Safeguards for the poor and vulnerable

Forty-two percent of Timorese people continue to live on less than $1.55 a day. This high level of poverty means many people live from day-to-day and are unable to plan for the future. Timor-Leste addresses risk, vulnerability, inequality and poverty through a system of transfers to people in cash or in kind. These transfers empower the country’s most vulnerable people, such as single-headed households and people living with a disability.

PHD is making important contributions to Timor-Leste’s poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. The social protection team supports the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s policy reform and system management, and helps to make sure benefits for vulnerable people are known, understood, and used by those who need them most.

Advocating for social protection policy reform and improving systems

PHD advocates for social protection policy reform, and supports the development of a National Social Protection Strategy for Timor-Leste. The program is working to collect and analyse data to respond to the Government of Timor-Leste’s desire to gather national evidence to inform policy reform and improve operational systems.

For example, the process for obtaining disability benefits is being mapped to address blockages and raise community awareness around claiming disability support. Research is also planned to assess the social and economic impact of veterans’ pensions and social cash transfers on communities and people’s lives. The program will also seek evidence regarding the empowerment of women as a result of these policies and how to leverage on women’s existing strong voices to build proactive demand from citizens.

Public awareness campaigns

Working with local partners, PHD is raising awareness about social protection access and rights to widen coverage for the most vulnerable, including people living with a disability within Timor-Leste’s social protection systems. The program also seeks to identify champions of change.

Supporting birth registration for vulnerable groups

As a birth certificate is needed to register for social protection programs, PHD is looking into how the program can support the process of birth registration, in particular for children under five and children living with a disability.