Juvita Pereira Faria, speech at panel discussion on National Human Development Report 2018 in Dili, 04 April 2018
As a young Timorese who represents the voice of youth in various opportunities, I am honored to sit on this great panel discussion. I personally appreciate the work of the United Nations agencies, and national and international activists that promote youth leadership development. The 2018 Timor-Leste National Human Development Report (NHDR) presents recent data that reflects the real conditions of our young Timorese society. Timor-Leste is a small country with 74 per cent of its population comprising of youth, ranking it 15th youngest in the world.
The national strategic plan 2011-2030 has clear targets and objectives to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty in Timor-Leste. This plan itself is indeed an indicator of goals to push national development plan for action and raise awareness about youth development. It is an important factor to highlight when we speak about human resources empowerment in Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste has made significant progress since the restoration of independence. However, it is still facing various challenges including a high unemployment rate, low quality of health, education and standard of living amidst a strong re-enforcement of patriarchal practice within the society.
We also witness in our surroundings that many Timorese remain look backward, and therefore limit themselves from the ongoing globalization spillover. They resist for mental revolution towards human development with balance, free and transparent thinking. Youth organizations, which are crucial for societal change, continue to face substantial challenges due their strong attachment and dependence to their communities and families.
Consequently, majority of youth are holding back and fear to take firm decisions about their life and participation. In this situation, young women are particularly suppressed and prevented from freedom for association. They remain seen as weak and need to be protected.
Therefore, as young women who promotes both men and women’s leadership development, I am conscious of the following:
- The role of youth: the NHDR 2018 should be taken as a key barometer for youth development in society. Youth organizations should be seen as models for youth leadership. Government should engage youth groups in its actions to achieve its national priorities for youth development as stipulated in National Policy for Youth Development, and in the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
- The role of community and society: is an important pillar to support youth in their activisms and the whole learning process. Family civic education is important to enable our children grows in a respectful society and freedom of association without discrimination. The NHDR shows that 80 per cent of youth trust their communities but only 18 per cent are supported by the community. This means that families, communities and societies have not been able to create conducive spaces for youth to express themselves freely and vice-versa community members do not trust youth.
Lastly, the commitments and efforts for the implementation of the national youth policy, and other relevant policies, means the commitment to see progress and development of young people in Timor-Leste. Importantly, results of the NHDR must be shared and communicated back to the society particularly targeted to youth groups and university students.