Monday, June 17, 2024

Statistician-General Calls on Gambians’ Cooperation in Ensuring a Successful Census

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By: Alieu Jallow

As The Gambia kicks off the 2024 population and housing census, the Statistician General of the Gambia Bureau of Statistics, Nyakassi Sanyang, has called on Gambians’ cooperation in ensuring a successful census. Speaking to our reporter, SG Sanyang outlined that if people fail to cooperate with their enumerators, it will affect the data quality and result in under-reporting, which will have an impact on policy and decision-making processes. This could jeopardize the country’s desired goals and development programs, both locally and internationally.

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“It is a very important exercise, and a lot of resources are being put into this. These resources could be directed towards other development areas. So, let us know that regardless of whether you are pro-government or anti-government, any government that comes in will rely on this information. This is a national duty, and we call upon everybody to respond to this call,” he appealed.

The year 2023 was designated for the conduct of another census by default. However, this exercise failed to take place, which, according to the Statistician General, was due to the transition from manual to digital census, requiring comprehensive preparation. Similarly, he cited the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, asserting that the government was more focused on mitigating the impact of the pandemic, thus giving little attention to the census.

“A digital census requires a lot of resources that need to be put in place before the actual census. Since it’s the first time, in fact, we were not fully prepared in terms of knowledge. We didn’t have adequate knowledge at the beginning of exactly what was supposed to happen. So, by the time we started doing things, we realized that there are a lot more things to be done, and these delays the conduct of the population census,” he outlined.

There were widespread complaints from participants in many training centers, with most participants indicating that the quality and quantity of food given fell below standards, resulting in others experiencing stomach abnormalities. These concerns were acknowledged by Mr. Sanyang, who distanced GBOS’ direct responsibilities in handling the feeding of participants. Meanwhile, as the body responsible for implementing the general conduct of the census, he gave assurance of engaging relevant stakeholders to look into the issue of food.

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“We have received many queries from centers about the food quality and quantity, and their concerns are noted. We will report these feedbacks of the trainees, and I’m sure they will take action,” he affirmed.

This is the first time the country is embarking on a digital census, shifting away from the old paper method of recording details. The Statistician General assures Gambians of timely reporting of the census and equally provides them the opportunity to correct and regulate any errors made in the field and tabulate the enumerated figures daily.

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