Saturday, 30 October 2010

Will Obama Meet PDT in South Korea?

Tempo Semanal, Dili 30.10.2010  On 29 October 2010 the NGO Peace Dividend Trust won a world famous prize called the G20 SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Ashoka Changemakers award ( This prize will be presented to 10 organisations out of a total 500-600 applicants at the G20 Summit in South Korea in the coming weeks. In April 2010 founder of and billionaire Jeff Skoll awarded PDT the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (
The idea for Peace Dividend Trust was born in Timor-Leste during the UNTAET period. The founder of Peace Dividend Trust was an UNTAET staff member named Scott Gilmore, who along with his UNTAET colleague Edward Rees worked in Dili in the 2001 – 2002 period. According to Edward Rees now Senior Adviser to PDT globally “we were amazed that a $550 million/year UN mission could be so big and so well resourced but have such little tangible impact”. Furthermore, “the economic impact of the mission was so minimal it was a massive lost opportunity”. “We created PDT as a result of a desire to constructively make trouble and change the way the aid industry works – for the benefit of people on the ground – be they Afghans, Haitians, or Timorese”.

Former UNTAET staff and now Director PDT - Scott Gilmore
Some years later in 2005 Mr. Gilmore founded Peace Dividend Trust in Canada and conducted a Economic Impact of Peacekeeping Study which looked at how the international community could maximise their positive economic impact. The result was a pilot Peace Dividend Marketplace project in Afghanistan in 2006. This was then followed by the Marketplace project in Timor-Leste in 2007 which Mr. Rees quit his job at UN Headquarters in New York to start up. In 2009 another Marketplace project was started in Haiti. These projects help international organisations procure goods and services from the local private sector so as to inject international money into the economy as opposed to just bouncing back to the donor countries. According PDT it has facilitated over 550 million USD into local economies in the countries in which is works. With about $ 20 million dollars being injected into Timor. Yesterday PDT was awarded the G20 prize for a new idea that it has which is designed to provide short term credit to SME’s to help them grow and create jobs. If one looks at the idea it is clear that it is once again a new idea which is designed to provide services to local people and help them gain real independence - economic independence.
Tempo Semanal’s readers will no doubt have many opinions about how effective international organisation are or are not, but its likely that many readers will agree that PDT’s approach of using international money to promote and improve local business in a practical way, as opposed to the usual advisor method, is really very welcome.
According to information provided to Tempo Semanal from PDT, since 2007 PDT has put 2,800 businesses in Timor online via its Timor-Leste Business Portal found at Its Business Verification Team which builds and maintains this site consists of Lily Nunes, Simao Belo, Baptista da Silva and others including an Australian volunteer named Heidi Reid as well as an American volunteer named Scott Mccord. Its Tender Distributions Service lead by Eduardo da Costa has also distributed around 600 tenders for international organisations generating over 9 millions dollars in business transactions. It has conducted training for businesses on how to submit tenders to UNDP and others. Its Business Matchmaking Services run by Brigida Soares and Ilidio Ximenes have facilitated over 10,000 transactions mostly in rural areas for over 8 million USD in business. The current Country Director is Claire Parois from France, and Ilidio Ximenes is the Deputy. PDT is funded AusAID, eni, Norway, and the Arsenault Family Foundation from USA. This is being run in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI) of Timor Leste since 2008 under Minister Gil Alves.
In 2009 and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner President Jose Ramos-Horta commended the work of PDT as being one which was both unique and service oriented in a manner which Timorese view as having some real impact. The President of the Poor has expressed an interest in the economic conditions of SME’s many times.
“If PDT comes in the top of a public online opinion polling of the current 10 winners we will be invited to Korea for the G20 Summit and President Obama and the world leaders will present the prize in person”, said Mr. Rees. “You can go to or to our facebook to find out how to vote for us.” Said Mr. Rees.
So it was an idea born in Timor-Leste that is now being recognised internationally at the G20 Summit in South Korea in November 2010.
According to PDT Deputy Director Ilidio Ximenes, "As a Timorese I am proud that we have won this award, and it is a recognition at a global level that PDT is doing good work for Timorese and others at the local level - especially in the poor rural areas. I think it is in line with the Government program to eradicate poverty in the mountians of Timor through using local business to build the economy. If the public votes for us and we get the meet President Obama it will not only put PDT on the map, but it will highlight Timor-Leste as the birthplace of a new approach to international aid."
Help PDT and Timor-Leste meet Obama in South Korea by following these instructions here:
The three most popular South Korea November 11-12, 2010 with US President Obama and other world leaders present.
You can vote by clicking this link and clicking on the circular grey vote icon on the upper right corner of the page. You will be asked to register, before your vote is counted. All you need to do is create a username, enter your first/last name, and a valid email address to cast your vote (this is to ensure that everyone only votes once).

1 comment:

Tom Boone said...

Now that the G20 conference and SME competition are over -Let’s focus on a truly positive footnote to the G-20 summit – more than half a billion dollars committed to Changemaker’s SME competition winners.
The announcement of the winners of the SME competition this week brings just awesome news. The success here (in excess of one-half billion dollars earmarked to these innovative Ashoka) is the culmination of the work of literally hundreds if not thousands of individuals all who share a common positive vision of a tomorrow where everyone - absolutely everyone - is an empowered changemaker. One-half billion dollars seems like a huge sum but it is peanuts compared to what must be spent to really bring about the Ashoka Changemaker vision of empowerment and innovation for humanity tomorrow. One-half a billion however marks an astounding milestone and represents a gargantuan step forward. Huge congratulations to the winning SME Fellows! Huge congratulations to Ashoka Changemakers, whose unbounded and tireless efforts are not to be undervalued or underestimated, and many thanks to the leaders of GE20 and especially President Obama for acknowledging and applauding this enormous but starting step forward towards an “everyone a changemaker” world.
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