Stopping the Violence

by Ba Futuru / For the Future
Teachers receive their training certificates.
Teachers receive their training certificates.

Ba Futuru’s three-year project Strengthening Peace in the Lives of Children: Stopping the Violence—also known as Peace Schools—has come to an end in December 2013.  Since January 2011, Ba Futuru has worked with seven high schools, 249 teachers and more than 1,200 students in Timor-Leste to create violence-free, safe, and healthy schools which protect children’s rights.

Peace Schools has been remarkably successful at changing attitudes, increasing knowledge, and assisting teachers to transform their behaviour and classrooms to make learning more effective and enjoyable for them and their students. 

After following training with Ba Futuru, 84 percent of teachers could identify organisations in the community that can help abused children (20 percent could do so before training).  Peace Schools participants also achieved long-term behaviour change as a result of their involvement: 88 percent of teachers reported having experienced a positive change in their teaching behaviour months after they were trained.

With your support, Ba Futuru achieved the following through the Peace Schools project in 2013:

  • We worked with four high schools in urban Dili and remote Lospalos, reaching more than eighty-five teachers and more than three thousand students.
  • We ran four child protection and positive discipline trainings, which changed mindsets about the use of violence against children.
  • We held ten monthly meetings with teachers to support their use of non-violent discipline in the classroom.
  • We developed teacher codes of conduct with each school, supporting the development of non-violent school cultures.
  • We provided educational materials to each school, including stationery and sports equipment.
  • We provided in-class, one-on-one mentoring to twelve teachers.
  • We produced a new training manual in child protection and positive behaviour reinforcement for teachers and parents.
  • We ran a media campaign for students, including a live theatre play, posters and pocket-sized booklets about abuse and child rights.

The changes the schools have experienced are summarised by School Director Pedro da Costa:

Our partnership with Ba Futuru has really shown a positive change. I have noticed that some teachers have made great progress. For example, previously, teachers used the old system when they entered the classroom: they carried chalk and just wrote on the blackboard and students copied; also, teachers didn’t give students the opportunity to be involved, so usually the students were just quiet throughout the whole lesson. But now, this way has changed. When they come into class, they start involving the students by using strategies they learned in the monthly meetings, like asking various questions to check students’ understanding and giving opportunities to students to speak and share their problems. I see that the teachers have a real interest in practising, and I believe that we can realize our objective of reducing violence in the school in the future.

Thanks to your generous donation, Ba Futuru’s Peace Schools project has made a real difference to the lives and education of many Timorese children, reducing the violence they face at school, and strengthening the protection of their rights in the community. 

Please note: Recurring donations to Ba Futuru through the Global Giving website will now be channelled to our Early Childhood Development Iniative, which provides scholarships for Timorese children from 2 to 5 years to attend Ba Futuru’s preschool. Contact Ba Futuru at for more information.

Teachers practice their skills at monthly meetings
Teachers practice their skills at monthly meetings


Students watch a theatre performance in Lospalos
Students watch a theatre performance in Lospalos

In the small, half-island nation of Timor-Leste, children regularly experience violence at school: in a 2006 study, it was found that “two-thirds of children reported teachers beating them with a stick and almost four out of every ten children reported teachers slapping them in the face” (Speak Nicely to Me, UNICEF and Plan International, 2006). In order to address this gross violation of children’s right to a safe education that respects their dignity, Ba Futuru began the Strengthening Peace in the Lives of Children: Stopping the Violence project – also known as Peace Schools. Since January 2011, Ba Futuru has trained 249 teachers and more than 1,200 students in Timor-Leste in child rights, child protection, positive (non-violent) discipline and positive behaviour reinforcement.


This year, Peace Schools is strengthening non-violent discipline and effective teaching practices in four Timorese high schools in the capital Dili and the remote town of Lospalos. We are training teachers in child protection and positive discipline, and participatory and effective teaching skills; and we are reaching students through theatre performances and publications about their rights and responsibilities, abuse and protection services. Together with these school communities, we are creating safer and healthier educational environments for young people in Timor-Leste.


From July to September, the Peace Schools project has achieved the following:

  • various one-day training sessions for 25 Ba Futuru facilitators in participatory teaching methods and positive behaviour reinforcement
  • focus group interviews with more than 50 students from the four target schools about their attitudes to schooling, experience of violence in the classroom, and their understanding of abuse, rights and responsibilities
  • continuation of monthly meetings to support the development of teachers’ skills in positive (non-violent) discipline and effective teaching
  • in-classroom mentoring of fifteen teachers in the four schools, including planning, observation and debrief sessions with each teacher. These sessions provided a valuable opportunity for Ba Futuru staff to observe the implementation of teachers’ new skills, and for teachers to receive individual feedback and support, many for the first time in their teaching careers.
  • theatre performances and the distribution of posters and information booklets about abuse, where to get help, and children’s rights and responsibilities, reaching more than 1,500 students across the four target schools

The theatre performances featured Ba Futuru’s female peacebuilding superhero, Feto Fantastiku (Fantastic Woman) and a cast of students, who discussed their experiences of abuse and violence, and shared information on where victims can find assistance locally. This information was reinforced through the distribution of posters and pocket-sized information booklets containing definitions of abuse, and contact numbers for support services in the region of each school. Ninety percent (90%) of the surveyed students said they “liked” or “really liked” the performance, and more than half (59%) were able to name three or all of the four types of abuse discussed in the play, showing that it was an effective way of sharing important information to help young Timorese protect themselves from abuse and mistreatment.

Thanks to your generous donation, Ba Futuru’s work in this vital area continues.

To become a Member of Ba Futuru, or for more information about our work, contact

Teacher mentoring takes place in the classroom
Teacher mentoring takes place in the classroom
Students in Dili receive protection information
Students in Dili receive protection information
"What is Abuse?" information poster for students
"What is Abuse?" information poster for students
Ba Futuru internal training
Ba Futuru internal training

Since January 2011, the Strengthening Peace in the Lives of Children project has been equipping Timorese teachers with the skills and knowledge to be child protection advocates and to replace violent physical punishment with a positive learning environment. Since January 2013, Ba Futuru has held four teacher trainings in the capital, Dili, and the remote eastern town of Lospalos.  Eighty nine high school teachers participated in the trainings, which achieved very positive results:

  • In the pre-training evaluation just 48% of participants could list at least four child rights. But after the training, all of the participants could list at least four child rights.
  • In the pre-training evaluation, just 6% of participants could list four types of abuse, but after the training 87% of participants could do this.

Following the Child Protection and Positive Discipline training in Lospalos, Teacher Sudaryatin from High School No.1 in Lospalos said:  “I have learned many things from this training, such as how to manage the classroom and how to give praise to students. (…) Personally, I feel that this topic was very valuable for me as a teacher, because if I reflect on my own behaviour, I realise that I myself have abused students.  This training has helped me to not use physical and emotional violence against students anymore in the future, but rather to use positive discipline that I learned about in the training.”

In addition to the teacher trainings, an internal training for 24 Ba Futuru training facilitators was held in April which covered the new content in the updated Child Protection and Positive Discipline training manual. The knowledge and skills shared in this training will indirectly impact hundreds more beneficiaries across Ba Futuru’s nine current projects. Rosa Martins, a project coordinator for Ba Futuru’s High Schools Transformation Project, said:

I really appreciated learning the information about positive behaviour management and the legal framework. In my own experience, I have tended to focus on how to respond well to bad behaviour, rather than reinforcing a child’s good behaviour. Even though I am a Ba Futuru facilitator, my understanding of the laws for child protection still isn’t very strong. This training has helped me gain more knowledge in this area.  And not only about this, but also about many topics which I am now ready to implement myself with participants that I meet and train in the future.”

Following the 3-day trainings with teachers in April and May, monthly meetings began in Dili and Lospalos, providing ongoing mentoring and support to 20 teachers across the two locations. At the meetings, additional positive discipline strategies are introduced, practised and discussed, and teachers have the opportunity to share the successes and challenges of their use of positive discipline in the classroom.

To extend the project’s reach to students in the target schools, Ba Futuru will develop a theatre performance about positive discipline and child protection which will be performed at each of the four target high schools in Dili and Lospalos in the coming months. The theatre performance will be accompanied by posters and reference booklets available at the schools, ensuring that important information about support services and basic rights are available to more than 3,000 students, as well as their teachers and families.

Thanks to your generous donations, Ba Futuru’s work continues to benefit students and teachers in Timor-Leste.

To become a Member of Ba Futuru, or for more information about our work, contact

A class in session at Nicolau Lobato High School
A class in session at Nicolau Lobato High School

Ba Futuru’s Strengthening Peace in the Lives of Children project is entering its third year, expanding the impact of our non-violent discipline and child protection work with teachers and students around Timor-Leste. In the early months of 2013, a new and revised Child Protection and Positive Discipline manual has been created, bringing together several years of experience and learning in high schools in Timor-Leste, to create a resource which incorporates international theory and research as well as strategies which have proven to be relevant to, and effective in, the Timorese context.  The new manual includes new modules on positive behaviour reinforcement and the national legal framework for child protection, as well as the fundamental modules in child rights, child protection and positive discipline.

We have also been preparing to return to work in three high schools – two in the capital, Dili, and one in the remote district of Lautem. From April to December, Ba Futuru will train all teachers in these schools in Child Protection and Positive Discipline and assist the schools in creating discipline and child protection policies, which will help school leadership to create an environment where violence is not tolerated and children’s rights are protected by all. More than 100 teachers will be trained throughout 2013, impacting thousands of students.

Thanks to your generous donations, Ba Futuru’s work in this vital area continues.

Another way that you can contribute to our peace building and child protection work in Timor-Leste is through membership.

Members are the overarching oversight group of Ba Futuru, Timor-Leste’s preeminent local peace building and child protection organisation, and are a crucial level in the accountability checks-and-balances of the organisation. You do not need to be a Timor, peace building or NGO expert to join as a Member – anyone with an interest in Ba Futuru’s work is welcome to contribute to the organisation through Membership. Members are kept well-informed of Ba Futuru’s activities throughout the year through regular updates on Ba Futuru’s work.

Members have the right to attend the AGM – in person or via Skype - and vote on all resolutions presented there, including the election of Board members. Members can also make motions at AGMs and nominate to become a Board Member.

Membership is free of charge, and you can resign as a member at any time.

Become a Member of Ba Futuru
If you are interested in becoming a Member of Ba Futuru, have questions about membership, or would like more information, please send an email to

Ba Futuru greatly appreciates your involvement and looks forward to working together 'ba futuru', for the future. 

Student Art Banner
Student Art Banner

Stopping the Violence Project Report – December 2012

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Project Update -

Over the past few months, the Stopping the Violence project team at Ba Futuru has been busy undertaking a number of Child Protection and Positive Discipline trainings with high school teachers and government teacher trainers, as well as receiving intensive training from an international child behavioural specialist to expand and enhance the team’s work. 

Ba Futuru has now trained a total of 119 teachers and teacher trainers in Child Protection and Positive Discipline since June this year, and has begun monthly meetings with a group of these teachers to support one another as they implement positive discipline strategies in the classroom, and share experiences and ideas throughout this process.  The trainings have been held with three high schools from Dili district, and teacher trainers from the National Institute for Teacher & Educator Training (INFORDEPE), under the Ministry of Education, who between them represented seven of Timor-Leste’s thirteen districts.

In July, an American consultant Jenna Rudo-Stern worked with the Peace Schools team for three weeks on developing new training materials and positive discipline strategies that focus on positive behaviour reinforcement. The central tenet of this training was that preventing negative behaviour and reinforcing positive behaviour is more effective than punishing negative behaviour. Jenna also ran a one-day training for all Ba Futuru staff on positive behaviour reinforcement. The Peace Schools team learnt a lot from Jenna and have now begun implementing the new materials and sharing the new ideas with training participants.

Evaluation results show that the teacher trainings done over the year were very successful in effectively sharing new information and teaching methods with the participants. For example, before the trainings only 14% of the participants could identify three signs of trauma and abuse in children; however, after the training, 71% of participants were able to do this.

One teacher shared his own story of change in a monthly meeting:  “Some of my fellow teachers were surprised by what I was doing, and said to me at the end of my class, ‘Why are your teaching methods not like they were before? Now you are animating the class, which is very different!’ I encourage my fellow teachers by telling them: ‘The methods I was using were from the training with Ba Futuru, and I learnt many other things from the training, too.  Sure, before I used to hit the students a lot, and be angry and yell at them, but it’s not too late for all of us to practice new methods with our students, even though we need a long time to make real change’.”

The generous support of individual donors via Global Giving has meant that the Peace Schools project has vital support to expand and improve its work with teachers around Timor-Leste, thereby contributing to stopping the use of violence against children.


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Organization Information

Ba Futuru / For the Future

Location: Dili - East Timor
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sierra James
Dili, Dili East Timor

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