This story is the first in a series of case studies on the livelihoods of women in Laclubar and Soibada from indepth interviews carried out in 2018-19. We interviewed 1) women currently involved in the agroforestry program; 2) women not participating but interested, and 3) women unable to participate and why. We now have a broader understanding of how the project is impacting on people’s lives and who is missing out, so we can improve participation and outcomes.
Fernanda Soares du Terre, Soibada
“When we look after the trees, we can get money from the trees”
Fernanda is 54 years old with adult children (4 boys, 3 girls). Most are living in Dili, Bacau and Salau. Her husband decided to become part of the project but she is OK with the decision. They own their land, which they inherited through her husband’s father. They grow mahogany, coffee, teak. In 2018, they got $1600-$2000 in payments from the project for their trees. She thinks the project is good because when they look after the trees, they can get money from the trees. When they cut the trees they can make tables, chairs, and a house. They cut some trees this year that had been planted in 2013 and were 5 years old, to thin the plantation out as it was too dense. Sometimes cows come and destroy trees which limits their production. If this happens, they talk to the village head and cow owner to work out compensation. Fernanda thinks the value of her land will increase with the trees.
“The most important thing at the moment is to find money to pay for the children’s education”
Fernanda spends approximately 1 hour each day cleaning the house and preparing breakfast for the children. She spends approximately 2-3 hours washing clothes each day and another 1 hour if preparing rice and 1.5 hours if preparing corn for the meals. Every day, she helps her husband bring in the palm wine which they sell in Dili every month but this is dependent on transport which can be unreliable. They get $4/litre on average for the wine but it depends on how much people can pay. They also exchange wine for noodles and rice in the shop in Soibada. Fernanda helps on the farm with growing cassava, planting and harvesting vegetables such as corn and potato. She spends the approximately 3 hours per day working on the farm. There is also work in a group rotation of ‘cleaning or weeding’ the farm, where they rotate around each others farms. Other duties include cleaning the church with others in a group.
Fernanda believes the most important thing at the moment is to find money to pay for the children’s education for university and to take care of the children. When the children have finished their education, she wants them to have a good job. She plans to build a good house. They need the roads to be fixed and access to water, particularly in the dry season. The transport in the area also needs to be improved.
Soibada primary school