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Published On: Thu, Feb 8th, 2024

GBOS Commence Training on Data Collection for Field Workers

The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) commenced a twelve-day pilot census training which is currently underway at Paradise Suites Hotel for its field workers on data collection as the country is getting set to conduct its housing and population census in April 2024.

The Statistician general at the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) Nyakassi Sanyang highlighted that it has been a long process and across many hurdles to reach this stage of the census, adding that the pilot census is a comprehensive trial that tests all census procedures which tests personnel, systems, and procedures in an end-to-end “dress rehearsal,” running through the entire process in a selected number of enumeration areas.

“Pilot census data are not expected to be statistically representative of the country’s population. However, pilot censuses produce data that can be useful in identifying potential issues. Furthermore, testing is fundamental when new technologies or methodologies are introduced in a census.”

Mr Sanyang explained that the training will last for 12 days; 10 days in class training which includes the training on the administration of the census questionnaires, understanding the concepts and definitions, simulation exercises through the conduct of mock interviews in the various local languages and the use of Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) for the first time in the country.

The Statistician general extended his appreciation to their partners for their invaluable support provided since the start of the census activities, saying World Bank, UNFPA, UNECA, and the ECOWAS Commission have been supporting them in the smooth conduct of the exercise.

Minister for Finance Seedy Keita acknowledged that housing is a major problem, particularly in urban areas where people live in crowded conditions.

“Planning for education obviously requires a knowledge of the number of children of school age who are likely to require schooling at various levels, the Government cannot know where to build the necessary schools or how many school teachers must be trained unless it knows where the need is greater in terms of the number of children who should be going to school.” Minister Keita said.

Finance Minister buttress that for instance when government plans to improve and extend the medical services of the country so as to eliminate diseases and to reduce the number of children dying in infancy and early childhood, the government must know the number of people involved, the number of children being born and the rate at which they are dying.

Assistant UNFPA Country representative Lamin Camara said that the event signals their readiness and commitment for the conduct of the country’s 2024 population and housing census.

Mr Camara further said that the population and housing census is a critical exercise that provides the government with information to plan and implement development initiatives as accurate data on size and demographics of the population is very instrumental in ensuring that development meets the needs of the population.

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“This training which prepares the ground for the commencement of the pilot census, is therefore a very important component of the 2023 population and housing census, as trainees and participants who will play a crucial role in the census,  will go down in history as pioneers of the first digital census in the Gambia.” Mr Camara concluded.

Camara acknowledged that the importance of census to UNFPA’s mandate cannot be overstated, as accurate and comprehensive data, made possible through initiatives like the pilot training, form the bedrock of evidence-based decision-making.

The twelve-day pilot training census is a comprehensive trial that tests all census procedures and thus involves testing all elements of a population and housing census operation prior to census enumeration. It therefore forms a critical component to producing quality data.

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