In the relatively new nation of Timor-Leste, government efforts to promote open information and local participation are crucial to fostering social cohesion and democratic governance. As such, the country’s 2010 national census represented more than just an exercise in collecting national statistics: it provided the nation with a vital resource for good governance.
With these objectives in mind, the government of Timor-Leste has embarked upon an ambitious plan to take advantage of the recent census by sharing the key results with community leaders at every village in the country. To help organize and generate the needed reports for such a large-scale undertaking, the government opted to rely on CensusInfo database technology to meet its extraordinary data dissemination requirements.
Census implementation is always a highly complicated process. In Timor-Leste for example, census data collection was handled by more than 4,000 staff members walking from household to household across the country. Government officials realized that they would soon require advanced technology to help organize, interpret, and display this data, in order for it to be of maximum benefit to the general population.
In 2010, representatives from Timor-Leste’s National Statistics Directorate (NSD ) and UNICEF Timor-Leste first learned about CensusInfo while attending the Asia-Pacific regional launch of DevInfo 6.0 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Impressed by what they saw, and sensing that this could be a timely solution for its census data dissemination needs, the NSD quickly put CensusInfo implementation into its workplan.
With strong support from UNICEF Timor-Leste, the NSD was able to develop a beta version of Timor-Leste CensusInfo containing basic population indicators from the 2010 census. Soon thereafter, the database was updated with indicators at the Socu (village) level.
Sensus Fo Fila Fali: Giving back the census
In an ambitious effort to share the key results of the 2010 census with community leaders in every village of the country, the government’s Ministry of Finance decided to launch a new project :Sensus Fo Fila Fali, which means “Giving Back the Census.” The project marks an historic effort to thank and include the citizens who made the census a success, as well as to engage them in the national development process through building capacity in the use of local socio-economic data.
Launched officially on 4 November 2011, the Sensus Fo Fila Fali project involves traveling to each of the country’s 442 Sucos (villages) to present a customized 24-page report displaying key demographic and socio-economic information for that particular suco. Funding for this project was provided by the Government of Timor-Leste, UNFPA, and UNICEF.
At every level of programme implementation, the Sensus Fo Fila Fali project has relied on an inclusive, participatory approach to undergird the wider goal of data dissemination. Seventy community consultations were held across the country in villages and towns, to help prepare local citizenry before the launch of project.
Through the Sensus Fo Fila Fali project, Timor-Leste serves as a global model of innovation in the use of data for development decision-making at the local level, through a combination of visionary government leadership, supportive international partners, and the effective use of database technology.
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Min Yuan, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF Timor-Leste, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joao Da Costa, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste, at email@example.com, Elias dos Santos Fereirra, National Statistics Directorate, Ministry of Finance, Timor-Leste at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Silvino Lopes, National Statistics Directorate, Ministry of Finance, Timor-Leste, at email@example.com.
1 Timor-Leste Ministry of Finance website, http://www.mof.gov.tl/about-the-ministry/statistics-indicators/sensus-fo-fila-fali/, accessed 10 January 2012.
2 Timor-Leste Ministry of Finance website. http://www.mof.gov.tl/about-the-ministry/statistics-indicators/sensus-fo-fila-fali/, accessed 10 January 2012.
3 Timor-Leste Ministry of Finance website, Sensus Fo Fila Cassa: Ainaro District. p. 2,http://www.mof.gov.tl/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/english-example-census-fo-fila-fali.pdf, accessed 10 January 2012.