Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Friends and Partners with Australia [FPA] in collaboration with the local parish in Atabae, Timor Leste was established to manage their relationships with Australian groups such as Palms Australia and the former Friends & Partners with East Timor [FPET].  FPA has requested an Agriculturalist/Livestock Mentor to assist local farmers and ranchers build skills in animal health/care and increasing livestock numbers for domestic and business purposes. This position will build on the work done by previous Palms participant Malcom Gaydon.

The Location

Atabae is a rural coastal subdistrict (population of 10,963) within the Bobonaro district of Timor-Leste, close to the border with West Timor (Indonesia).   The capital of Bobonaro District is Maliana, approximately 75kms [2 hours, 10 mins].  The distance between Atabae and Dili is 110kms [2 hrs, 39mins].

The Atabae community has over the years developed and maintained a very fruitful partnership with Palms Australia.  Palms has previously had program participants working in agriculture, education, community development and health.

The Challenge

Agriculture, in all its multiple dimensions, is crucial to the country’s development. It is a key component of the Timor-Leste Economic Recovery Plan.  Two-thirds of working age Timorese work in agriculture.  Fifteen percent of Timorese are subsistent farmers.

The impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of high food production, to meet the population’s basic needs and to ensure that there is sufficient and affordable food available in country.

About You

The successful candidate will have:

  • Qualifications or experience in agriculture and livestock care.
  • Ability to transfer knowledge/skills and confidence that builds a positive work environment
  • Personal attributes that will be vital include flexibility, patience and a sense of humour
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Ability to live and work in a rural coastal community, with simple accommodation and foods.
  • A willingness to engage your Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • Building knowledge and skills in livestock management that will help to grow numbers and production in a sustainable manner
  • Supporting the priorities of the National Economic Recovery Plan
  • Providing support and reporting to FPA to ensure that their links with the farming community are maintained and extended.


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.