Hafoti Member Group Profiles
In each of the seven districts where HAFOTI operates there are generally between two and four sub groups, which have around 8 – 10 members. Each of these groups has a coordinator who works with the HAFOTI field staff to coordinate production of food products, and to arrange meetings, training and the monitoring visits.
Member groups have signed a HAFOTI membership agreement which outlines objectives, roles and responsibilities between the member groups and the organization, and each member has a HAFOTI membership card.
The women accessing the Revolving Credit Fund are generally working as individuals, or occasionally as groups, and they have a separate contractual agreement with HAFOTI for loans.
HAFOTI encourages groups to limit numbers to around eight to ten members to ensure that the money earned from activities is sufficient to make a positive impact on their income levels.
To encourage long term sustainability, and because of high transport costs and relatively low profit margins, HAFOTI encourages members to find outlets and markets in their own districts as much as possible.
The groups generally work making products from one member's house, and meet a few times a week or as necessary. The groups keep records of sales and costs, how much time members put in, and how much money is distributed to group members.
The groups in Alieu, Baucau and Liquisa are the closest to Dili, between an hour and three hours away by car or public transport. The groups in Viqueque, Bobonoro and Manufahi districts are between five and seven hours from Dili, and to get to and from Oecusse it is an overnight ferry ride.
For more information about each of the groups click on the district names below.
Location: Madabeno and Talitu
There are two groups in Aileu district involved in the Product & Marketing Programme (Madabeno and Talitu), and whose members have accessed the Revolving Credit Fund. The groups live beside the main road leading south from Dili to Alieu so they have good access to public transport.
The group in Madabeno specialises in making kiri kiri and cassava chips. There is a school in their village where they sell products, and one member also has a kiosk which is used as an outlet.In Talitu the members grow vanilla, peppercorns, and cloves as well as other crops which they supply to commercial buyers, as well as to HAFOTI. They also specialize in making pineapple and papaya marmalade, and traditional medicines such as arnica ointment. This group sells their crops commercially, and they have a small kiosk for sales of marmalade and general products.
There are one group in Baucau and they are based in Buruma. As well as supplying products to HAFOTI to distribute in Dili, this group make products to sell at festivals and events held in Baucau.
There are limited transport options, and limited produce, which makes it challenging for the members to access raw materials and markets. The group in Lamegua currently makes banana chips which are sold to HAFOTI, and have access to coconuts for making virgin coconut oil.The group in Buruma live on a main road with good access to public transport and passing traffic. They make coconut oil and banana chips which they sell from the house of one of their members and supply to HAFOTI.
Location: Maliana - Diriboga
There are two groups in Maliana, one close to the main township, and the other in Diriboga, near Cailaco which is about 15 minutes away by car or motor bike. The group in Diriboga make coconut oil and banana chips which are sold from a member's house. There is good passing traffic as they live beside a main road and many people know about the products being sold there. They also supply products to HAFOTI for sale in Dili.
The group close to the Maliana township make coconut oil, cassava chips, kiri kiri (fried snacks) and banana chips which they sell from a member's house, and supply to HAFOTI.
Location: Vatunao, Maubara Lisa, Vatovou
In Maubara there are a number of groups operating – some of which make food products and others that weave, or make coconut oil. The food products they make include tamarind sweets and banana chips. Products are sold to HAFOTI and at the local school as well as to the community who come to a member's house. In the village of Vatuno, near to Maubara, there is a new sub group who are learning to make banana chips and other products which they will sell at the local school and to HAFOTI.
The group in Same work from one member's house located on a main road near the centre of town. The group coordinator has a kiosk where products are sold, as well as supplying to HAFOTI. In the rainy season it can be difficult getting products to Dili as the roads are often impassable. This group specializes in making banana chips, cassava chips, kiri kiri and coconut oil. Members of the group also weave and do cross stitch.
The groups in Oecusse have been independent for some time and don't currently supply food products to HAFOTI. They have focused on making coconut oil which they sell locally. Some of the members make tais and a number of the groups members have accessed the Revolving Credit Fund in the past to start their own small businesses.
Transport between Oecusse and Dili involves an overnight ferry trip which limits the viability of bringing products to HAFOTI to sell. HAFOTI hopes to support the group in Oecusse through the sale of craft items in the HAFOTI Shop, as these are easier to transport and generally have a higher value.
Location: Loihuno, Luca Ua, Manuboe, Alasamata, Castelo
There three groups in Loihuno, Luca Ua, Manuboe, Alasamata, Castelo. Members of these groups make banana chips, cassava chips, coconut oil and marmalade. As well as supplying products to HAFOTI there is a guest house in Ossu Rua which buys some of the member products, and another member has a kiosk where sales are made.