About Friends of Aileu
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Friends of Aileu is the friendship relationship between:
- Moreland City Council and Hume City Council, along with their communities
- the Timor-Leste municipality of Aileu and its people.
Established under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2000, the friendship relationship's commitments are outlined in its Friendship Agreement. As part of the Victorian Government's program of cooperation with the Government of Timor-Leste, both councils have also entered into Municipal Coorperation Agreements with the Timor-Leste Ministry of State Administration. The Moreland Municipal Coorperation Agreement and the Hume Municipal Coorporation Agreement both provide a framework for the support provided to the Municipality of Aileu during the Timor-Leste Government decentralisation process and the transition to responsible, elected local government.
Currently, there are 32 friendship groups registered with the Australian Timor-Leste Friendship Network. 18 of these are Victorian local government councils. Moreland and Hume were among the first councils to formalise their friendship relationship, along with Darebin, Yarra and Port Philip.
The friendship relationship is based around the following principles:
- Relationships: building partnerships based on mutual understanding and respect
- Sustainability: committing to a long-term relationship
- Respect: supporting Timorese-led decision making.
Engaging in the spirit of friendship, we participate in activities that support the municipality and people of Aileu to develop their local democracy and seek a more sustainable future. We focus on education and training, community health and the environment, and specifically aim to address participation by women and youth. The Friends of Aileu Strategy Plan provides more detail about how we make these activities happen.
The friendship relationship reflects and builds on the strong links between the people of Australia and Timor-Leste. These links have been developed and strengthened over decades of support and solidarity, particularly during periods of war, occupation and subsequent peacekeeping.
- Find out about Aileu and Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste, which became an independent nation in 2002, is one of Australia's closest neighbours. In fact, its capital Dili is only 720km from Darwin. Timor-Leste is home to 1.2 million people (2015 census). Over 70% of these people live in rural areas. Both the rural and urban population of Timor-Leste engage in agriculture and livestock rearing.
The official languages of Timor-Leste are Portuguese and Tetun. However, many people speak Indonesian and increasing numbers speak English, both of which are recognised as working languages.
The Aileu Municipality is a largely mountainous area inland immediately south of Dili and the municipal centre is a small town less than 20 kilometres directly south of Dili, reached by a 45-kilometre drive through forest, farmland and coffee groves.
Aileu is one of Timor-Leste's 13 municipalities or administrative sub-divisions (formerly called districts). It is home to 49,000 people (2015 census). Almost all households in Aileu depend on agriculture or livestock raising.
Timor-Leste's municipalities are gradually growing their service delivery and governance responsibilities as part of the decentralisation process. Over the coming years, the Government of Timor-Leste plans to transition the municipalities to fully responsible local government entities with elected assemblies.
The activities of Friends of Aileu are coordinated by Council’s Friends of Aileu Project Officer, together with the Friends of Aileu Community Committee and partner organisations in Australia and Timor-Leste. This is also made possible with the support of interested community members and local organisations and businesses.
The Friends of Aileu Community Committee helps inform the decision making of Moreland City Council and Hume City Council regarding the friendship relationship with Aileu. The Committee provides opportunities for community input and gives regular feedback to Council.
The Committee also works with both Councils and partner organisations to deliver projects and activities, and provides fundraising and donation advice.
Regular meetings are held bi-monthly. Meetings will be scheduled in advance and agendas circulated at least one week prior to the meeting. The next meeting will be held on 9 February 2021.
- Committee Members
Moreland City Council's councillor representative on the Committee for 2020 -21 is Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli-Hannan.
Membership is made up of up to 35 persons, including organisational and individual members.
The friendship relationship with Aileu is made possible with the help of our partners.
- Merri Health
- Dental Health Services of Victoria
- North Richmond Community Health
- The Rotary Club of Greenvale
- Grassroots Gatherings
- Moreland Community Gardening
- Wild Timor Coffee
- Prime Sci! Swinburne University.
Friends of Aileu also collaborates with other friendship groups including the Campaspe East Timor Association in Friendship, which is supported by the Campaspe Shire Council, and the Kangaroo Valley Remexio Partnership, based in Shoalhaven, NSW.
In Aileu, our principle partners are:
- the Municipal Administration and relevant local government departments (e.g. Education, Health and Agriculture)
- the Aileu Resource and Training Centre
- the Uma Ita Nian Parish Clinic
- community organisations including the Aileu Anan Association, the Rotaract Club of Aileu, the Aileu University Students Association, the Aileu Municipal Youth Centre, and other youth groups.
We also maintain links with the local East Timorese community through the Australian East Timor Association, the Melbourne East Timorise Activity Centre and the East Timorese Students Association Victoria.
We produce newsletters and reports for the Friends of Aileu partnership, which are a great way to catch up on what has been going on.