By State House Communications Unit
As the Ebola virus disease appears to be rapidly receding with the country poised to begin the countdown towards a resilient zero, Statistics Sierra Leone has expressed strong determination to conduct the 2015 population and housing census scheduled to take place between the 5th and 18th December, 2015. It is worthy to note that the 2015 Census is the 5th modern census ever conducted in Sierra Leone.
Giving an update of the census process during a meeting at State House, Peter Bangura, Director of Demographic and Social Statistics who also doubles as Census Field Operations Coordinator said, the 2015 census is not just designed to deepen democracy and foster peace and stability in the country, but also to provide information for proper planning and monitoring government’s development framework. After the main data collection slated to take place from the 5th – 18th December 2015, Bangura noted that a post enumeration survey will be conducted to measure its coverage rates and data quality. He explained that they had completed field mapping and conducted first and second data users’ conference, whilst the release of both provisional and final results of the census will be in March and December 2016 respectively.
Commenting on the progress made so far, Bangura said 98% of mapping data has been digitized and ready for Enumeration areas maps preparation and printing, cartographic field work completed, trained GIS and digitization, pilot census conducted and evaluation report published, among other activities concluded. He furthered that household and institutional questionnaires would be used as instruments of data collection, saying that the household questionnaires comprise seven sections of household identification, population characteristics, housing facilities, ownership of durables, agriculture, deaths and the socio-economic impacts of the Ebola outbreak. He went on to note that anyone who spent the census night (4th December 2015) in the country will be enumerated and each enumerator is assigned to one enumeration area of about 100 households to complete in two weeks.
He called on the government to close the funding gap of Six Million, Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars. He also appealed to government and its development partners to provide adequate road worthy vehicles for field monitoring and supervision.
In response, President Koroma urged Statistics Sierra Leone to continue on the path of transparency, ensuring that integrity is maintained in providing the figures and variables that will help in planning for the socio-economic development of the country. As a result of the lucidity of the presentation, the president expressed satisfaction with the process and also insisted on inclusiveness. He assured of government’s continued support and called on development partners to fulfil their pledges and new partners to provide support to bridge the funding gap.