UN plan supports Timor-Leste youth

Flinders demographers are already seeing results from their UN research project in Timor-Leste.

The recently launched One-Stop-Shop for Youth Centre in Dili is a new initiative resulting from information gathered via the Flinders  project, which is putting the idea of social entrepreneurship into practice.

Associate Professor Udoy Saikia, Associate Professor Gour Dasvarma and Dr James Chalmers have been overseeing data collection and performing the analysis for the Timor-Leste 4th National Human Development Report (NHDR).

This report, which is a collaboration between the Timor-Leste Government, the UN Development Program and Flinders, is due for release in coming weeks by the country’s new Government led by Prime Minister Mr Mari Alkatiri.

It focuses on young people’s aspirations, their opportunities and challenges to develop themselves and their nation.

Timor-Leste has a rapidly growing population and many young people entering the labour market. While around 20,000 young people join the labor force every year, the available job opportunities in the formal economy do not exceed an estimated 2,000.

Associate Professor Udoy Saikia and his team found there is a real need to transform the youth of this emerging nation’s youth from being job seekers to job creators.

To address this, the NHDR is promoting social entrepreneurship as a pathway to improve young people’s well-being and sustainable development for their communities.

Located in the nation’s capital city of Dili, the Knua Juventude Fila-Liman is a centre which provides a wide-ranging set of services aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship among youth as well as increased employability and youth engagement in decision-making.

The centre provides training, seminars and virtual dialogue to develop research and leadership skills for young Timorese.

Associate Professor Udoy Saikia, who is Director of Applied Population Studies at Flinders, says that the 4th National Human Development Report aims to promote public discussion and policy making around the establishment of youth structures and investment in the under 30 year olds who make up around 70% of the population of Timor-Leste.

“Through the development of the NHDR, Flinders researchers are taking a crucial role in creating a policy blueprint for Timor-Leste’s social and economic future,” he says.

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