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Dili, Timor-Leste, March 8, 2021 -- Over 30 enumerators received training on census mapping, held at the General Directorate of Statistics conference room in Dili, Timor-Leste on March 8, in preparation for first digitized Population and Housing Census, scheduled for September 2021.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Director General of Statistics in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Elias dos Santos Ferreira said that enumerators participating in the training will begin the practice sessions from March 10 to 12 at Liquiçá.

The 2021 Housing and Population Census will generate critical data to help in the planning and implementation of development projects in Timor-Leste. It will also aid in updating statistical information on demographic, economic and social characteristics of the population.

Unlike in the previous census, Timor-Leste will utilize computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI) -- incorporating the use of questionnaires administered via hand held electronic devices during face-to-face interviews.

Smartphones installed with an open-source application called Open Data Kit (ODK) – a mobile data collection tool suitable for resource-limited settings – will be used in the census to reduce human error and improve data quality and efficiency in data collection.

UNFPA advocates for a society where the needs of everyone is accounted for – ensuring that no one is left behind.

For example, the use of the latest Arc Geographical Information System (GIS)  software used on tablets to pinpoint buildings in urban areas -- can collect information on number of dwellings and households to help estimate population with precision.

Such household listing using state-of-the-art technologies enables the use of satellite imagery with most recent building information useful in providing real-time data for improved efficiency in data collection and enumeration in census.

Data from census, if well utilized, can ensure services like adequate accommodation and health services – including reproductive health – are well planned for and implemented for the benefit of all Timorese.

The 2021 census will be the fourth post-independence census conducted in Timor-Leste.

 “Apart from receiving technical support from UNFPA, Timor-Leste government has set aside USD 3 million to support the exercise in readiness for the 2021 Housing and Population Census. UNFPA has continued offering technical support to the Department of Statistics to conduct census since 2004 when the first census was held in the country.

“So far UNFPA has supported us in conducting census mapping in Dili, Baucau and Bobonaro municipalities.

“For this year’s census, with UNFPA’s support, we will be conducting census mapping in five other municipalities; Ainaro, Ermera, Liquiçá, Lautem and Viqueque,” Mr Elias dos Santos Ferreira stated.

UNFPA has provided technical and financial support in collaboration with the Government of Timor-Leste to ensure that censuses are of high quality, credible, uphold international principles and standards, and produce data that are widely disseminated and utilized to support the development of the country.

“The mapping exercise will contribute greatly to the success of the 2021 Housing and Population census. Therefore, each enumerator plays an important role during this mapping exercise. It is so important to have good data so that the government can measure and monitor progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and overall improvement of the lives of the people of Timor-Leste.

“UNFPA remains committed in providing technical support to Timor-Leste to support conducting the census and the development of the country. We are currently in the process of finalizing the recruitment of five consultants, including an international census coordinator to help in the process,” Dr Ronny Lindstrom, UNFPA Representative in Timor-Leste said.