PNDS is a community driven development program, run by the Timor-Leste Government and providing development options to villages nation-wide through annual grants for improved infrastructure and services while bringing opportunities to villages for socio-economic advancement. Village communities use these grants to improve local development planning, build and maintain their own small-scale projects â€“ benefitting the entire community. The PNDS program is envisaged to run for eight years to provide village-level development and improved local governance in the country.
The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), through Cardno Emerging Markets, is providing collaborative support to the Timorese Government in this program; through policy development, institutional strengthening, training and capacity building, and technical advice. It aims to ensure that Government grants are administered with accountability and transparency and that village projects are socially inclusive, maintained over the long-term, gender balanced, and beneficial to all community members. The programâ€™s overall aim is to support poverty reduction and promote good governance in communities.
From August 2014 to August 2015 RMI provided specialist policy advisory support to PNDS stakeholders, ensuring coordination amongst institutional sectors in the Government, allowing the continuation of institutional knowledge for effective program implementation. Here RMI developed strategies for promoting inter-ministerial coordination, supported coordination for development of Government decentralization, advised on community driven development best practice, and reviewed key program policy and operations documents. Manoj Nath, the consulting pool member, also worked for this program during 2012-13 to lead the Technical Assistance support to the Program Secretariat in the Ministry of State Administration to design the program, set the training systems and implement the pilot phase in selected Districts.