One of the newest countries on the world stage, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste faces a number of development challenges. Basic services are still being rebuilt after civil unrest crippled the nation’s educational and health infrastructure in 1999.1 In addition, the country faces the so-called “resource curse” as it attempts to manage significant oil resources while crafting equity-based development policies.2
In such a context, implementing targeted development policies is more important than ever. The Government of Timor-Leste has recognized the paramount importance of providing sound disaggregated socio-economic data to all national and international decision-makers and partners.
Disseminating data using DevInfo, CensusInfo
The National Statistics Directorate (NSD) of the Government of Timor-Leste, with UNICEF support, first began using DevInfo database technology in 2006 to develop Timor-Leste DevInfo, which contains data on key socio-economic indicators for the country. With its third version already launched, Timor-Leste DevInfo has been adopted by the country’s Ministry of Finance as the official national socio-economic database for purposes of human development reporting and decision
In addition to continuous efforts to update Timor-Leste DevInfo, the NSD with UNICEF support has also developed a beta version of Timor-Leste CensusInfo containing data from the country’s 2010 census. Built on CensusInfo technology, the Timor-Leste CensusInfo initiative sprung out of a government commitment to make the results of the latest census available to all citizens.
Putting data to good use
The NSD, with UNICEF support, has undertaken an extensive programme of continuous training and capacity building in the use of DevInfo and CensusInfo for evidence-based decision-making, targeting monitoring and evaluation focal points within line ministries.
As such, it comes as no surprise that the DevInfo Timor-Leste database has already been used to support cross-sector development reporting and planning. For example, the national MDG Steering Committee is using the database to monitor country progress towards achieving the MDGs as well as to prepare MDG reports and factsheets. The database also proved to be the inspiration for the Ministry of Education to develop an EMISInfo database, in which the software’s user-friendly features for customizing tables, maps, and graphs are being used to generate the first national Education Yearbook.
Similarly, the Timor-Leste CensusInfo database has also already been put to good use. According to Min Yuan, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF Timor-Leste, “The CensusInfo database was used to provide the Ministry of Finance with key evidence to support its 2012 budget planning process,
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 UNDP, Timor-Leste Human Development Report 2011, p. 11, accessed on 4 January 2012 at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/national/asiathepacific/timorleste/Timor-Leste_NHDR_2011_EN.pdf.
2 Ibid., p. vii.