Trust Consultancy & Development

Adam Smith International

Monash University

Friends of Suai


UNFPA has engaged Bridging Peoples to provide applied research on two separate occasions, to guide their programming and advocacy work with the Government of Timor-Leste. One was one the factors driving the incidence of teenage pregnancy and early marriage; the other on the factors driving the incidence of transactional sex in Timor-Leste.

Carrying out such sensitive research in a conservative, predominantly Catholic country required a strong methodology and ethics framework, protecting the physical and emotional safety of the research respondents. Given the sensitivity of the research and the vulnerability of research respondents, the research took a grounded theory approach and was designed to give respondents as much power over the process as possible, encouraging them to tell their own stories in their own way. Common themes and experiences were then analysed and further focused research was conducted to validate findings.

Both pieces of research are extremely important, and have made an important contribution to analysis and advocacy on the incidence of HIV/AIDS, public health, and young women’s empowerment.


UNFPA greatly appreciated the work of Bridging Peoples, which resulted in a quality piece of research with insightful findings and useful recommendations. Deborah and her team’s professionalism, deep understanding of the cultural context, strategic approach and strong analytical skills yielded a powerful result that will be useful for years to come.”

John M. Pile, Country Representative – Timor-Leste


Counterpart International engaged Bridging Peoples to provide strategic support for their Mai Munisipiu program, from its inception in 2014 until formal project closure in 2017. The central objective of the Mai Munisipiu program was to increase citizen engagement and access to justice by building more inclusive local governance institutions.

We provided a range of strategic consulting, research & analysis, and citizen engagement support. The work required an adaptable yet strategic approach as the Timor-Leste government introduced and debated multiple packages of decentralisation and village council laws, supporting the Mai Munisipiu team and government and civil society partners in responding to the changing legal context, while keeping program consistency through giving ongoing support to local leaders and communities. Key support activities included:

Undertook various targeted pieces of community-based research, to assist in program design.
Helped Mai Munisipiu design their capacity development program for village councils.
Led a team analysing draft legislation for village councils and decentralised government, and their implications for the program and partners.
Supported local partners, including local NGOs working with women, young people and people with disabilities, in understanding key legislation and engaging with Parliamentary consultations and elections.
Supported final reporting on the project to donors.


  • Policy Analysis: Suku Councils’ Role in Effective Local Governance: Review, Considerations and Recommendations ENGLISH
  • Research: New Voices: the Engagement of Young Timorese in the Political Process ENGLISH   TETUN

“We have contracted with Bridging Peoples on a number of different occasions to provide technical support to our project’s local governance activities. Deborah’s intimate understanding of the context in Timor-Leste combined with her excellent technical knowledge are a winning combination. She has been able to apply these to support us with strategic planning, legislative analysis from a community perspective and to facilitate participative workshops to successfully engage local partners to explore and define their own perspectives on how to achieve inclusive local governance.”

Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party, Mai Munisipiu Project