Request for Proposals for 
Research Study on Proliferation of Security Providers and Assisters in the context of Community Policing in Timor-Leste


Title                             : Consultant
Duration                     : 35-45 working days
Location                     : The Asia Foundation, Timor-Leste
Reports to                  : Director, Safety and Security Programs
Expected start date   : January 15, 2015


The Asia Foundation (the Foundation) is currently implementing a four-year community policing program called HAKOHAK, funded by the United States International Development Agency (USAID) and the New Zealand Aid Programme. 

The HAKOHAK Program has four objectives:

1. Strengthen the technical capacity of the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL), civil society, and community leaders to implement effective community oriented policing (COP) practices.
2. Build community police partnerships to reduce high-risk threats to security
3. Increase the capacity of the PNTL to more effectively prevent and respond to  high priority security concerns, particularly the security needs of women and girls in Timor-Leste
4. Promote COP as a practical approach to policing within teh PNTL, district administration and local communities 

One of the most visible manifestations of the HAKOHAK program is its support to the establishment and running of Community Policing Councils (CPCs) in eleven districts in Timor-Leste.

The HAKOHAK program works closely with the New Zealand Police implemented Timor-Leste Community Policing Programme (TLCPP) funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme. As part of a joint evaluation carried out in 2014 it was agreed that both HAKOHAK and TLCPP would develop a joint program design to be implemented from January 2016. In order to prepare for the design process three areas of joint applied research was recommended by the Evaluators. 
These research pieces are:
1. Assess the cost of rolling out the Ofisial Polisu Suku (OPS) initiative;
2. CPC Evaluation including assessing and costing the alternatives of a) maintaining and/or expanding CPCs b) merging CPCs with suku councils; and
3. Mapping the profusion of security providers and assisters in Timor-Leste.

The Asia Foundation has agreed to manage the research process for all three pieces of research. However this is core business for both programs and will require partnership with TLCPP, PNTL and the Secretary of State for Security (SoSS) to be successful. 

The way that policing in general, and community policing in particular, has evolved in Timor-Leste is unique. It has been influenced by historical legacies of occupation and resistance, unprecedented international involvement in state formation, brief but intense periods of crisis and instability after independence, the realities of Timor-Leste’s geography, limited and variable penetration of formal justice mechanisms, and an ongoing culture of village level dispute resolutions and customary justice. The way that a variety of state and non-state institutions and actors work together on security and justice in Timor-Leste is fluid in nature, and often determined as much by the office holder as the office.

Although community policing struggled for a long time to gain traction in Timor-Leste at both a policy and operational level, this has now changed. There is increasing support for, and consensus on, community policing in the higher echelons of the PNTL, the GoTL and the office of the President. This is manifest in the ambitious (but uncosted) commitment to place a police officer in every suco through the OPS, and in official support for community policing councils and other community policing structures. Additionally, the ‘practice’ of community policing in Timor-Leste is evolving rapidly since the departure of UNPOL in 2012. 

Apart from Community Policing Councils in eleven districts it is known that a number of other “community policing” structures are emerging that are hybrids of indigenous and international models. For example, in Ermera, Covalima and Liquica kablehan are being appointed by suco leaders and trained by the PNTL, and are empowered to issue fines for small contraventions of district widetarabandu; and in Liquica and Viqueque there is the presence of Siguransia Voluntariu Suku (SVS). The character of these organisations differs from district to district – for example in Liquica the SVS was initiated by the District Commander to counter instabilities that arose from youth involvement in martial arts groups (MAGS). The Liquica SVS incorporates youth and veterans of the resistance; and individuals from MAGS, women’s groups and the suco council. The SVS works together with PNTL to improve responsiveness to domestic violence, monitored potential election instability in 2012; and acts as a channel to PNTL, and helps to prevent and resolve criminal activity and traffic issues in more remote areas.

Approach to the study
The Proliferation of Security Providers Researcher will be responsible for carrying out research on the history, emergence and role of hybrid security providers and assisters such as kablehan, andSiguransia Voluntariu Suku (SVS) and others to be identified; and conducting an analysis of how these bodies interact with other security providers including the PNTL, the Community Policing Councils, suco councils and other authorities. The differences in how this occurs in different places should be detailed. Other structures apart from kablehan and SVS, including groups organized by NGOs, District Administration, Ministry of Social Solidarity, Department of Community Conflict Prevention, the conflict prevention network, Civil Security under the SoSS and other groups should also be identified and included in the research and mapping. A determination of national level PNTL support for district initiatives such as kablehan, SVS and other similar structures should also be made.

It is anticipated that the researcher will carry out a national higher level scan of key security providers and assisters who work together with any of PNTL, suco councils or Community Policing Councils in order to answer Question 1 below. 

This will be followed by a more in depth examination of the function of these structures and their interactions in four or more districts in order to answer Questions 2 and 3. The four provisional districts are Liquica, Ermera, Covalima and Viqueque. In the event that other structures are identified it may be possible to include further districts upon the agreement of the Director Safety and Security Programs, TAF. Finally, recommendations should be provided to TLCPP and TAF for future programming options in partnership with PNTL and the SoSS that strengthen the application of community policing in Timor-Leste through identified actors, and addresses identified risks. This research will contribute to a synthesis of the three above mentioned pieces of research, which in turn will inform the design of new community policing programming by TLCPP and HAKOHAK from 2016.


Key Questions
1. What/who are the key security providers and assisters in the thirteen districts of Timor-Leste who work together with any PNTL, suco councils or Community Policing Councils (or independently)?

·         What is the membership, including gender, of these structures?
·         What is the origin of the structures?
·         What is the mandate of the structures?
·         How are the structures managed?
·         How operational are these stuctures?

2. Do any of the security providers work in ways that strengthens the application of community policing principles in that district? 
·         What types of crimes and security issues are being addressed? What are the key features of how this occurs?
·         Are these structures contributing to effective identification, resolution and prevention of security issues and crimes?
·         Do these structures contribute to increased responsiveness of the PNTL, including the OPS?
·         Are women and young people included in the membership of, and active in the substantive work of, the structure?
·         Are there opportunities to further strengthen the way that these security providers work on their own, or together with PNTL, suco councils or Community Policing Councils?
·         Is it possible to draw out salient features of ‘good practice’ in the way the security providers work that could be trialled in other locations?

3. Are there any weaknesses or risks associated with the way that these security providers work? 
·         In what ways, if any, have the security providers been resourced or trained? Is this adequate? How could it be improved?
·         Are there any accounts of these structures contributing to insecurity or violence, rather than security and peace?
·         Is there any disquiet about the role of these structures expressed by members of PNTL, suco councils or Community Policing Councils or others?
·         Is domestic violence and sexual abuse dealt with in accordance with the Law Against Domestic Violence?
·         Are there any risks such as discriminatory behaviour, non-representative access to police, or potential to undermine formal justice systems or human rights principles?
·         Is there any overlap or role ambiguity with other security providers that needs to be addressed?
·         Are these security providers focussed on the right issues considering their respective strengths and weaknesses?

4. Is there national level support from the PNTL Executive and the SoSS for these forms of security provision?



The researcher should use a mixed methods approach that includes document review and analysis and fieldwork consultations. It is anticipated that available documentation will provide background on community policing and programming in Timor-Leste but is unlikely to provide substantive specific information on the contemporary proliferation of security providers. The fieldwork component itself should use a variety of methods in order to verify, double-check and triangulate information. These methods should include Key Informant Interviews (KII) and an appropriate mix of participant observation and focus group discussions to be determined by the researcher in conjunction with The Asia Foundation.

Key stakeholders that should be consulted will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

·         Staff of TLCPP and HAKOHAK;

·         PNTL, in particular from the Executive, the Community Policing Unit, District Commanders and members of the OPS;

·         Office of the Secretary of State for Security (SoSS);

·         District Administrators;

·         Xefe Suco and Xefe Aldeia;

·         Customary authorities;

·         Members of CPCs in the sucos;

·         Members of other security providers including kablehan and Siguransia Voluntariu Suku; and

·         NGOS working in the relevant districts, particularly in areas related to conflict prevention and resolution



All applicants will require the following competencies:

·         Writing and editing in English at an advanced level;

·         Advanced/Fluent speaker in Tetum or Bahasa;

·         Detailed understanding of Timor-Leste- its social, political, conflict and economic history, dynamics, and current status;

·         Demonstrated knowledge of security actors in Timor-Leste;

·         Experience conducting results monitoring for development programs, and/or social science research on related topics;

·         Ability to produce high quality reporting outputs on a tight deadline; 

·         Ability to conduct focus group discussions across the country;

·         Ability to coordinate research deliverables from local researchers Education
·         Master’s degree or higher

The total time allocated to the research process is up to 45 days. It is likely these will be non-consecutive days. It is anticipated this will comprise up to 5 days document review and production of a short research plan and schedule, 20 days field research, and up to 20 days for producing a draft and final version of the report. During the document review and the first few days of Dili-based field research the known existence of other security providers should be determined. Research districts should at a minimum include Liquica, Ermera, Covalima and Viqueque but a case can be made to cover other districts within the allocated time frame. This will need to be agreed with the Director, Safety and Security Programs, TAF.


1. Research Plan and Indicative Schedule

2. Revised Schedule (if required)

3. Map of Security Providers and Assisters

4. Draft Report

5. Final Report

For Interested applications, please email your applications with up-to date CV, and proposed research methodology including timeline and Financial Proposal to Dian Wahyu Saputri, with SECURITY PROVIDERS in the Subject line before or on the 5th January 2015 at 5PM. 

Reference documents

Wassel, T. 2014. Institutionalising community policing in Timor-Leste: Police development in Asia’s youngest country, ODI and The Asia Foundation

Belo, N. de Sousa C. and Gobie Rajalingam. 2014. Local leadership of community policing practices