Social Inclusion

Leaving no-one behind

UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/ahelin


Tackling child poverty to ensure all children have equitable access to social protection and basic services.

Since restoration of independence, Timor-Leste has rebuilt systems and processes to make sound, informed decisions for the benefit of Timorese society. While progress has been made, significant challenges remain.  

Inconsistent data collection, a lack of training and academic knowledge, and inadequate data to support informed decision-making hinder efforts to coordinate, collect and effectively use data relating to children and young people, particularly the most marginalised and disengaged. 

The Government of Timor-Leste has made significant progress in establishing baseline data and setting up systems for ongoing data collection. Timor-Leste now has a National Census, household surveys for health and living standards, and data sources including education and health management information systems . However, progress in system development has been concentrated in urban areas, and municipal governments are unable to provide the in-depth analysis required for decision-making. The quality and timeliness of data collected also needs improvement. 

70 percent of Timor-Leste’s population lives in rural areas, but services are concentrated in urban centres. 


Why we need to make a change:

• Data for evidence-based decision-making is still lacking, despite recent improvements, and few formal mechanisms for protecting children exist.
• Almost half of Timor-Leste’s population is under the age of 18. 
• One in five young Timorese people aren’t employed or at school. 
• 29 percent of women aged 15 to 19 years have reported experiencing physical violence in the last 12 months.

UNICEF Timor-Leste/2018/bsoares


UNICEF supports the Government of Timor-Leste in strengthening its data and knowledge-generation activities to promote inclusive, evidence-based public policies and fair resource-allocation.

Relevant, timely and disaggregated data are helpful in decision-making in rural municipalities, where some of Timor-Leste’s most disadvantaged and disengaged children live. Strong monitoring systems can meet the needs of Timor-Leste’s rapidly evolving development environment and strengthen advocacy efforts that ensure all children have the best possible chance to engage meaningfully in all aspects of society. 

Strong social protection systems enable societies to respond to and prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Evidence and knowledge generation

UNICEF has supported the Government of Timor-Leste to implement a range of surveys, including the 2013 Regional Early Childhood Development Scale Survey, the first holistic study of children’s welfare in Timor-Leste. UNICEF also supports various government departments in strengthening existing sectoral data management systems, which remains a key priority. 

Situational analysis and advocacy

UNICEF supported the development of platforms improved the government’s ability to make evidence-based decisions by making data more widely and visibly available. 

In 2014, UNICEF supported the General Directorate of Statistics to conduct an analysis of children in Timor-Leste, which offers solid evidence to support the Timor-Leste National Strategic Development Plan. 

Since 2011, UNICEF and the Ministry of Finance have been working in partnership to strengthen cross-ministerial dialogue on social budgeting for children. In 2017, the scope was further expanded to support monitoring and evaluation conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office and Unit of Planning in partnership with UN Women, to advance gender and child rights-sensitive budgeting and advocacy. 

Child rights advocacy

UNICEF works with policy makers, civil society members and the general public, using media platforms to raise awareness and encourage informed decision-making on issues related to child development, protection and care.  

UNICEF supported the development and official launch of a National Action Plan for Children in Timor-Leste (2016-2020) based on the Concluding Observations  from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. This is the country’s first cross-sectoral action plan for children. 

Adolescent participation and development

UNICEF contributes to creating an enabling environment to realise children’s rights in Timor-Leste through advocacy and generating evidence-based knowledge.

In partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste we are using media platforms to raise awareness and encourage informed decision-making on issues related to child development, protection and care.

@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2016/dmonemnasi