Posted by: rlearmonth | February 1, 2008

Getting started

Recruiting staff is one of the challenges to getting a technical project off the ground. To be sure, there are many talented, smart Timorese, who want to work on the kind of development project of the importance of this one. A significant challenge is that there are not many Timorese with good educational backgrounds. This is in part, a large part, due to the Indonesian occupation and the long struggle against Indonesian rule. Educated Timorese often are recent graduates, since the occupation ended in 1999, and Timor-Leste became independent in 2002.

The position I am recruiting for is Task Manager for the conflict resolution and dispute mediation activities associated with the project. This is a critical function, and may well determine success or failure of many land claims initiatives.

I have seen resumes of a couple of candidates that I will interview. An additional complication in this process is due to the prominence of the UN agencies, and other donors, who are also recruiting staff. Typically, these entities have deep pockets, and are not unwilling to outbid those of us on rather more modest budgets.

The major areas where we can compete for staff is the length of the project, five years, and the bureaucratic opportunities that might open up for a person who develops skills in property rights and land tenure issues. This project is associated with the Ministry of Justice. It has extremely high visibility, and could launch a successful career for the enterprising incumbent.

My main concern is time; I am only here working on this project for one year. It is very important that I find a Timorese to work with over the year, so that he or she can take over management of this important task.

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