Where is Osso Huna?
The village of Osso-Huna, is in the Sub-district of Baguia , about four hours drive from Baucau and is located on the slopes of Mount Matebian, the second highest mountain in Timor-Leste.
What is the project about?
Most of the people in Osso-Huna and the surrounding villages are subsistence farmers, who eat what they grow using dry cultivation, including corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Agricultural production in Osso-Huna and its surrounding villages is so low that farmers are not able to meet their own household needs for food throughout the year.
The project aims to facilitate technical assistance, enhance access to and availability of inputs needed for increased productivity of their farming systems; strengthen farmer groups, associations and cooperatives ability to organize; and make it possible for small producers to benefit from the economies of scale Increasing productivity will primarily concentrate on horticulture, specifically vegetable, beans and/or fruit production for import replacement. Horticulture is seen as a promising option for achieving near-term inclusive economic growth and to serve as the core programming option for a future project design. There is high-unmet local demand for vegetables, supporting the possibility of significant results in the near term.
Osso-Huna is located at the foot of mountain Matebian, the second highest mountain in Timor-Leste, which has profound cultural meaning as well as historical significance in terms of the struggle against Indonesian occupation. It is a potential resource for eco-tourism development. Historical and cultural assets of Osso-Huna and surrounding villages of interest to tourists include uma lulik, house of ancestors, and caves with prehistoric drawings. This includes a mixture of various cultures: Portuguese, Indonesian and indigenous Austronesian and Melanesian
The project intends to start with building a community training center that will be used for an English language course for the community to prepare them to become tour guides in the future. The project will also facilitate other relevant training on hospitality (accommodations and food), history, etc. The project will also promote eco-tourism by producing booklets or brochures about potential activities and areas in Osso-Huna and the surrounding villages. Building of guest houses in Osso-Huna for tourists would begin in the third year.
What has the Osso Huna community achieved so far?
The Osso-Huna Pre-Secondary School was established in 2001 as a community initiative and was run and staffed by teachers from the community with funding assistance from a range of supporters and TEAR Australia. The Timor-Leste Government completed taking over responsibility for funding the school at the beginning of 2014. At the recommendation of the community a government funded senior high school for the region was established in Osso-Huna in 2015
Management of the Community Cooperatives and Tourism Project
The project will be managed in the community by the Fundação Matan Ruak (Matan Ruak’s Foundation) established in 2013 in order to assist the community in Osso-Huna.
Fundação Matan Ruak was established by the people who originally came from Osso-Huna and surrounding villages. Most of the founders are now based in Dili, although they have been active in community development and in the liberation of Timor-Leste. Now they feel it is their time to contribute to the liberation of the people from poverty and illiteracy.
The project management committee is comprised of members from outside Timor-Leste. The members of the committee, John McKinnon, Doug Hynd from Australia and Christine Vertucci (Philippines) have had involvement with the Osso Huna community during the funding and development of the Pre-Secondary Community School.
What funding is being sought for the project?
The project will run for three years. The funding sought is in US dollars, which is the currency in Timor-Leste. The budget is as follows:
Year 1: $38,205
Year 2: $26,302
Year 3: $38,703
Donations to this project can be claimed as tax deductible. Please donate here