• A Gender-Sensitive Insight of Poverty Mapping for Timor-Leste.

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A Gender-Sensitive Insight of Poverty Mapping for Timor-Leste.


Dili, March 25, 2019 – The General Directorate of Statistics Timor-Leste, Ministry of Finance and together with World Bank has an officially launched a publication on ‘A Gender-Sensitive Insight of Poverty Mapping for Timor-Leste’ and the event was taking place at Aitarak Laran in Ministry of Finance Auditorium Dili, Timor-Leste.

The General Director of Statistics, Mr. Elias dos Santos Ferreira was deliver opening remarks of welcoming to participants that were attending the launching reports on ‘a gender sensitive insight of poverty mapping for Timor-Leste’. The second speech was delivered by the World Bank Country Representative in Timor-Leste, Mr. Macmillan Anyanwu.
The Keynote Speech was delivered by Her Excellency Mrs. Sara Lobo Brites as Vice Minister as well as Acting Minister for Timor-Leste Ministry of Finance. During her key note speech, she said that this realization a gender sensitive insight of poverty mapping for Timor-Leste of launching took place it is a collaboration work of the General Directorate of Statistics Timor-Leste and World Bank. Therefore, in this great opportunity, I am on behalf of the government of Timor-Leste would like to extended brilliant thanks and congratulations to the result of works that you all have done.

Acting Minister of Finance also by underlined that for deeply information on the gender and poverty issues please turned to read the reports more deeply as you may all know that Timor-Leste has made impressive progress over the past decade in reducing national poverty levels. Geographically, however, this progress has been highly uneven across the country. In addition, concerns exist regarding gender gaps based on broader socioeconomic dimensions, such as access to economic activities, education, health, and power and agency.

In response, the Government of Timor-Leste has set a goal of eradicating extreme poverty by introducing more socially inclusive and gender-sensitive policies and programs. However, the existing consumption-based poverty estimates resulting from the 2014 Survey of Living Standards only provide district-level disaggregation. This limits the Government’s ability to identify and target pockets of extreme poverty and gender disparity across the country below the district level.

In addressing this gap, the World Bank, in close collaboration with the Directorate General of Statistics Timor-Leste, has generated a new set of gender-disaggregated poverty statistics at the village (suco) level. In so doing, a small-area estimation (SAE) approach was employed to link the data of all households across the country available in the 2015 Population and Housing Census with the 2014 Survey of Living Standards and the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey. Complementing these exercises, some suco-level gender-disaggregated maps of indicators are directly created from the available variables in the 2015 Census.

The SAE methodology is based on the Elbers, Lanjouw and Lanjouw (2003)1 approach, which has been widely tested and validated around the world.

Besides the ‘traditional’ poverty mapping approach, which uses monetary measures of poverty, the analysis also employs the ‘non-traditional’ SAE techniques to spatially disaggregate gender-related indicators from the 2014 Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards (TLSLS) and from the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

The Population and Housing Census was conducted in 2015 and consisted of questions for individuals (some of which were age and gender-specific) and households. The data on consumption expenditures come from the TLSLS, fielded in 2014/15. The survey is representative at district level and stratified by urban and rural sector. Though the 2015 Census contains very limited variables on health, the 2014 TLSLS contains several. wrap

The 2016 DHS contains information relating to aspects of power and agency, which are important gender indicators that can usefully be disaggregated using the SAE approach.

Key Findings

The suco-level poverty maps confirm an already known pattern that poverty headcount rates are much higher in western areas of Timor-Leste than in eastern areas. The maps also reveal new findings that were not previously known, namely that there is far more variation in poverty rates within districts than between districts.

On spatially disaggregated individual-level gender indicators, two key patterns are revealed. First, it is in poorer areas of Timor-Leste where there is more educationally-related female disadvantage, and where there are higher levels of abuse and domestic violence against women. Second, there is an inverse pattern between gender-related labor force gaps and poverty rates.

Knowing the poverty headcount rate at the district level, as already provided by the survey, gives no insight regarding the poverty rates of suco that are within a district. For example, while the Dili district-level poverty rate is only 29 percent, its suco-level poverty rates range from 8 to 80 percent. A dense belt with high numbers of poor per suco runs from Dili through Liquiçá and Ermera, and also along the western boundary of Ainaro.

In Timor-Leste, the literacy rate for the population aged 15 to 40 years old is relatively high. However, it is highly gender-unequal, where the male population is more likely to be literate than the female population. This gender gap in the literacy rate, however, is much narrower if we restrict the age group in our analysis to the youth population (15 to 24U years old). The findings suggest that the gender disparity in the literacy rate is narrower among the younger generation, as younger cohorts of the female population catch up with the male population, emphasizing improving education outcomes in Timor-Leste.ne

Consistent with the findings on literacy rates among youth, school enrollment among the school-aged population (7 to 18 years old) is also relatively high, at around 70 percent. In most suco, the female population is more likely to be enrolled in education than the male population. wrap

The prevalence of female disadvantage in the education index is higher in poorer areas, while it is lowest in and around Dili.

The index of gender gaps in education is measured by the difference in the proportion of female-male household members who are illiterate or unschooled.

There is a higher proportion of the population living in households with a female health disadvantage in Oecusse, and there are also concentrations in Baucau and Viqueque.n

The index of gender gaps in health is measured by the difference between female-male household members in the number of days spent being ill in the past 30 days, or hospitalized in the past 12 months.

The employment rate in Timor-Leste is highly gender-unequal across areas, with the employment rate of the male population significantly higher than that of the female population.

The female population is also less likely to look for a job, although there are some suco with more unemployed females than unemployed males looking for a job.P

Labour Force:
The index shows an inverse pattern between gender disadvantage in the labor market and poverty rates. In other words, the gender-related labor force gaps are bigger in suco where, on average, households are richer and where poverty rates are lower. In contrast, in poor areas, gender disparity in the labor market is less apparent.

The index of gender gaps in the labor force is constructed from the difference in the proportion of female-male household members, aged 10 and above, having no economic activity in the past week, and the number of hours of wage labor in the past seven days, across all jobs.

Power and Agency:
The index is calculated based on whether the adult females who were married or living with a man at the time of the survey makes decisions regarding her own health care, major purchases, and visits to her family and relatives.

The map presents the proportion of households with female disadvantage in decision-making autonomy. There are no apparent patterns between female decision-making autonomy with respect to poverty.
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The index was created from a smaller sample of women, selected from among the adult females in the households in the 2016 Demographic Health Survey sample who answered (confidentially) a module on domestic violence, which consists of experiences in physical abuse, limiting autonomy, verbal threats and fear of the male partner.e

The western areas, and especially Oecusse, appear to have a higher prevalence of domestic violence. This geographic pattern is similar to the pattern of poverty headcount rates, which are also higher in the west. Thus, interventions designed to deal with partner abuse and domestic violence may usefully be targeted at poorer areas.

The poverty maps offer new insights into existing knowledge of poverty in Timor-Leste, with more finely grained detail of poverty variations at the suco level.

Beyond the traditional approach of SAE, the maps also highlight gender-disaggregated deprivation hotspots in dimensions such as access to education, health, economic opportunities, and power and agency.

The gender-sensitive poverty maps provided by this work can help in informing the design of policies and programs targeting the suco level, and potentially improve resource allocation aimed at raising living standards and balancing the targeting of poor areas and poor people, while also closing gender gaps in these dimensions.

A further use of the results is for future analytic studies that aim to explore some of the driving forces behind the spatial variation in poverty and gender disparity in Timor-Leste.

Furthermore, the work provides a cost-effective way of adding value to existing census and survey data collections, and can serve as an effective substitute for fielding expensive new censuses or surveys.

The attendees of the launching were from International multilateral donors, UN Agencies, Private Sectors, Line ministries, Prime Minister office, Civil Society as well as journalist.