbara Lietz, gave us a theoretical introduction on the topic HYGIENE in water production and about filling water into the box. In the afternoon, we spent our time studying.
In the morning, we practiced some questions given by Ms. Andrea Trunz about the information that have been provided in the previous days. In the afternoon, we continued the activity with Mr. Roney.
We had the examination at TUNZ, and in the afternoon, we gave the bikes back with Davide Gremmo. Ms. Barbara Lietz brought us out for dinner.
Today we prepared the luggage, left the hotel. After lunch at TRUNZ and the delivery of gifts by Mr. Remo TRUNZ (see below pictures), Mr. Davide Gremmo accompanied us to the airport.
We believe that our experience in Switzerland was positive due to the efforts we brought in and the fact that our hosts helped and supported us.
Carlito Paixao Neno
Mateus Pinto Coa
Florindo Sales de Araujo
Written by Max R. Hungerbuehler
On July 9, 2016 I arrived back in Dili full of expectations in respect of what would have changed during the 10 months since my last stay in this fascinating country. The first impression was “not much”. However during my sojourn of seven days I had to find out that this was not correct.
The meeting with the new bishop of Dili, Virgilio do Carmo da Silva was the first positive experience. Even though I had been told by SCOPE ASIA-CEO Barbara Lietz a lot of good things about this new dignitary I was impressed by his down to earth attitude and his understanding of the needs of the people in his diocese. One of the topics which were discussed was the financial problems of the catholic schools due to the reorganization of the subsidies from the state. A situation that is causing concern and which is a matter that our foundation will be trying to assist to solve.
During my first visit I had the opportunity to visit the girl-school run by the Canossa-sisters in Ermera. Apart from teaching they also have the older students helping to prepare bread not only for the need of the about 40 pupils but also for sale to the people of the village. This way some money is being generated to buy books and other things important for the running of the school. It was then mentioned to me that they would be able to produce a lot more of the very tasty bread if they only had a proper mixer to prepare the dough. Meanwhile such a machine has been organized with the assistance of our foundation and now four times the amount of bread is being made and a jobless man has been engaged to do and supervise the production. Additional funds are herewith being generated which will make it possible for the sisters to soon invest into a proper oven to replace the household-grills that are presently being used for the baking. A good example for the slogan of the Timor Foundation reading “to help the people to help themselves”.
This time in Timor-Leste I was given the opportunity to visit to the flagship-province Oe-cusse. The main town which carries the same name as the province is one big construction-site. Starting from the new airstrip at the small airport over the many new four-lane roads that run through town to the recently completed Tono Arch bridge and the state of the art hospital as well as the many old buildings under restoration there is an incredible lot of construction going on. Impressive!
During the meeting with the provincial president, Dr. Mari Alkatiri, whom I had already met in Switzerland during his trip in January this year, I was explained that the aim is to create a showpiece province that then should serve as an model for the rest of the country.
Whilst in Oe-cusse and also back in Dili I had the opportunity to get together with various important personalities, so amongst others naturally also with our president Dr. José Ramos Horta and with the famous Canossa-sister Guilhermina. She presented me the new watershop at her school that our Timor Foundation has financed. It will go into operation within shortly and supply clean water to the more than 4000 pupils and their families.
To finish off this report I should like to thank Barbara Lietz and her local assistants Dahlia Bernardo and Januario Carvalho for the excellent organization of my visit. The sojourn in Timor-Leste has again been an experience to remember.
Dili and Chur, July 2016
Written by Barbara Haller Rupf
To say it straight away, international leisure tourism in the 'classical sense' is actually non-existent in Timor Leste today. The nearly 100,000 annual overnight stays consist of business and domestic tourism. The latter guests are mainly international expatriates who are still stationed in the country. They spend their weekends on diving spots and sporadically in mountain areas. However, the number of expatriates has been falling since 2010, and consequently the number and income of inbound travel agencies decreased.
During my stay in Dili and its surrounding areas in June 2016, I had the chance to get my own impression of the situation based on observations, trips and talks to residents. As an advisory board member of SCOPE ASIA and its expert for tourism I will insert the findings to upcoming projects in the field of tourism.
The tropical island Timor Leste has a great potential to turn tourism into an important source of income and support of the regional economy. To exploit this potential, tourism has to be developed in a sustainable way, considering the three dimensions economy, ecology, and society and build up a network of all main stakeholders, especially the local population. Several negative examples show that this is anything but easy.
On the very first morning of my stay I received an impression of the inexistence of the network between tour operators and locals. I joined a tour of a diving school which is operated by Australians and Europeans. Beside me about fourteen people joined the tour, most of them members of the US Navy. By minibus we went just a few kilometers out of town, to dive at the reef close to the beach. Beside sports equipment the diving instructors brought drinks and snacks with them as a part of our arrangement. We parked next to a street stall of a Timorese family. Unfortunately, the two groups – divers and Timorese family – remained separated during our whole stay and there was no communication between them. Although nearly twenty people were there, the locals did not make any sales with the divers and weren’t able to benefit from the situation at all.
A few days later I received the opportunity to conduct an interview with the management of the diving school and to ask them about their cooperation with locals. The school, which also rents guest rooms, employs Timorese drivers, kitchen and hotel staff and one local is working in the administration. The local employees receive English lessons and the diving school is regularly involved in beach clean-ups and awareness campaigns for the protection of the reef and the beaches. My interviewee seemed not only to be engaged for their own business, but also for the environment and the living conditions of local people. However, the talk also showed that suppliers like this diving school are barely linked with locals.
These and many other examples disclosed clear strengths and weaknesses of tourism in Timor Leste. Unique is definitely the "tourist virginity" of the island: on the one hand, the beaches and the reef, on the other hand the high mountains up to 3000 meters a.s.l. with their amazing trekking opportunities. Furthermore, there are the incredibly diverse culture and friendly people. This potential is hardly used today, only a few diving and trekking providers are based in Dili and their marketing barely consists much beyond a website and a mention in the ‘Lonely Planet’. Furthermore, there is a big lack of tourist and general infrastructure, e.g. traveling on the mostly gravel roads is very dangerous in many ways. However, the biggest demand on the operating site of tourism are human resources and their appropriate training opportunities.
At the moment, there are several governmental, privately, and NGO based institutions who offer education and training in the field of tourism and hospitality (see report of Manfred Pfiffner). However, there is a lack of management and strategic education and often the training content is not well adapted to the needs of the industry. One exception to be mentioned is ETDA (East Timor Development Agency) who offers application-oriented programs along international standards.
In Timor Leste the "last adventure" waits for experienced travelers. But there also tempt attractive investment opportunities, e.g. beach resorts, investors from all over the world to realize profits from the expanding world tourism. Predominantly interesting for Timor Leste are the near target markets Australia and East Asia, especially China. Here probably lies the greatest risk facing the young state: a master plan for spatial planning should be worked out and protected areas have to be designed and protected by law urgently. Otherwise, the best places will be taken and managed by foreign investors and a large part of the revenues from incomes and net product will drain away from Timor Leste.
To summarize, to establish tourism as an important pillar for the regional economy as well as a job provider for the rapidly growing, young population, Timor Leste needs a tourism strategy and appropriate policies which are supported by the main stakeholders. At the same time, large investment in the education system and training of professionals is needed and last but not least the tourism of the island must be strengthened and interconnected as a whole sector.
But wherefrom could the funds for tourism development come? “From today's oil revenues”, postulates Alfredo Pires, Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Timor-Leste in his ‘after oil’ policy. "We sell oil as only an engine of growth, and to invest in the non-oil sector.”
After my visit to Timor Leste I am even more motivated to bring in my personal knowledge as well as my tourism network. My goal is that Timor Leste can live of its natural wealth thanks to a holistic and sustainable development and one day tourism is an important pillar for the regional economy.
Thanks to those who enabled my stay and this report. Above all, Barbara Lietz and whose tireless engagement for Timor Leste. Likewise, hers two local employees, Januario Carvalho, Country Director SCOPE ASIA TIMOR and Dahlia Bernardo, Personal Assistant of Barbara Lietz. They assisted me with their valuable inside knowledge, organized interesting conversations, and came to meet my wishes whenever possible.
Precious were the semi-structured interviews with the following institutions and people (in order of discussions): East Timor Development Agency ETDA, Palmira Pires (CEO); Alfredo Pires, Minister of Petroleum; Dili Institute of Technology DIT, Agustinus Nohak (Dean); Don Bosco Training Centre, Manuel Pinto (principal); Eco Discovery Tours, Maria Dos Reis Noronha (Manager), Dive Timor Lorosae, Virginie Montaner (Operation Manager)
And last but not least provided the master thesis of Eleni Karametaxas valuable preliminary information for me.
About Barbara Haller Rupf:
Written by Benjamin Berger
It has been three weeks since I set foot in the vibrant capital of Timor-Leste, setting out to volunteer for SCOPE ASIA. Over these weeks, the initial bustle of roaring microlets, persistent taxi drivers and tireless locals, selling anything from coconuts to live chickens, has given way to the more tranquil side of Dili. With their friendly, generous and open hearts, the people of Timor-Leste have welcomed me into their country. Although three weeks is not long enough by far to understand the workings of this young democracy, first impressions have undoubtedly made their mark.
Over the past years, Scope Asia has maintained a good relationship with the East Timor Development Agency (ETDA). It was here that I spent my first three weeks of my stay, teaching anything from English, business management and Swiss cuisine. While teaching and interacting with young hospitality and tourism students I immediately experienced their bursting curiosity and willingness to learn. This became even more apparent when teaching Timorese war veterans the basics of starting a business; they are willing to learn anything, from the absolute basics to the highly complex. More importantly, they do this with great appreciation. It seems that the Timorese not only value knowledge for its complexity, but also for the implicitness and openness with which it comes.
This is of course deeply humbling, as many will lend an ear to anything I have to say. It does however, shed some light on the difficult circumstances Timor-Leste has faced in the past, and still faces at present. The country has been the ground for international conflicts and interests over the past 300 years. Despite its independence in 2002, Timor-Leste now faces the problems its previous occupiers never addressed: weak infrastructure, poor education and a slow-growing economy. These difficulties are omnipresent and will challenge the country for years to come.
It is here that efforts of organisations such as the ETDA show their true value. The school has managed to create a learning environment that offers young students good practical education, preparing them for the challenges ahead. Most importantly, it satisfies the curiosity and motivation that is unmistakable in Timorese youth. It is with great pleasure that I have been able to contribute to this remarkable school and share whatever knowledge I could give.
During my 10-days stay in April 2016, I had the Chance to visit various institutions and could get a concrete idea of Timor-Leste’s educational system.
The most striking characteristic of the local staff was its strong commitment and ambition in the classrooms to foster the children in the best way possible, although average class-sizes were enormous (roughly 50). The times when in Europe and especially in Switzerland demographic conditions forced the classes to be similarly big, have gone long ago, but in Timor-Leste 65% of the population are less than 25 years old. Moreover, due to the ongoing individualization of society, teaching 50 students in one class would in our country simply be unthinkable.
Timor-Leste’s eventful past of fighting for independence have significantly shaped the country’s educational system. 25 years of Indonesian occupation have suppressed the people’s original languages Tetum and Portuguese while heavily promoting Indonesian as the only language in schools. The severe consequences of this policy can still be experienced today: A generation of oblivion, a generation who cannot speak a word Portuguese.
Thus, today teachers struggle to give lessons in the official language, Portuguese. Additionally, responsible staff, which has predominantly only completed basic training, usually lacks proper material and fully equipped classrooms.
Nonetheless, both teachers and pupils are eager to educate and get educated. In nearly all schools I have visited, teacher-centered teaching was common practice. While tutors wrote on the blackboard, students would make notes in their booklets. Particularly impressive are sessions, when students study from books written in Portuguese while classes are hold in Tetum.
It proved to be equally difficult to train the children in IT, especially in „Excel“. Since there is hardly any public school in Timor who is provided with computers, kids have to get to know „Excel“ entirely theoretically, an unimaginable idea for Westerners. The ability to actually apply their knowledge, „learning by doing“, is unfortunately missed out.
Hence, there is an urgent need for action, in order to be able to connect theoretical knowledge with practical experience.
However, we could also find highly convincing and structured educational institutions in Timor-Leste. The Don Bosco schools and the Canossa Institute in Dili resemble the Swiss dual-training system, where the application of knowhow into real action is taught in an appropriate way on a daily basis.
Another remarkable characteristic are the predominant teacher-centered classes. Since the learning rate gets determined in advance, comprehensive individualization is inhibited. In order to establish modern teaching practices, which focus on students’ heterogeneity, big steps must be taken which require courage and the will for change.
Our exclusively for Oe-cusse tailored concept “Teach-the-Teacher”, which will start this summer, initiates a development that aims to target the previously mentioned points. Graduates have to be able to apply joined-up thinking, act independently and be responsible for life long learning in order to make their way in an internationally competitive environment.
I am personally very motivated and see despite the challenges great opportunities. A fascinating country, people who even in hard times show positive attitude and the staff’s impressive ambition and commitment are ideal conditions for starting an entirely new process.
World’s youngest democracy can take its chance. Timor-Leste: fascinating, unparalleled, challenging and beautiful. We stay tuned!
By Manfred Pfiffner
- Professor of pedagogy in vocational educational and training at the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PH Zurich)
- Expert for general education and Federal Vocational Baccalaureate, job-specific learning models and qualification procedures
- Partner at SCOPE ASIA AG
From April 2nd to 9th 2016 I had the unique chance for a first exploration of Timor-Leste, an unforgettable experience because of mainly two reasons: On the one hand, SCOPE ASIA organized a fascinating program so that I could get a first comprehensive impression of the country in a very short time. I am very grateful for all the people involved from SCOPE ASIA – especially for Barbara Lietz. On the other hand, I could learn a lot about the nature of Timorese people by meeting numerous locals of different backgrounds, plans and thoughts, but always with a welcoming and positive attitude.
The main focus of the visit was the investigation of educational needs and co-operation possibilities in Timor-Leste and especially in the ZEESM Oé-Cusse. We could visit various hotels and learn about the standard of operations and training level of the people. For me it is always crucial to see into local business to really understand the respective standards and SOP’s as well as the respective requirements in training. We also met local providers of hotel training and could discuss cooperative opportunities.
Last but not least, I got the chance to provide a workshop with 14 students in Oé-Cusse. This was quite a highlight during the whole visit as I got into direct contact with the target group of hospitality training. It was a great pleasure working alongside these promising youngsters that are clearly willing to contribute to the country’s growing tourism development. I could see that what I have heard about the people of Timor concerning their natural hospitality and openness to input from the outside world was entirely true. Based on the information and experience gathered, SCOPE ASIA is now thinking about how hotel education in Timor-Leste could be set up in a sustainable way. The goal is to establish strong foundations for the development of tourism and to enhance the employability of the local people.
By Beat R. Wicki
Entrepreneur and Founder
Swiss Hospitality Academy GmbH
Partner at SCOPE ASIA AG
Beat Wicki, entrepreneur and CEO of the Swiss Hospitality Academy, came as partner of SCOPE ASIA Switzerland to Oe-cusse for a two days visit. Part of his visit was a workshop with 14 students from the Oe-cusse area. Those students have been selected to go to Dili for training and work experience in different hotels and restaurants. In the future they will work in the newly built Hotel Ambeno, the first hotel in Oe-cusse meeting international standards. It will be a showcase for the tourism potential of this region. With his wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Beat Wicki was the right person to tell the students more about this dynamic industry and what it means to work in a hotel with high-quality service. Fortunately, he could count on the support of Dahlia Bernardo, Project Manager of SCOPE ASIA Timor, to translate in a lively manner that grabbed everyone’s attention. But it was the active student participation that made this workshop a success. They openly shared their views and plans with the others and asked crucial questions. It was a joy to watch how this presentation turned into an interactive workshop within the first few minutes. It was a valuable learning experience for both sides, hopefully the first of many more.
Written by Eleni Karametaxas
As part of my master thesis I had the chance to work with SCOPE ASIA Timor. When I told my friends and family I will travel to Timor-Leste most of them responded with a clueless “Where?”. For many Westerners the young nation is still an undiscovered destination and thus for me, whose thesis topic revolves around multi-sector collaborations in sustainable tourism development, an even more intriguing study location. The reaction of one friend in particular kept me thinking. She said “East Timor… It sounds like an imaginary place”.
I started my trip in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. Here I realized that my field research would not be possible without the support of Barbara Lietz and her team at SCOPE ASIA, Dahlia Bernardo and Januario Carvalho. Their insights into Timor-Leste’s history, culture, people and politics helped me understand linkages much better and faster. One of the many assets of SCOPE ASIA is their diverse range of projects (water supply, health care, education, tourism etc.). Accordingly, their strong and long-standing network of local partners could not be more varied. These relationships are built on trust and are the reason that people like me, coming from outside, have the possibility to gain access to key local players and institutions.
After spending some time in Dili, where I got a first overview of the situation, we left for Oe-cusse, the enclave in the Western part of the island. In Oe-cusse I did not find the imaginary place my friend was talking about but a place of imagination. Not because it does not exist, it is very much real but because the people here are imaginative. They have a clear vision for their region and their working persistently to turn it from imagination into reality. Isolated for the longest time and forgotten in previous attempts to rebuild the country, it is impressive to see what the people of Oe-cusse have achieved in a very short period of time. Some of these efforts are immediately visible: the roads that are being built everywhere you go in Oe-cusse; the irrigation system to diversify rice plantations and make them less dependent on rainfalls; the street cleaners that keep the town and beach always spotless and so on. The portfolio of projects the regional authority (ZEESM) is currently implementing is diverse and ambitious. They range from basic infrastructure to an international airport and a top quality health care facility. But there is more to the movement in Oe-cusse than what you can see at first sight. Looking below the surface you soon realize that the level of coordination and collaboration is equally as impressive as the tangible achievements. I had the opportunity to talk to various people and to gain an insight into some of the projects and work processes. Even though my time in Oe-cusse was limited, I observed that assignments are approached in a very structured and well thought out manner. Most importantly however, people coordinate their work amongst each other and integrate all relevant stakeholders. In a world where NGOs, governments and private sector are all competing for mandates and funding for development projects, seeing a place where resources are used effectively and with a collaborative spirit is refreshing and inspiring. I, for one cannot wait to see what Oe-cusse will look like in a month, a year and a decade.
The fast paced hospitality and tourism industry with its manifold opportunities always fascinated me. I graduated from École hôtelière de Lausanne with a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management in 2012. Before, during and after my studies I consolidated my knowledge in varying working environments in different countries.
After my studies I worked in Laos for a hospitality training center. There I started to understand the importance of good education in the development of a sustainable tourism industry.
I am currently in the last semester for my Master degree in International Management from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. With the support of SCOPE ASIA I am writing my thesis on collaborations in the development of a tourism industry in Timor-Leste. At the same time I am working as an Assistant Manager in a hotel in Basel, Switzerland.