Educating, Inspiring and Creating Change through the arts

Programa DAME: Drama, Artes, Media no Edukasaun / DAME Program: Drama, Arts, Media and Education.

Entertainment Education is at the core of Ba Futuru’s innovative theater, radio and film programming. Ba Futuru’s media team consists of highly skilled and experienced actors, writers, film producers and facilitators, who use creative mediums to educate communities, create positive behavior change and shift cultural paradigms on a range of social issues.
The Ba Futuru media program offers the following services: 
  • Production of high quality community theatre on specific issues such as peace building, women’s empowerment, conflict resolution, positive discipline, healthy living, nutrition, legal issues, sustainability and democratic processes.
  • Performance of community theatre across all municipalities of Timor-Leste.
  • Drama education with children, high school students and at-risk young people, utilizing theatre styles relevant to post conflict context.
  • Facilitation of creative expression programs, including collaboration with Ba Futuru’s expert visual arts, photography, music and multimedia facilitators.
  • Production of culminating showcases with young people, promoting peace in communities and displaying skills gained by participants.
  • Facilitation of conflict resolution and communication workshops through theatre.
  • Script writing for community theatre, film or radio.
  • Production of short films for community education, for a range of target audiences.
  • Experienced and highly skilled actors, available for film, radio and live performance.
  • Design of monitoring and evaluation frameworks, including pre-performance and post-performance audience engagement methods, to assist in measuring success.
The Ba Futuru team consists not only film makers and professional theatre makers, but also trained conflict resolution facilitators who utilize drama as a tool for conflict prevention.

Current and past projects

Ba Futuru’s Entertainment Education film series Domin Nakloke (Unlocking Love) explores important social issues and raises community awareness on issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual reproductive health and healthy relationships between young people! Check out the impact of the first three episodes.
Feto Fantastiku Film Series (2013 – 2017)
Ba Futuru first brought Feto Fantastiku ba Dame to life in 2013. Timor-Leste’s first super-hero, Feto Fantastiku is a role model in the community, with her mission to spread peace and help Timorese individuals, families and communities learn strategies for peaceful and non-violent conflict resolution.
Feto Fantastiku and her sidekick Mane Manetek, have helped prevent youth conflict, child abuse, a community dispute over water and gender based violence. This dynamic film series has impacted upon tens of thousands of people across all 13 districts of Timor-Leste, inspiring them to create peace in their communities.
Check out the films and read more about the Feto Fantastiku Film Series.

Women’s Right to Vote
In 2011, the Ba Futuru Drama Team and UN Women created an advocacy theatre project to help encourage women to vote in the upcoming 2012 elections. Voting Day targeted women at the community level, and was performed in local markets and at community meetings on civic education. It aimed at raising awareness and promoting the importance of women’s participation in the elections, discussing cultural challenges facing women in Timor-Leste today and the importance of women’s participation in politics.
Between September 2011 and May 2012, Ba Futuru performed a total of ten performances of the play Voting Day throughout the districts of Suai, Dili, Baucau, Ermera, Liquisa, Aleiu, Manututu, and Ainaro. In the lead up to the parliamentary elections in June 2012 a radio play was created based on the theatre script to reach larger audiences, as well as a professional film of the play, with DVDs distributed to all 13 districts of Timor-Leste.

Women’s Participation in Local Politics
The Ba Futuru Drama Team, with the support of Paz y Desarrollo, first developed this theatre piece promoting the role of women in politics at the suco level in 2012. The play follows the story of Mira, an intelligent and independent young woman who wants to participate in the decision-making processes in her community but faces obstacles due to her gender. The play portrays positive female role models and demonstrates the benefits that arise when men and women work together to make decisions in the community.

Family Nutrition
In 2012 the Ba Futuru Drama Team was supported by the Rural Development Programme Phase III (RDP3) to perform a series of plays at a Pilot Nutrition Campaign in Caicassa, a rural area in Timor-Leste with high levels of malnutrition. Ba Futuru developed two plays highlighting the importance of good nutrition for Timorese families, encouraging people to eat five different colours every day. These plays were performed at the opening and closing ceremony of the Nutrition Campaign, and were received positively by the hundreds of audience members who saw the performances.

Positive Discipline
In 2012 a performance aimed at promoting peaceful education in schools was developed with support from Justice Facility. Targeted at teachers and students, the play demonstrated positive discipline techniques and was performed at two schools in Los Palos and two schools in Dili.

The Prevention of Violence Against Women 
The Ba Futuru Drama Team in partnership with Paz y Desarrolo developed and performed a theatre piece to assist in disseminating the Law Against Domestic Violence. The play depicts the benefits of positive relationships in the family, and provides concrete strategies that people could use to prevent themselves from using violence.
The theatre piece was performed in 2012 as part of the Regional Program on Economic and Social Empowerment with a Gender Perspective in Cambodia, East Timor and Vietnam in Daudere (Lautem), Builale (Viqueque), and Makadiki (Viqueque). The script was revised in 2013, and travelled again to Viqueque, Lautem, Dili and Baucau districts. Performed in marketplaces, village meeting halls and post-secondary schools, it reached approximately 4,330 men, women and children. The play was also adapted for use on the radio in order to further prevent violence against women by disseminating the information more widely.

Preventing Gender-Based Violence
In 2014 the Ba Futuru Drama Team developed a performance focusing on the Law Against Domestic Violence, as part of the Dalan ba Justica (Pathway to Justice) project, supported by the United Nations Development Program. The play focused on the intricacies of the law, including suspended sentences and advice for victims needing to access assistance for protection cases. The play was performed ten times, in Ainaro Manufahi and Bobonaro districts.

Drama classes (2010 – 2014)
Ba Futuru’s Drama Team has been facilitating drama classes for children and young people since 2010, through a range of activities. Classes were first conducted as part of the Ba Futuru After School Care Program, with children aged 6 to 12 years old, and were aimed at building confidence and exploring creativity. Classes have since been extended to the Ba Futuru’s pre-school, working with children 3 to 5 years old to learn drama games, songs and take part in other play-based learning activities.

Promotion of Solar Energy Film (2013)
As part of Mercy Corps’ three-year programme funded by the European Commission, addressing the issue of energy poverty in Timor-Leste, Ba Futuru created a TV drama showing the benefits of solar technologies. The Ba Futuru Drama Team worked with Mercy Corps to develop a script and produce the made-for-TV drama. Filmed in 2013, the film demonstrated the benefits of solar lights to families in rural areas and was shown across Timor-Leste as part of Mercy Corps’ programming.

Community Peace Showcases – Working with At Risk Youth (2012)
As part of Ba Futuru’s Peace Promotion Project, the Ba Futuru Drama Team worked with a group of 40 at-risk youth, to develop a drama performance exploring hard-hitting issues relevant to youth in Timor. Young people attended five-month intensive training courses at Ba Futuru, building capacity in the areas of media, art, drama, public speaking, English, human rights and conflict resolution, aimed at equipping them with skills to create positive futures.
Facilitated drama classes aided in the psychosocial development of the young people, using drama to process negative experiences and learn new skills to engage positively in their communities as positive-role models. The students worked to develop a performance piece exploring issues close to their heart, such as domestic violence, child abuse, women’s empowerment, gang violence and election-related violence. The result was an emotionally charged performance incorporating dance, mime, drama, music and monologue, which was performed in 20 high-risk communities throughout Dili.

Theatre of the Oppressed (2011)
The Ba Futuru Drama Team worked with Austrian volunteer Julia Sharinger in an intensive set of workshops on Theatre of the Oppressed. A variety of techniques and theories in relation to forum theatre were explored, which culminated in a performance for the local community at the Ba Futuru Peace Centre. The Drama Team now utilizes this knowledge to facilitate workshops for students and other theatre-makers on Theatre of the Oppressed.

Film re-enactments (2011)
The Drama Team and other youth involved in Ba Futuru’s drama projects created a professional re-enactment for a film made about positive discipline in the classroom. Those involved undertook workshops to help develop their skills in acting for the screen, and played the parts of the main characters in a set of re-enactments for the Positive Discipline DVD, which was distributed to classrooms across Timor-Leste.

Scared Cool Production (2010)
Scared Cool, directed by Australian actor Kallista Kaval, was a devised physical theatre piece exploring issues faced by young people in Dili. A culmination of three months work with a cast of ten conflict-affected youth, Scared Cool’s themes were developed through movement, music and metaphor, and the result was a funny, touching and sometimes frenetic image based theatre performance. Scared Cool was first performed at Fundação Oriente for an international audience, where it received a standing ovation. It was also performed for Timorese audiences in local communities in Dili.

Professional Development – Training, Workshops and Seminars
Ba Futuru Drama Team members have facilitated workshops including:
  • Theatre workshops in collaboration with NGO Many Hands International in 2011, on the topics of ‘Engaging Communities Through Theatre’ and ‘Making Community Theatre in Timor-Leste’.
  • Workshops on Theatre of the Oppressed, as part of Arte Publiku Festival in 2014.
  • Movement workshops in partnership with Kinetic Dance and TERTIL, culminating in the Dancing Together community concert in Dili in early 2015.

Members of the Ba Futuru Drama Team have undertaken professional development opportunities that include:
  • Participation in the Makhampon Living Theatre Forum in Thailand in September and October 2011, and contribution to a resulting project that created a DVD of folktales from across Asia.
  • Participation in weekly classes throughout 2011, under the guidance of Australian volunteer Emma Dawson. The Drama Team studied a range of theatre techniques, developing both their acting and playwriting skills.
  • Participation in a weeklong Forum Theatre workshop in Timor-Leste in 2012, facilitated by theatre expert Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn.
  • Participation in ‘Masak-Masak’ (Let’s Play), a theatre and education conference held in Singapore in May 2013. The Ba Futuru delegates presented on using theatre to promote human rights and development issues in Timorese communities and held interactive workshops sharing the techniques used at Ba Futuru.
  • Collaboration with theatre makers and actors from across Timor-Leste to devise, rehearse and perform a pantomime performance for Arte Publiku Festival 2014.
  • Working to develop the Drama Program with Australian volunteer Claire Millar throughout 2014 and 2015, building capacity in areas of project management, fundraising and the production of high quality theatre and film, to expand the Drama Program and ensure its sustainability.

Similar Projects

Creating a Pathway to Ending Domestic and Gender-Based Violence

Dalan ba Justisa/Pathway to Justice Program


Changing the Lives of Vulnerable Children

Inisiativa Dezenvolvimentu Ba Labarik / The Early Childhood Development Initiative


Creating Quality Learning Environments for Young People


Most children in Timor-Leste do not have access quality non-violent education which hinders their social and economic advancement. With your support Ba Futuru, a local NGO, can bring quality education to many more young people.


Ba Futuru has been carrying out transformative work with teachers and school management committees. This work has turned many high need schools into quality learning environments. Our aim is to create happy, supportive, and safe school environments so that the young people would be able to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to create positive futures for themselves and their communities.

We encourage new styles of teaching rather than traditional rote models, enhanced in-school relationships, improved infrastructure, created better learning environments and reduced violence. Our work encourages teachers to stop using violent discipline and to replace this with positive classroom management strategies.

After Ba Futuru worked with their schools for 9 months, the students reported that their teachers made a good progress in their teaching methods. “Before hand, the majority of the teachers asked students to write or copy from the board without any explanation. But now they changed their teaching methods. They are using participatory methods such as asking comprehension questions, using group work, doing energizer activities, using games and explaining about the subject matter.”

A student representative from the School Management Committee of one target school reported: “From my point of view, the teachers have changed after they attended the training from Ba Futuru. Compared to previously when students were being punished, even bitten when they make a mistake in class or come to the school late. Some teachers just asked us to copy from the board without providing any clear explanations. Those that practice the new methods provide us with good explanations and it makes it easier to understand. And sometimes when we are getting bored, the teachers utilize games. I have also noticed that there is less physical punishment. I propose that Ba Futuru continue with the training of our teachers so they can improve their teaching methods.”

Long-Term Impact

Sustainability of outcomes has been enhanced through Ba Futuru’s the teacher training toolkit and the fact that the Ministry of Education, as well as target school administrators, teachers and teacher trainers can utilize the toolkit into the future. Films on each training module have been created so they can be shared widely with teachers that do not have access to in-person training.

  • 10,000s of students are benefiting from Ba Futuru various educational programs that have trained 1,000s of teachers, from early childhood to University level
  • 100s of children have received scholarships helping them gain the items they need for going to school

Help transform the learning environments of the young people of Timor-Leste


Read a report on our work!


Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Inisiativa Konsolidasaun Dame no Demokrasia / Consolidating Peace and Democracy Initiative