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POLITICS, NATIONAL, DILI

TAF, Govt, and Australian ambassador launch 7th TATOLI! Public Perception Survey

TAF, Govt, and Australian ambassador launch 7th TATOLI! Public Perception Survey

(Photo Tatoli/Francisco SOny)

DILI, 18 may 2022 (TATOLI) – The Country Representative of the Asia Foundation (TAF), Héctor Salazar Salame, together, with the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, Deputy Minister of Finance, António Freitas, Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Bill Costello, and the Country Director of World Bank in Timor-Leste, Bernard Harborne launched the initial findings of TAF’s Seventh Timor-Leste TATOLI! Public Perception Survey.

Minister Magalhães, in his opening speech, said that Public Perception Survey helped the government to get glimpses of people’s thoughts on the country’s development, government functions, service delivery, and well-being of the people.

“This survey assists the government to assess itself and also gives us information about citizens’ awareness, and their evaluation of government policies and programs. In addition, it also provides us with crucial information to identify the gaps to ensure that policies and programs are responsive and contribute to improving the lives of Timorese people,” Minister Magalhães made the comments at the City-8 Hall, in Dili.

He said the Survey also highlighted the different needs of the Timorese people: “Outside Dili, people want better infrastructure development which will enable them to have access to public services, such as rural road network that need improvement to boost the rural economy.

Ambassador Costello stressed that The Asia Foundation with Australia Government’s support undertook the TATOLI! Survey regularly which would give direct information about the priorities of the people right across Timor-Leste.

“This information is very helpful for the Government, civil society, and also for development partners like Australia and others because it helps us to prioritize and put our efforts where they are most valuable to the people of Timor-Leste,” Costello said.

“Because this is the seventh survey, it’s a great value in seeing what changes over time, what issues become less important as they are solved and new issues emerged that we need to direct more attention it. That’s Australia is very proud and happy to support the TATOLI! Survey.”

In his presentation of the result of the survey, the Country Representative of the Asia Foundation (TAF), Héctor Salazar Salame said that the survey was conducted between january and february 2022 with a nationally representative sample of 2.489 respondents.

The survey captured information on the population’s employment, income, and economic well-being, as well as their perceptions regarding the direction of the country, the government functions, service delivery, and performance, governance and politics, and media use and information.

Employment, income, and economic well-being

Regarding the employment issue, the findings revealed that 28 % of respondents currently worked for a wage, salary, or other income (cash or in-kind). Meanwhile, the majority (72%) of respondents were not currently working for a wage, salary, or other income.

On the other hand, regarding the income, the survey found that 10 % of respondents indicated a friend or family member overseas had sent them, or members of their household, money in the past six months. Remittances were most commonly sent from the United Kingdom (40%), South Korea (26%), and Australia (14%).

In addition, 45 % of the respondents nationally were receiving at least one government payment regularly. More respondents living outside Dili (51%, compared to 28% of those living in Dili) were regularly receiving a payment. Similarly, more respondents with disability (71%), compared to 43% of respondents without disability, and older respondents aged 55 and over (75%), compared to 34% of those aged 17-74 and 45% of those aged 35-54 were regularly receiving government payments.

The Survey found that 65% of respondents nationally rated their household’s economic situation as ‘good’ or ‘very good,’ down from 69% in 2018 but higher than 60% in 2016. A greater proportion of respondents living in Dili (68%, compared to 64% of those living outside Dili), women (68%, compared to 63% of men), and respondents without disability (66%, compared to 49% of respondents with disability) rated their household’s economic situation as ‘good’ or ‘very good.’

Fewer respondents reported improvements in their economic situation over the past year than in pre-pandemic 2018. Fifty-seven percent of respondents felt their family’s economic situation was ‘a little’ or ‘much’ better compared to one year ago, lower than 61% in 2018. Twentyfour percent also felt their current situation was ‘a little’ or ‘much’ worse compared to 14% in 2018.

More than forty percent of respondents report that their family is not able to cover their needs. One-third are concerned about food security in the next month and are not able to save money. There are marked increases in economic hardship compared with pre-pandemic 2018.

Government functions, government priorities, and service delivery

The survey revealed that when asked about respondents’ views regarding the functions of the government, the respondents identified the three most important functions of the government, namely keeping the country and the people safe, mitigating Covid-19, and building roads. Building roads was considered much more important among those living outside Dili (46%) than those living in Dili (17%).

Nationally, respondents perceived the government’s main priorities to be roads (65%), Health (52%), and education and training (46%). More respondents living outside Dili felt the government should prioritize infrastructure such as roads (74%, compared to 40% of those living in Dili, electricity (36%, compared to 19% of those living in Dili), as well as agriculture (15%, compared to 5% of those living in Dili).

In the last six months, most (88%) respondents or their families had attended a government health clinic/hospital (82%), private health clinic (3%), or both (4%). Respondents generally had positive perceptions of health services in their community, and improvements were observed across many aspects compared to 2018.

Most (87%) respondents had children who attended school in the last six months. Sixty-nine (69%) of respondents had children who attended a government school, 13% had children who attended a private school and 5% had children who attended both. While most respondents (79%) agreed on women in their household should have access to education opportunities, the agreement was lower than in 2018 (88%).

Political perceptions 

Respondents considered the role of the person in Timor-Leste’s independence movement (87% nationally) and education level (84%) to be the most important characteristic of a candidate. In contrast, respondents felt the candidate’s gender (73%) and personal connection to them (65%) were relatively less important. A greater proportion of the respondents living outside Dili rated all characteristics as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important, compared to those living in Dili.

Most respondents (80%) felt it would be good for Timor-Leste if more women entered politics.

Most respondents agreed that they trust younger generations (62%), there are qualified individuals in the younger generation who can lead the country (61%), and the younger generation is starting to lead Timor-Leste (56%).

Media use and information

The Source of information is mainly different by location rather than by demographics. Television was more widely used among respondents living in Dili (93%, compared to 65% of those living outside Dili). More respondents living outside Dili reported using radio (29%, compared to 16% of those living in Dili). Respondents living outside of Dili were more commonly relying on word-of-mouth sources of information: Suco Council/local leaders (21%, compared to 2% of those living in Dili), friends and family (11%, compared to 1% of those living in Dili) and church (7%, compared to 1% of those living in Dili).

Television 

Half (50%) of respondents reported they watched television every day, while a further 17% reported they watched television a few times a week.

Nationally, RTTL (90%) and GMN (69%) were by far the most often watched television channels.

Radio

Nineteen percent (19%) of respondents indicated they listen to the radio every day, and 21% listened a few times a week.

RTTL (77% nationally) was the most popular radio station, followed by the community radio (52%).

Websites 

Nationally, GMN Diario Nacional was the most popular website used (67%).

More respondents living in Dili used GMN Diario Nacional (84%, compared to 40% of those living outside Dili), Tafara News (32%, compared to 26%), and TATOLI news (36%, compared to 7%).

Social Media 

The majority (76%) of respondents indicated they used social media less than one hour per day. Only 10% reported they used social media more than three hours per day.

The main reason respondents used social media was to keep in touch with family and friends (57%) and for news and information (36%). The use of social media for news and information was more common among respondents living outside Dili (38%, compared to 31% of those living in Dili) and older respondents aged 55 and over (44%, compared to 36% of those aged 35-54 and 33% of those aged 17-34).

More respondents living in Dili felt the media should be independent and able to publish stories that are critical of the government (58%) than those living outside Dili (40%).

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario 

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