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NZ Fred Hollows in Timor-Leste

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ programme in Dili, Timor-Leste had grown rapidly and had achieved some critical milestones, particularly a national eye care strategy, planning for an eye care hospital, clinics, and a diploma course in optometry. As it grew though, it lost coherence and accountability, and its processes were not sufficiently rigorous.

What we did

Mandy Whyte strengthened management systems, prepared a coherent management plan, strengthened, brought in new expertise, and localised some management roles.

How we did it

As the incoming country manager, Mandy audited management and operations systems and made a number of improvements to legitimise, normalise, and simplify financial management, HR, and procurement processes. A staff handbook was developed to clarify expectations, processes and responsibilities. Staff was asked to orientate their way of working from doing what they felt was necessary to delivering only planned and approved outputs. Staff was trained in project planning and reporting, and as a result, the local staff were appointed, and mentored, into management positions. A communications function was added, and the programme made steps to harmonise with other actors in the eye health sector.


Funds were better and more transparently utilised. Fred was able to secure additional funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and report against planned outputs and outcomes. The budgets were contained, internal communications and staff morale improved, and the eyecare sector began aligning under the national strategy and the eye hospital. The Staff Handbook empowered staff and reduced the amount of time expended on dealing with staffing issues. The training enabled staff to be professional and accountable in the way they operated.

Australian DFAT/The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, Timor-Leste, 2010-2012

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