Timor Leste: Advisory and Training for the Maritime Sector in Timor-Leste (ATMI-TLS)

Project title: Advisory and Training for the Maritime Sector in Timor-Leste (ATMI-TLS)
Project data:
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Lead executing agency: Timor-Leste Ministry for Transport and Communication (MoTC)
Duration: 07/2013 – 06/2016
Gender Marker: GG0


Short overview of the project

Timor-Leste is listed as a Small Island Developing State with a total area of 14,954.44 km² and a coastline
extending 783 km. Despite major recent improvements, the country road network is still precarious, which
affects all sectors of the economy and creates challenges in terms of trade. The development of an
efficient maritime sector is therefore crucial for the country’s economic progress.
In Timor-Leste, institutional requirements for a functional maritime sector have yet to be established. The
country also lacks trained seafarers and other qualified technicians for a maritime sector to have a growth
potential. Existing vocational training is unable to meet current – and eventual future – demand in terms
of quantity or quality of maritime professionals.
The main goal of the “Advisory and Training for the Maritime Sector in Timor-Leste” (ATMI-TLS) project is
the strengthening of institutional and personnel capacities of the maritime administration and of
vocational training institutions linked to the maritime sector.
The project aims at the establishment of a new maritime authority in the country and at the improvement
of procedures in the maritime sector, which should be in accordance with international standards.
The area covered by the project includes the entire territory of Timor-Leste, although with a primary focus
on coastal regions.
Although the project’s gender marker is zero (GG0), one of the project indicators is directly related to gender:
“70 % of alumni of the vocational training and continuous education activities supported by the project find
a (dependent or independent) professional occupation in the maritime sector of Timor-Leste according to
their qualifications within 6 months after completing their studies. At least 10 % are women”.
Thus, the gender dimension is an important part of the project design and implementation.


The maritime sector is historically relatively conservative and male dominated. Nowadays, seafaring is
considered to be a high-technology career most suitable to men. This is reflected in the low numbers of women in the sector. It is estimated that there are around 23.000 women seafarers worldwide,
representing a low 2% of the total workforce, and clustered disproportionately in the ferry and cruise
sectors, and in service roles. Women work mainly in the cruise and ferries sector, often for Flags of
Convenience vessels, which are among the worst paid and least protected of jobs at sea. Their low number
means that women are vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. Studies revealed that women on
ships always feel been observed by everyone. They reported these situations as stressful. Furthermore,
certain vessels´ present limitations regarding spaces for personal cleanliness cause discomfort to both
genders. In many countries maritime education and training institutions are not allowed to recruit women
to nautical courses. Even once trained, they often face prejudice from ship owners who won’t employ

How the project is managed and implemented

Project approach

In general, the GIZ technical cooperation aims to improve the performance of both state and private
actors in the maritime sector. This includes improvement of maritime safety, security and protection of
the marine environment, as well as facilitation of the maritime transport. The impact will be a better
organized maritime business environment, higher accountability and performance of the public servants,
more working possibilities for Timorese nationals, and more efficient maritime transport services.
Altogether, living conditions for those Timorese that are settled in remote areas will improve significantly.

a) The project’s strategy to promote gender equality is based on the following objectives:
b) To provide real and fair opportunities for women, equal to those available to men in the
maritime sector of Timor-Leste.
c) To contribute to advocacy, knowledge management and capacity building on gender equality
and women’s advancement in the maritime sector.
d) To reduce gender stereotypes within the industry.
e) To improve working environments which are suitable for all genders.

In order to achieve the objectives listed above, our team has developed its own gender action plan, which
is monitored and discussed regularly, evaluated and adjusted accordingliy. Within this action plan we
focussed on the following work streams:

1. Gender sensitive recruitment
2. Vocational training, which inculdes gender-related issues
3. Gender sensitive institutional development
4. Gender related capacity building
5. Networking 

In order to maximize the project’s gender-related efforts we requested expert input from the GIZ gender
focal points based in Timor-Leste as well as from the overall gender focal point based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The focal points have introduced regular gender-coaching weeks, where gender-mainstreaming issues
have been focused.

Additionally gender-related activities and the concrete action plan have been discussed at meetings with
the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Representative for South-East Asia as well as with
stakeholders during workshops and conferences. Issues included for example women’s empowerment
and specifically the advancement of women in the maritime sector as well as new approaches of gendermainstreaming in the context of seafaring and port management respectively.

Current achievements

Despite their opportunities, maritime professions with their hours away from home and mostly among
men are still not appealing to the Timorese women. It is generally challenging to promote gender equality
in the maritime sector but especially in a society with a culture where women are almost exclusivley
required to manage the households and perform domestic care-work. The project counterparts do not
necessary see gender mainstreaming as a priority and they do not include it in their planning for the
future. This situation makes the promotion of gender an additional challenge for the project team. Project
activities are designed to give the opportunity to the individuals to question their gender roles, attitudes
and beliefs.

As example – a gender perspective has been included in the course “Health, Hygiene, Social
Responsibility and Environment” – a part of the Maritime Induction Training for Seafarers at the GermanTimorese Maritime Unit. This course makes female participants aware of their rights in the hope to
empower them to claim them. And, male participants learn more about gender roles and women’s rights,
which leads to a change in existing discriminative attitudes and misperceptions. Relevant aspects,
including gendered space and sexual behaviour and intimicy at sea, are included in the course.
With its activities, the project team also supports the counterparts´ access to and implementation of
gender related standards, guidelines and tools. One major step for advancement of gender equality in the
maritime sector of Timor-Leste was achieved with the amendment of the Seafarer Licensing System
Regulation which now allows certification of women (see Attachment 1). As described in the context,
Timor-Lestepreviously also belonged to those countries which did not allow the recruitment of women.
In terms of gender related capacity building, the the project supported participation of two women from
the Timorese maritime sector at the Women in Maritime Asia Conference organized by IMO from 21st to
24th September 2015 in Manila. One of the conference goals is to encourage greater participation of
women within the port and maritime industry in Asia and to provide assistance in highlighting training
opportunities for women in the maritime sector. As follow-up of this activity the project organized a halfday session dedicated on the topic “Women in the maritime sector of Timor-Leste – rights and opportunities” during the World Maritime Day 2015 in Timor-Leste (see Attachment 2). During the Manila
conference an Association of Women in the Maritime Sector was successfully created. The main
objectives of the association are to promote gender equality, to advance the role of women in the
maritime sector and to share experiences. This association will held its first meeting of Women in
Maritime Timor-Leste on February 15 2016 and will be supported by the MARITIME project.
Regarding the quantitative indicator (10% of the alumni, who find an occupation in the maritime sector,
are women) the project has reached the following results:

• 2013: 12,6%
• 2014: 19,6%;
• 2015 – 11,7%.
Apart from aquring new technical knowledge, participation in such conferences aims at establishing
network relations with actors working on gender in the maritime sector at regional and international

The work streams described above are designed to complement each other. It is assumed that all activities
contribute to the empowerment of women in the national maritime sector by reducing stereotypes,
eliminating institutional barriers and educating about gender related issues. We have also considered the
role of communication by promoting female and or balanced images in promotion and educational
Assumed impact of the project and possible contribution to sustainability
A developed and well-functioning maritime sector is of vital importance for Timor-Leste because of its
direct relation to the county’s economic development, stability and peace. Gender equality within the
maritime sector is one of the factors that lead to its progress and improvement. The project staff
acknowledges and supports the importance of national ownership of gender initiatives for sustainable

Gender initiatives supported by the project always actively involved the national counterparts because
national ownership is important to ensure sustainable results. Through its gender activities the project
assumes the following impact:
• Better legislation on gender equality for the maritime sector of Timor-Leste,
• More job opportunities for women in the maritime sector of Timor-Leste,
• Vocational training for women in the maritime sector of Timor-Leste,
• Inclusion of gender aspects in vocational traning sessions,
• Reduced stereotypes and prejudices,
• Raised awareness about gender roles, attitudes and beliefs,
• Enabled actors to connect internationally on gender in the maritime sector and to continue the
work stream on the advancement of women in the maritime sector in Timor Leste. 

Regarding the gender-related activities the project has received positive feedback from expert circles at
national level but also from colleagues and stakeholders from Indonesia, who consider the example as
best practice to promote women’s role in the maritime sector specifically but also in engineering and
technology generally. Thus the project’s experience will be documented in promotion and education
material, which will be produced in 2016.

The project has won the first prize of the gender award “Communicating Gender 2015” in the category
GG0, conducted by the gender working group GIZ Indonesia, Timor-Leste and ASEAN.


Submitted by:
Nadezhda Nikolova
Rodrigo Garcia Bernal

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