Interpeace – CEPAD partnership in Timor-Leste
December 4, 2020
By Renée Larivière, Senior Director of Programme Management
Timor-Leste experienced successive political unrest and cycles of violence underlining the deep divisions and unresolved grievances embedded within the society. Interpeace began its peacebuilding work in Timor-Leste in 2007 by establishing the Centre of Studies for Peace and Development (CEPAD) as a response to address these complex issues.
From the initial stage of the partnership, Interpeace closely supported CEPAD with both methodical and financial support to ensure CEPAD’s sustainability. It was important from the first days of engagement that Interpeace and CEPAD develop a genuine relationship based on trust, openness and mutual respect.
A closer look into this relationship between Interpeace and CEPAD, reveal several success factors that stand out among others. Interpeace understood the importance of identifying a person with the capability to bring conflicting parties to the table. Therefore after conducting comprehensive search for the identification of such a resource, Interpeace decided to connect with João Boavida, a Timorese professional with extensive experience in the field of peace building. Interpeace was able to provide CEPAD with the space required to carry out a nationwide consultation with local communities on its priorities for the nation instead of top-down imposed blueprint.
As the years unfolded, Interpeace witnessed CEPAD developing its wings with great maturity to adopt a more dynamic and independent role in securing funding and opportunities for collaboration. Therefore, having concluded that CEPAD was ready to successfully continue its unique journey independently, Interpeace has transitioned from providing financial support. However, the spirit of collaboration between the two organisations remain unchanged, with Interpeace continuing to provide advisory support when required.
New book “What Transformation Takes” by Peace Direct, CDA Collaborative Learning and Search for Common Ground, highlights Interpeace’s partnership with CEPAD and the practical steps international actors can take to support the efforts of a locally led organization.