Timor-Leste Covid-19 Household Cash Transfer: Initial Effects on Welfare and Gender Dynamics

In response to the economic shock of COVID-19 control measures, including an initial nation-wide State of Emergency (SoE) (28 March – 27 June, 2020), the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) developed a social assistance program to support households’ immediate needs and recovery from the restrictive measures adopted.1 A cash transfer of US$2002 was distributed to approximately 300,000 households in all 452 villages of Timor-Leste at a cost of approximately US$60 million. This research aims to explore the socio-economic effects of the cash transfer on the welfare of Timorese people, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. Given the global evidence emerging that the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to widen gender inequalities,4 the research also aims to explore the initial effects of the cash transfer on intra-household gender dynamics.