The role and sustainability of East Timorese NGOs : 'How long can they last?" : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Policy at Massey University
Since its independence from the Portuguese and Indonesia, East Timor has had political and humanitarian support from various international organisations, gradually leading to the formation of East Timorese Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). This thesis argues that "East Timorese NGOs' roles for a full engagement in the development process of East Timor are unsustainable." The reason is that they lack the financial foundation to attract substantial support from international donor-organisations. In addition, they have grown competitive amongst themselves. Therefore, dependency undermined sustainability. Sustainability espouses the idea that in the long term, income or welfare can be maintained only if the capital-stock from which it is drawn (financial sources from which the East Timorese NGOs had drawn) does not decline. Independent from government, an NGO works with and within the community towards common goals. Development is therefore a progression of positive changes quantitatively and qualitatively, whereas dependency comes from an unequal international relationship between two sets of countries: the metropolitan core and the periphery. East Timorese NGOs are dependent in two ways: financial and human resources dependency. While East Timor NGOs had played colossal roles during their existence, they had also relied heavily on donors' support. This study is supported by reasoned evidence in the form of information and data obtained through descriptive qualitative research methodology (including the systems theory approach), encompassing the following methods: in-depth and email interviews, and participant observation.