Crowdfunding for Timor

I still work in the “development” business. I confess my sins elsewhere, i.e. Twitter.

But I will say, I have been searching for alternatives to help people support people in other places that does not involve big international organizations with operations and ‘footprints’. So I have been reading a lot about crowdfunding.

The idea of creating an online, global “kitty” is nothing new. Kiva has been around for years, but has recently undergone much scrutiny. It is hard to get these systems right, so that they are fair to recipients and donors.

That said, I wanted to draw attention to two crowdfunding experiments in relation to Timor. This is not a full moralistic endorsement of either, this is more like a plea to “give it a shot because everything else is annoying me right now”.

One is Kopernik, where you can help fund appropriate technology in Oecusse and Ataúro, which means light and sanitation for people who live without. Kopernik works through local NGOs, who do not give the technology away – thereby destroying already existing markets, but instead they come up with affordable pricing schemes. Read more about their unique model here.

The second is fundraising for a project which aims to produce East Timor’s first feature film. Involving Timorese writers, actors famous from Bibi Bulak, the story of “A Guerra da Beatriz” or “Beatriz’s War” is based a true French love story from the 16C, but adapted to East Timor. An ambitious project, no doubt. It will be co-directed by Bety Reis, who directed this charming little short

Asu from Dili Film Works on Vimeo.

They currently have 15 days to raise over $42,000 – no small task.

Whether or not these crowdfunding campaigns will be successful, we can learn a lot from them.


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