With an aim to end gender-based violence, the Harmonia Activity is shifting cultural norms at the community level and introducing gender-sensitive health services in Timor-Leste’s public clinics.
In Timor-Leste, gender inequality and discrimination, patriarchal traditions, and a recent history of armed conflict are strong drivers of widespread violence against women. In Liquiçá Municipality, half of married or previously married women have experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual violence by a spouse. In neighboring Ermera Municipality, that number is closer to 3 out of 5, about twice the global average
In response, USAID identified Health Alliance International, and subsequently HAMNASA, to lead the implementation of Harmonia Activity, a multi-sector collaborative project that aims to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) in Ermera and Liquiçá municipalities by engaging communities and health providers in a coordinated effort to shift social norms of GBV and foster conflict resolution. The core strategies of Harmonia—community microplanning and Learning Lab-based training for government health providers—target 30 high impact sucos (villages) and doctors, midwives, and nurses working in community health centers and health posts across both municipalities.
HAMNASA will work closely with Timorese public institutions (Ministry of Health, National Institute of Health, Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion), the United Nations Population Fund, community and religious leaders, and local organizations that specialize in legal, economic, psychosocial, and education services for women, youth, and families.