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The census is the key source of data for Government’s planning, monitoring and evaluating development, including measuring progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In mid-September 2018, GDS staff pre-piloted the newly translated questionnaire to test its formatting and content. This is a first step in preparing the systems of data collection prior to the 2020 housing and population Census itself. With the technical support of UNFPA, the General Directorate of Statistics (GDS) of the Ministry of Finance is currently planning for its first 'digital census' which will be held in July 2020. For the first time in Timor-Leste, the Census will utilise hand-held devices to enumerate a completely re-formatted questionnaire which contains improved question design and content. 

After three days of training and preparation in the Statistics Office, GDS staff met with the village chief of Lahane, a neighbourhood in the hills at the southern end of Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste. Once in the locality, the census enumerators set off on the steep and rocky climb to the dwellings where the field test would take place. 

Using the findings of this activity, GDS will be fore-armed with the necessary information to ensure that the Census enumerators are better trained to enter data into the questionnaires, and that structural errors are reduced through the use of skips, flows and pre-loaded identification fields. Additionally using tablets improves data Integration, collection, editing, and consistency of data, and also keeps a record of the GPS coordinates of enumerated dwellings. All-in-all this makes for a more efficient census and better data.



Text by Roderick T.J. Buiskool (UNFPA-TL Communications Assistant) and Nicholas McTurk (UNFPA-TL Census Technical Specialist)