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Timor-Leste Covid-19 Household Cash Transfer

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The Timorese government provided a US$200 cash transfer to around 300,000 households that earn under US$500 per month in all its 452 villages in response to the economic shock brought about by COVID-19. The research focused on measuring the Covid-19 household payment on the needs of vulnerable Timorese people, and the impacts of the household payment towards the power of household finances control. The research targeted households that received the payment and individuals who did not. Sixty interviews were conducted in Dili, Manufahi, and Liquica, and with specific groups namely people with disabilities, single mothers, LGBTQIA+, and women living in domestic violence crisis centers. Additionally, as part of a comprehensive study, this research also undertook the review of secondary research that looks at the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 and the household payment.

Overall, many families expressed gratitude for the government’s support as they had experienced a loss of income and reduced access to food. In addition to the decision-making, in male-headed households, the Covid-19 payment was mostly made collectively by husbands and wives, but in some circumstances, men had more and/or complete control over the payment, while in female-headed households, females collected, managed, and made the decisions. As a result, several recommendations have been made from public information and messaging to social assistance modalities and delivery mechanisms for emergency cash transfers as well as social assistance provided through the Ficha de Familia system. The results of the research were shared with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion to present to Parliament and inform a more effective social protection policy and program in Timor-Leste.

The research is supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Posted January 12, 2021
Related locations: Timor-Leste