The Revolutionary Front for an Independent Timor-Leste (FRETILIN) party recently launched the first phase of their training program for top local party members, with curriculum assistance from IRI.  This first phase of training consisted of three week-long sessions with party member participants from all of Timor-Leste’s 13 districts and 65 sub-districts.

Participants pose for a photo after the second training session in Tibar, Liquica District.

With local political party organization in mind, the program provided local party leaders, namely sub-district coordinators and delegates, with a comprehensive look at FRETILIN’s short and long-term priorities, a review of the party’s history and ideology, and an overview of the party’s structures.  IRI conducted leadership training workshops during each of the week-long sessions, in an effort to help local party officials better organize their party branches.  During the sessions, IRI and the participants looked at how political leaders are tested, approaches to countering political and voter apathy, examples of leadership in post-conflict scenarios, and the ethics of leadership. 

The training also covered two case studies, El Salvador and Southern Sudan, where resistance movements transitioned into political parties.  The participants saw similarities between their own experiences and the case studies, especially in the challenges of leadership during a post-conflict period.

With the success of this first phase, IRI plans to support the second phase of FRETILIN’s program, which will target the party leadership at the district level.  FRETILIN has shown its commitment to having party structures in place and leaders trained prior to the country’s next national elections, scheduled for 2012.  The planned elections will only be Timor-Leste’s third general elections since the country’s independence from Indonesian rule in 1999.

FRETILIN, the main opposition party in Timor-Leste’s parliament, has origins linked to the country’s resistance movement during Portuguese and Indonesian occupation.  This program is FRETILIN’s first comprehensive training plan since 1975.

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