During the Spring 2020 semester, the Capstone team analyzed the design and implementation of disaster preparedness and response (DPR) activities at the national, district, and suco (village) levels in Timor-Leste for the US Department of Defense. The team employed a mixed-methods approach, including desk research, remote interviews and targeted surveys, to identify opportunities for enhanced DPR training and coordination amongst supporting stakeholders. 

Across 28 interviews and survey responses, the team mapped 65 unique DPR trainings in Timor-Leste and 29 training-related needs, 82% of which were either not addressed or partially addressed by existing training. This analysis exposed niche training gaps. Responses also revealed inefficiencies within coordination between relevant actors, including: duplication of effort, confusion on governmental policies, and insufficient civil-military coordination.  Based on the their research, the Capstone provided the following training recommendations:  

  • Standardize training processes at each level of governance, establishing a national “Training and Capability” Framework that defines training priorities;  

  • Build on identified training gaps across mission areas, particularly addressing leadership training in Prevention, Early Warning Systems in Mitigation, and harmonized assessment and evaluation in Response and Recovery.  

Their coordination recommendations include:  

  • Conduct a thorough initial needs assessment, train on data collection and management, pre-determine the operational system before disaster, and leverage existing frameworks to avoid duplication of effort; 

  • Clarify government policies and protocols and promote greater coordination; 

  • Establish a military liaison in the Secretariat and conduct civil-military DPR exercises to enhance coordination. 

These recommendations will better equip DPR practitioners across agencies with the training and coordination mechanisms to best respond to the risks and hazards unique to Timor-Leste.