By: Mathias Hangala
The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) on Thursday officially announced that the 2023 Population and Housing Census will be conducted from September 18 to November 3.
NSA Statistician – General & CEO Alex Shimuafeni said that this national undertaking aims to gather essential data on population size, distribution, characteristics, as well as housing and living conditions.
“The preparations are well underway to ensure a comprehensive and accurate enumeration process takes place. The information gathered will serve as a cornerstone for evidence-based planning and decision-making, policy formulation, as well as equitable resource allocation,” he said.
The NSA has recently advertised the mass recruitment of more than 13,000 census field staff, including enumerators, enumeration supervisors, data clerks, and IT field technicians, Shimuafeni said.
He added that the agency is also actively recruiting 38 office-based positions such as statisticians, application programmers, junior legal advisors, administrative assistants, system administrators, web developers, publicity officers, and payroll administrators.
The advertised recruitments which will close on 19 June 2023 for the Census IT related positions and 30 June 2023 for the Census Data Collection positions provides detailed information on how interested individuals can apply and contribute to this momentous undertaking.
“The NSA recognises that accurate and reliable data is the foundation of informed decision-making. Therefore, we encourage all eligible individuals who are passionate about serving their nation to be part of this historic national project,” Shimuafeni said.
The Census training will take place in four phases; namely Master training between (24 July – 4 August 2023), Training of Trainers 1 and 2 (7 August – 1 September 2023) and Enumerators training (8 – 16 September 2023).
The Statistician General said the NSA will source transport services from private individuals for the census period. In total, 2 837 vehicles will be utilised for the entire project (census enumeration and post enumeration survey).
“The acquiring of transport services from individuals means that the NSA will be utilising private individuals’ vehicles where they will be driving their own vehicles or assign drivers to their vehicles,” he explained.
“This approach of providing transport services to the census project also speak to the notion of a national project as we will have participation at constituency levels as the vehicles to be used to transport the enumerators will be sourced from constituency levels.”
The census is conducted every ten years. The population census has been postponed since 2021 and 2022 due to competing priorities such as the Covid-19 budget prioritisation, but this year for the 2023-2024 financial year, an amount of 706 million Namibia dollars (about 47.4 million U.S. dollars) was allocated by the government for the exercise.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Villager, NSA’s executive data, quality assurance and national statistics system coordinator and census manager, Isak Neema stated the importance of the census is simply for planning purposes.
According to him, it streamlines area population to enable proper planning and help lure in investors, as, before they decide to invest, they first look at the population in a given area.
“We postponed the census twice. The first postponement was due to Covid-19, and the second when we really felt its pinch as there were no financial resources. But due to the commitment that government has now made, we also are moving with that particular commitment. We are looking at areas as to where we can cut, where we can save. We are into implementing a digital census to cut on manual labour” says Neema.
He further narrated that the private sector has pledged to support this initiative which is attracting numerous young unemployed people in various ways and promised to track their unemployment status of applicants to ensure that jobs are given to the unemployed.
Neema equally said that this time around NSA will not rent out vehicles through third parties, but rather is calling to the members of the public who own 4×4 vehicles to apply for their vehicles to be part of this exercise by approaching their respective constituency offices.