MAP16 Project activities in Timor-Leste

The project contributes to the promotion of decent work in Timor-Leste by supporting the government and social partners with the aim to advance its compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by combating and eliminating child labour.

National context

The Government of Timor-Leste has taken an important step in its effort to eradicate child labour in all its forms, particularly the worst forms of child labour, by conducting a National Child Labour Survey in 2016. Timor-Leste’s Child Labor National Action Plan aims to identify the root cause of child labour and to address both short term and long term objectives. The plan will be implemented by multiple partners with oversight by the National Commission against Child Labour.

Following the adoption of the hazardous child labour list, efforts have focused on strengthening the capacity of the labour inspectorate to understand, identify, report and remedy the situations of children found in work settings included in the list. Sensitization activities on child labour and forced labour that were carried out in two districts in Timor-Leste (Ermera, Aileu) have proved successful and could be expanded to larger geographical areas.

According to the 2016 National Child Labour Survey,
  • The main reason for children to be economically active is to supplement their family incomes and the majority of them work for their families, followed by working in the plantation, farm or garden.
  • Around 67,688 children (aged 5-17 year-olds) or equal to 16.1 per cent are economically active both in rural and urban areas.
  • Out of 16.1 per cent of children that are economically active, 12.5 per cent are in child labour and the majority of them (55.5 per cent) are involved in hazardous work.
  • From a total population of children, 83.8 per cent are attending school; however, children in child labour are less likely to attend school.
  • Around 43,000 children (aged 5-17 year-olds) are reported to have never attended school; among these children 6,455 are involved in an economic activity, 4,901 are in child labour, and 2,888 in hazardous work.
  • 22,395 children engage in hazardous work and at the same time attending schools.

Project activities

The project activities in Timor-Leste include:
  • A solid knowledge and policy base on child labour that can be easily updated and expanded.
  • Up-to-date legal framework on child labour in line with relevant international conventions.
  • A solid understanding of what child labour is and how it can be avoided by children, parents, employers and the general public.
  • Key professional groups in government and civil society are well versed with child labour and have access to knowledge and procedures that allow them to take action as part of their daily work.


Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment, National Commission Against Child Labour, Labour Association, Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Target beneficiaries

Families, children, employers, civil societies, communities.