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No More Planning In The Dark …Nam to finally get updated population and demographic data

By:Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
After many years of using outdated and estimated data, the country will finally conduct its long awaited official collection of its population and housing information.
The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) announced last week that it plans to do the official data collection in August 2023, after postponement due to lack of funds.
The government has finally availed N$706 million for the NSA to undertake the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
Section 7 (2)(d) of the Namibia Statistics Act prescribes that the Agency must cause a population and housing census to be taken every 10 years on a date determined by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.
The country last conducted a Population and Housing Census in 2011.
NSA spokesperson Iipumbu Sakaria explained that the census is the only data source that provides information at the smallest geographic areas and for small population groups in the county.
Thus, “it is a major source of national data required for planning, decision-making and monitoring of development goals at the lowest level possible there is,” Sakaria said.
The Population and Housing Census provides information on the population and housing characteristics of the country in order to guide development planning, decision-making as well as to monitor and evaluate developmental progress.
Sakaria highlighted that the census result, as an enabler, plays a big role in uplifting communities’ developmental share in terms of schools, hospitals, roads, and public works as it helps the government to decide how to distribute funds and allocate resources across the society.
Furthermore, the census also provides critical data and information for business enterprises in all industries as it guides businesses on the population characteristics and informs decisions on business expansion and reach of customers and clients.
The NSA spokesperson also indicated that the census will for the first time be a spatially-enabled and digital census, meaning the method of that data collection will be that NSA enumerators will visit each and every household in Namibia, during a three week period in order to undertake a total count and collect demographic and social data.
The enumerators are prohibited from disclosing information to third parties as well as to unauthorised persons, therefore to ensure confidentiality all census personnel including enumerators and all team supervisors, including NSA permanent staff, will sign an Oath of Secrecy.
Furthermore, the information to be collected is anonymised and processed in order to be in line with the confidentiality clauses as set out in the Statistics Act.
To successfully undertake the census, Sakaria indicated that the NSA will recruit around 13,000 temporary staff that includes team supervisors, enumerators, constituency supervisors, IT technicians, statisticians, data monitors, programmers, HR practitioners, legal experts, communication specialists, procurement officers and fleet officers, to mention just a few.
All the census positions will be advertised in all media platforms including the NSA website, the Namibia Integrated Employment Information System (NIEIS) and regional and local authority offices.
Job applications will be done through an online recruitment system and are open to all Namibians and the Agency hopes to give employment opportunities to the unemployed.
It is against that background that NSA intends to recruit individuals within their respective constituencies. The nation will be informed when the application process starts.
Sakaria pointed out that all census personnel and equipment will be sourced locally, except for the 13,000 Tablets which will be borrowed from external entities.
In particular, 11,000 Tablets will be borrowed from the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) and with the other 2,000 Tablets to be borrowed from Statistics South Africa in line with South-South cooperation.
Transportation of the tablets to and from Namibia will be facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The census logistics involved will require around 2,900 vehicles to ensure enumerators reach each and every corner.
The national census consists of pre-enumeration, enumeration and post enumeration phases.
Pre-enumeration includes the mapping and pilot census; the enumeration phase speaks to itself and the post-enumeration activities include the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) , data processing, data analysis and report writing.
NSA said they have concluded the census mapping and pilot census as well as the PES pilot as part of the pre-enumeration phase.
Currently, they are busy testing the data collection application, as informed by the pilot census outcomes, in the regions of Zambezi, Erongo, Kunene, Ohangwena, Hardap, Kavango West and Omusati.
The field exercise started on 27 February and will run until 10 March 2023.
The final testing will be done in Khomas region from 14-17 March 2023.
Sakaria said the main purpose of field testing is to ensure that all census tools are ready for the main census in August 2023.
He added that it is only through the cooperation of fellow Namibian citizens that NSA are able to collect data and provide statistics for national development.
“It is against that background that the NSA humbly request all citizens, households and those that find themselves within the boundaries of Namibia during the upcoming census period, to cooperate with our enumerators and ensure that they are counted,” Sakaria entreated.

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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