Young Timorese People Still Active in Political Process

Thursday, December 1, 2016
USAID Project Management Specialist, Germano Boavida, USAID's Ba Distrito COP Carolyn Tanner and President of CNE, Dr. Alcino de Araújo Baris launched a research report
USAID's Ba Distrito Project

USAID’s Ba Distrito project launched a research report that showed that young people in Timor, who have yet to vote, have high intentions to participate in future elections. 

The report, “New Voices: The Engagement of Young Timorese in the Political Process”, was launched at the National Elections Commission (CNE) office in Caicoli, and showed that young people who have never voted had plans to take part in future elections, but were disillusioned with national leaders because they make promises that aren’t kept. 

The research was conducted by the Ba Distrito project – which is generously supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by Counterpart International – and analyzed together with NGO Belun, with the aim of understanding new voters’ opinions of the political process, including their intentions to participate in local and national elections. 

“Understanding what motivates young people to want to participate in the political process in Timor-Leste will help political parties, civil society and the national electoral bodies reach out to them more effectively and keep them engaged in political life,” commented, Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party, Counterpart International.   

The research utilized a Focus Group Discussion methodology, interviewing 64 young people between the ages of 17 and 20 years, with eight people in each group (four women, four men), in three municipalities – Dili (two groups), Baucau (three groups), and Covalima (three groups). The participants were young people who would be first time voters in the 2016 suku elections. 

The research was lead, and the report written, by Dr. Deborah Cummins and her research team, and explores in detail young people’s thoughts and experiences about political campaigns, their perceptions about elected national leaders, and ways young people can involve themselves in the process to become leaders in the future. 

“This research shows the high levels of interest that young people have in participating in the political process, both as voters and as future leaders. When we compare to other countries around the world where young people are increasingly becoming politically apathetic, it is truly impressive that Timorese young people continue to look for ways in which they can engage with their leaders, and contribute to their nation’s future,” noted Dr. Cummins. 

The results from the research show the ongoing desire of Timorese youth to vote in the future, attend political campaigns, and become members of political parties. 

Also commenting at the launch, the President of CNE, Dr. Alcino de Araújo Baris, said, “The engagement of young people in the political process is very important and all of us must also give consideration to young people’s thoughts, opinions and participation in the process of development.”

The report is available in Tetum and English, and is also available through Counterpart International’s website