Paulina Quintao – The President of the Women's Association for Aileu Municipality, Cristina da Conceicao said it is difficult for women producers from Aileu to access markets to sell their products and earn money to sustain their families.
She said women in rural areas are creative and capable to developing new products but cannot access markets to sell them to continue developing their talent.
"Many women's groups make chips and other products but it difficult for them to access markets," she said by phone.
Another challenge rural women face every day is with access to potable water for their daily needs.
She said in 2015, the government pledged its commitment after signing the Maubisse Declaration with relevant Ministries to consider the basic needs of women including so they can access markets where they can sell their products, but that this dream did not become reality.
She hoped at the future Municipal Women's Conference they can discuss these issues and give recommendations based on the reality on the ground so the new government can add then into its annual plan and programs for each ministry.
On the other hand, the President of the Board Women's Network Timor-Leste (Rede Feto), Judit Dias Ximenes agrees that women in rural area are smart, creative and innovative, but unable to develop further because of lack of access to markets.
She added that that members of Rede Feto receive training on product development and some support in having access to the supermarkets in Dili. "We hope investors in the country can see their production," she said.
She noted that even though some things have been done by the government, much remains to be done and so at the upcoming V National Women's Congress they will make several recommendations for the new government to take into consideration.
In 2015, the government signed the Maubisse Declaration which deals also with the issue of women's economic empowerment.
The Maubisse Declaration was signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, The Secretariat of State for Women, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Environment, the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication, the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of State Administration, the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training Policy and Employment, including also by the National Commercial Bank of Timor-Leste.