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Spotlight Initiative: the European Union and UNICEF Timor-Leste equip schools to help combat violence against women and girls


DILI, 12 August  2021 – The EU and UNICEF handed over to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) projectors and accessories that will go to fifty one schools across the country to help facilitate the teaching of curricular and extra-curriculur activities that contribute to the promotion of gender equality and prevention of violence against children and women.

UNICEF Acting Deputy Representative, Emmanuelle Collett, and the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Timor-Leste, Ramón Reigada, handed over the material to Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport, H.E. Armindo Maia, at an event held at the Ministry of Education.

The provision of equipment supports the violence prevention component of the the Spotlight Initiative – a joint European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) programme aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. In partnership with UNFPA and UN Women, UNICEF is supporting MoEYS in the development and implementation of school-based programmes for violence prevention, so that all students feel safe at school and learn the skills needed to develop healthy relationships.

“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport welcomes the provision of equipment, which will help greatly in sharing essential resources with students and teachers alike, building awareness, spurring discussions, and ultimately eliminating violence in schools, and by extension, homes and communities” said Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, H.E. Armindo Maia. “We are dedicated to eliminating violence, and the classroom is a crucial place to ensure this begins.”

The equipment – 51 projectors – will be distributed to schools across the country and will be used to show videos, presentations, images and internet content to drive discussion around violence prevention and gender equality. Existing and new material developed to support the Eskola Ba Uma initiative will also be used to support teaching in schools, and promotion of gender equality.

“Adolescence offers a critical window of opportunity to influence attitudes and behaviour,” said Emmanuelle Collett, UNICEF’s Acting Deputy Representative in Timor-Leste. “So, by ensuring young people enjoy a school environment free from violence and are acquiring the tools of empathy, assertiveness and non-discrimination, we are helping them to become adults who will respect their partners, their children and other people, and who will contribute to a peaceful country.”

“Violence against women and girls ruins live. It has to stop. By providing projectors and other equipment this initiative will help 51 schools to address the issue with their pupils. It will help them to realise that violence is unacceptable and to adopt appropriate behaviour in all circumstances. It will also help to combat gender stereotypes and to give young people the life skills they need to succeed in today’s society. The initiative will change girls’ and boys’ lives for the better”, said Ramón Reigada, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Timor-Leste.



The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste began in 2020 and will be implemented over a duration of three years. It seeks to ensure that every woman and girl lives in a safe and inclusive society, free from violence and discrimination. The implementation of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is led by five UN agencies (UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF, and ILO) with a focus on addressing intimate partner violence and domestic violence, as well as violence against children and adolescents. The Programme involves  collaboration with a range of civil society organisations the International Organization for Migration, the Human Rights Advisor’s Unit, and the World Health Organization.