About Deb Cummins

Dr Deborah Cummins is the founder and director of Bridging Peoples. She is the author of "Local Governance in Timor-Leste: Lessons in Postcolonial Statebuilding", published by Routledge. She has worked as a researcher and trainer on local governance issues in Timor-Leste, and lecturer at the National University of Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste), the University of Newcastle (Australia) and the University of New South Wales (Australia). She also worked for a number of years for Reconciliation Australia, an NGO promoting Indigenous reconciliation in Australia. She has published widely on various issues of local-level governance in Timor-Leste, including the interaction of customary and state-based governance, democratisation, women's leadership and community development.

February 2018


By |February 11th, 2018|

‘Sustainability’ is a fraught term in our field of work. In the development sector we say we’re working towards it, it is scattered throughout project proposals, funding agreements and logframes. But it’s a brave soul who will truly promise that his or her work will result in […]

January 2018

Working With Communities E-Course

By |January 29th, 2018|

Our popular Working With Communities e-course is now open for enrolment! The Working With Communities eCourse is a ten-week online program, designed to help development professionals improve their ability to work effectively and sustainably at the community level.

This course is specifically designed for practical use, going beyond theory to teach you techniques and […]

September 2017

Why What You’re Doing is Probably Not Behaviour Change…

By |September 25th, 2017|

Behaviour change is a popular topic in international aid and development, and is a topic that gets the geek in me endlessly fascinated. Behaviour change work (done well) encompasses so many aspects of our work: institutional theory, communications, community engagement, systems theory, governance, and so much more. For those of us working to change particular […]

July 2017

The art of Listening Before Telling: Wendy Quarry and Ricardo Ramirez on Communication for Development

By |July 25th, 2017|

“Like many of you, we have the experience of reading glowing reports about projects that did not reflect the reality as we knew it. Who did they think they were kidding?”

Communication for Another Development: Listening Before Telling

When it comes to communications in the aid and development […]

October 2016

Community Engagement course in Dili (Tetun)

By |October 31st, 2016|

The Bridging Peoples 3-Day Community Engagement Course (Tetun) takes participants through the basics of community engagement, drawing on best practice principles as well as practical experience from around the world on what it takes to engage effectively with communities.

In this three-day course, participants will be taught practical strategies that will improve their work with communities […]

September 2016

Livelihood Aid in Syrian Communities

By |September 3rd, 2016|

Local market in Maubisse

I’ve been on a steep learning curve recently, trying to get my head around the literature on economic recovery for communities affected by conflict.

It sounds quite different to what Bridging Peoples normally does, but it’s not really. We recently won a grant together with […]

February 2016

Local Voices (No 1.)

By |February 1st, 2016|

Last weekend, my colleague and myself had our first meeting with members of our new network of community-based organisations (CBOs) and local NGOs in Timor-Leste.

Our motivation behind forming this network is two-fold. First, it is our way of giving back, offering our training and expertise to organisations that really need it, but that otherwise would not […]

January 2016

Reflections on a Community-Based Training Project

By |January 26th, 2016|

For the past few months, my colleague Elio and I have had the great pleasure of working together with the Centre of Studies for Peace and Development (CEPAD) in Timor-Leste, to develop their training manual teaching community members across the country about corruption, collusion and nepotism—what it is, and what they can do about it. […]