The project led by the East-West Center (EWC) Chapter Dili and Timorese Youth Initiative for Development (TYIFD) kick-started in August 2019, from the result of the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) Academic Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii, in which focuses predominantly on the environment and natural resources management, its issues and way to move forward addressing problems in the society through a variety of community project. Working closely with East-West Center, which administering the project and ensuring project viability, this new initiative is intended to build a collaboration with the founder(s) from the Laut Community iLab in Rote, Indonesia and as well as the East-West Center Alumni and its Chapter in Timor-Leste.

  • Photo: Alito Rosa


    Waste is a global concern for all of us. People produce massively more waste than our planet can sustain. Timor-Leste, particularly in Dili, the amount of garbage that people produce is progressively increasing as the population continues to grow. According to the waste assessment conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB, 2015), Dili municipality generates 190 tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) per day. One of the best management practices (BMPs) used to address an exaggerated amount of MSW - commonly known as garbage - including the installation of 300 brick-and-mortar containers around Dili. The brick-and-mortar containers (locally called bak sampah) are available for households to discard household waste. Unfortunately, there is still lack of environmental awareness in some communities on the impacts of littering, making it difficult to control the amount of waste being dumped in inappropriate locations such as drains, riverside, open space, open areas. Consequently, the inappropriate and irresponsible waste disposal management has caused some negative impacts on the environment and trigger health issues. Filthy and unsanitary environment provides favourable habitat for insects, vermin, and scavenging animals, which then proliferating and spreading air and waterborne diseases. The high influx of rubbish thrown in the river bank eventually end up in the river mouth and pollute the ocean. Plastic waste in particular, takes about 10-20 years to decompose and full decomposition of some plastic products will never be achieved, but instead will only be broken down into smaller pieces. Littering has generated issues related to clogging, inundation, foul odor, air pollution, groundwater contamination, and diseases.


    Living in an island setting, the Timorese people have a close relationship with the ocean. For centuries, the ocean has always been providing and many generations and sustaining their livelihoods. Its abundance in marine resources has also made Timor-Leste’s water and its reefs (in Atauro) to be one of the most biodiverse in the world in 2016, according to Conservation International (CI) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, it has constantly been threat because of anthropocentric causes such as poor waste management, notably plastic waste. In Atauro, the majority of community relies on fishing and growing seaweed to support their lives, however, the increased amount of waste has slowly deteriorated the natural aspect of the beaches, affecting the quality of the coral reefs and marine ecosystem at large. The source of waste, marine debris, including plastic particles found in Timor’s water does not only come locally, but presumably from other neighboring countries carried by the ocean conveyor belt.


    There is a growing concern over lack in education and environmental awareness in the national population that consist of 41% of people under 30 years of age. Some organizations, however, continue to undertake initiatives for regular beach clean-ups that involve students and local communities. It is often observed that there are minimum initiatives of the Government of Timor-Leste in regard to spreading environmental awareness. Coordination of roles between the government and non-government organizations is critical in pushing the appropriate interventions for waste management, combining education and action-based practices.


  • Solution

    Raising public awareness on waste disposal is crucial in our community. One of the ways to influence environmental behavior is by using arts. Here we identify a) performing arts of theater and b) visual art for exposition. The reason we choose arts because often, arts have been underutilized as a tool to inspire new management models. Quoting the Center for Arts and the Environment at the University of Arizona, “arts can help to raise awareness about and catalyze a public response to environmental insecurities and risks, illuminate issues of environmental justice, and imagine more sustainable futures”.


    Our hypothesis is that by providing low-cost capital accessible for interested youth group, this project aim to target the winner to be able to create a wide-scale impact using theater and visual arts. The interested party or registered group(s) can also explore their own creativity and produce deliverables reflecting the anthropocentric impacts on the surrounding environment. The project will highly reflect the reality that we observe such as littering on the roads, corners, and empty spaces, ocean, parks, school, public spaces, etc. Our core objective is likewise to create a continuous marketing program to share the negative impacts of waste, understand the reciprocal relationship between human, ocean and its resources, as well as influence people’s decision on the products that they use on daily bases that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Most importantly, we would like to encourage youth to involve and showcase their creativity with arts.

  • How It Works

    The team will use Challenge Prize approach to find creative arts, especially performing arts such as theater and visual arts that will be used as tools to raise public awareness in school, community, and even public spaces. The theater will be showed in a competition day and it will be recorded to use it in school or event campaign, while the visual arts will be exhibited in public spaces such as Timor Plaza.


    Form your team & fill application


    Form your team from 5 to 10 members (at least 3 female) that have initiative and commitment to carry out this project successfully


    Submit and pitch

    Fill-up the application form in Tetun or English, and pitch your idea in the submission day



    The team will review and assess the idea from the applicants (4 groups for theater and visual arts)



    The selected applicants start design their idea of arts. Each group is given $50 to support their design activities. There will be a mentor session or capacity building workshop provided by the team organizer.



    Competition Day

    Top 8 finalists will get to perform the theater and showcase their visual arts to the judges and audiences. The competition day will be held on the 11th October in celebration of World Habitat Day 2019. The target participants will be from representatives of high school and university students, youth groups and partners. The relevant stakeholders will showcase their products or projects during the competition day.



    Follow-up and signpost participants to use their incentive in their project, including additional funding and support. Ensure the winner will use incentive to make a social and environmental impact in their group or community.

  • Criteria

    1. The team must be consisted of 5 to 10 members with an aged between 15 to 35
    2. The competition is open to Timor-Leste residents only
    3. At least one group has one good English Speaker
    4. The applicants are challenged to do either theatre or visual arts based on the following requirements:


    • Theater

    • The content ideas must reflect the objectives of this project
    • The sound of narrative should be influencing people’s behaviour on how to choose ocean friendly and zero waste lifestyles
    • Narrative can include identification of waste problem that we are currently facing
    • The message must be clear, powerful and emotional
    • The message must articulate the relationship between human and ocean, particularly the benefit of marine biodiversity
    • The message must include how human’s behaviour have altered the wealth of ocean, especially on how waste impacts our ocean
    • The story must sound realistic and influence people’s mind

    • Visual arts

    • The content ideas must reflect the objectives of this project
    • Create an exhibit on waste issue using materials from waste/recycled materials
    • Design “the relationship between human and ocean” signs to display in the exhibition. The message or quotes must be clear, powerful and emotional
    • The art must be creative and innovative
    • The visual art must influence people mind-set
    • The arts must show how waste impacts our ocean
    • Size of visual art: Min 120 x 130cm; Max 240cm x 130cm
  • Timeline



    08 Aug 2019: Application open

    22 Aug 2019:Application close

    24 Aug 2019: Pitching

    30 Aug 2019: Result announcement

    31 Aug 2019:Briefing for selected group

    02 Sept 2019: Mentoring session

    05 – 27 Sept 2019: Design

    04 Sept 2019: Final submission (ready to be performed)

    11 Oct 2019: Competition Day

    12 Oct 2019 – May 2020: Support


  • Result Expectation

    • Involving youth groups and students to understand the impact of waste on the environment, particularly the ocean
    • Increasing awareness of the community, especially youths and students on how to manage their waste and how to be a responsible consumption
    • Involving youth groups to mobilize communities to think constructively on how to reduce littering action in our society
    • Gather relevant agency, community, students, and the Government to take part in the awareness campaign


  • winning prize

    There will be 4 winners per category. The incentive will be given 50% of the total amount to do their project in their group or community, and the rest will be given further after they run their project. This is to ensure that incentives are used within the group. Furthermore, each group will received certificate of achievement as well.

    Category 1: Theater

    1st Winner: 500 USD

    2nd Winner: 300 USD

    3rd Winner: 200 USD

    4th Winner: 150 USD

    Category 2: Visual Art

    1st Winner: 500 USD

    2nd Winner: 300 USD

    3rd Winner: 200 USD

    4th Winner: 150 USD

  • mentors

    The mentoring session is divided into 3 categories: environmental awareness, theater & visual art

    Alberto Piedade

    Environmental Activist

    HRU Coordinator at Ministry of Finance

    Master of HRM
    Bachelor of Psychology

    8 years teaching theatre for Teatriku Juvenil Salesiano (TJS) since 2008- 2016

    3 years in Kommissar Kabaret Theatre Club in Melbourne Australlia
    in 2005-2007

    Martinha Amaral


    Environmental Technician at OASIS Sustainable Projects.

    Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning, Lincoln University, New Zealand.

    Worked with National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) New Zealand.

    Member of Environmental
    Sustainability and Conservation
    movement in New Zealand:
    - Lincoln Envirotown
    -Te Ara Kakariki

    Pepito Cadalak

    Freelance Costum Design

    Public Relations and Marketing Officer - Timor Leste organizing Committee for Expo Dubai 2020

    Studied Theater at LPC UWC Hong Kong 2010 - 2012

    Played a role in "Tragedy of Macbeth" dance production and "Cabaret" musical Theater Production at Luther College Iowa, USA in 2012/2014

    Worked as Costume design Assistant for Theater Department
    at Luther College,
    Iowa, USA from
    2013 - 2016

    Salvador de Jesus

    Cinematographer, writer and actor

    Filmaker Consultant for HANDS video project at the ministry of Education

    Bachelor of Screen Arts (Film and TV)

    4 years of experience working as an actor

    9 years of experience working as a filmmaker

    Zezinha Piedade

    Freelance Painter

    1,5 years studied Visual Communication Design in Indonesia 2011 - 2012

    1st mural painting with "Arte Klandestina" in Dili 2017 and 1st Solo painting exhibition at Manatuto 2018

    10 months Cerficated from Darmasiswa Scholarship Program for art and culture - painting 2018-2019

    Potenzo Lopes

    Independent Researcher

    Bachelor of Animal Science with an emphasis in Wildlife and Nature Conservation

    Experienced in marine conservation field and public education and outreach that address environmental issues and
    natural resources topics in 2015 - Present

    Conducted beach clean-up that gathered students in Timor-Leste and did the socialization
    for schools in Dili.

    Jose Andrade


    Joined Sanggar Masin from 2004-2005 and 2008-2009 to learn about painting on professional level.

    Volunteered at DEJUKDDIL from 2013-2016, teaching Visual Art as well as Languages, such as Portuguese and English.

    For almost five years since 2014, he joined Gembel Art Collective as a volunteer.
    Often teaches basic drawings to young artists

    Dircia SB


    Environmental Technician at UNDP Timor-Leste

    Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning at Lincoln University

    1 year supporting recycling promotion project and zero plastic policy

    Participating YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management at East-West Center, Hawai'i

    Justaquiu Lasi

    Youth Ambassador for Ocean and Climate Change

    Awarded as Ocean and Climate Change Youth Ambassador in 2018

    UNTL Finalist in Geology

    Attended Dive Master Course at Dive Timor Lorosa'e

    Fellow Tourism Intern in Hawai'i, USA
    Also got a chance to dive in "Wreck Dive" - World War II

  • final competition

    The final competition of theater and visual arts was participated by more than 200 youths, and VIP guests such as Ambassador of USA to Timor-Leste, representative of Secretary State of Environment, New Zealand Embassy, Delegation of EU to Timor-Leste, NGOs, and media. Audiences were very engaged during the competition. Between time gaps of performance, the team organizer provided a quiz about sustainable solid waste management information and their thoughts about the performances to keep them engaged...

    Reading more by clicking "Download" button below!

  • Impacts

    Youth groups' project/activities after the competition

    acSEAon Project Presentation

    3R Timor-Leste

    As a part of art competition, 3R Timor-Leste participated in an “Ocean Summit 2019” event in Timor-Leste which was organized by U.S Embassy Dili and USAID to present the acSEAon project and explained how we can solve this problem starting from our SMALL ACTION, but has a BIG IMPACT.

    Workshop: Waste Problem in Dili

    Youth Community Care (YCC)

    On 25 October 2019, Youth Community Care group held workshop on “waste problem in Dili municipality”. The speakers of this event were the President of Dili Municipality and National Director of Basic Saniation. This workshop was participated by university students in Dili, CVTL, Becora youth group and Suku Becora representatives.


    Social Education-related Progam

    Roman Foinsa'e Timor-Leste (RFTL)

    After the competition, the RFTL youth group in coordination with 12 November Committee run a social education-related program at Bibileo, Viqueque municipality, on 11 – 12 November 2019. The main objectives are to commemorate 28th Santa Cruz Massacre and 14th national youth day, and share the history of Santa Cruz Massacre to young generations. The activities included a workshop, competition to primary school’s students on the history of Santa Cruz Massacre, public speech competition to high school students, night reflections, solemnity mass, and cemetery visits.


    Workshop and Beach Clean-up

    Juventude Foinsa'e Hadomi Komunidade (JFHK)

    In December 2019, the JFHK youth group held workshops and beach clean-up as part of the art competition. The workshop was held at ICS Dili (Health Science institute), which aimed to increase the capacity of JFHK’s members and how to serve the community, and share the information to their fellows on how to live in a healthier life. The beach clean-up was taking place from Metiaut to Cristo Rei. Moreover, JFHK also disseminated the information to the community who live close to the Tibar Landfill.


    Christmas Gathering with Atauro Communities

    Environmental Activities (ENVACERS)

    As part of post-competition project implementation, ENVACERS travelled to Atauro Island to celebrate Christmas with communities. They run different activities such as information sharing about waste, teaching kids on how to do origami, distributing second-hand clothes to the community, including movie night. It took place in suku Akrema on 19 - 21 December 2019.


    Theater Performance on "Ocean Summit 2019"

    Team HEK (Halibur Enjiñeiru Kreativu)



    Beach Clean-up




    Theater Performance on the Declaration of Independence Day

    Grupo FILTEDA



  • team organizer

    EWC Chapter Dili

    EWC alumni in Timor-Leste


    Timorese Youth Initiative For Development

  • Partners


    Tell us if you have any questions or suggestions!

    Dili, Timor-Leste
    Mon-Fri 09am to 5pm
    +670 78723477