A cross section of journalists from the print and electronic media were on Friday 26th August 2016 updated by Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) on the December 2015 Population and Housing Census.
Explaining the purpose of the press conference, the SSL Communications Officer, Samuel Serry, highlighted that their institution’s role is not only to compile and analyze national statistics, but toalsoeducate the public about their civic duties.
Chairperson of the conference, Peter Bangura who is also head of the SSL Demographic and Social Statistical Division,saidSSL is an important arm of government as it helps to collate data that relate to planning, policy making, and allocation of resources.
He furthered that SSL is burdened with a lot of other activities, so much so that if the population is not updated about them, there is the tendency for some people to misunderstand SSL’s duties.
For example, he referred to the controversy that attended the release of the Provisional PHC Report. “Some Civil Society Organizations and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party alleged that the process was flawed.”
Referring to the 2015 Census as”the best ever conducted” he clarified that the census, starting with the cartographic mapping, was better conducted than the last one in 2004.
To ensure that the process was not wholly owned and managed by SSL, he explained that Paramount Chiefs including town criers, CSOs, the Press and foreign observers from East and West Africa were part of the process.
“That is why,” he went on, “when doubting questions started surfacing about the process, the international community rushed to SSL’s aid to declare that they monitored the entire process and that it was transparently and professionally done.”
The first step which was very critical to the success of the Census exercise was the Cartographic Mapping stage. This involved dividing the entire population into catchment blocks.
Next stage was enumeration and collecting of the statistical data by a field staff of about 17, 000 workers who had been trained by SSL to ensure that they did their work well.
The next important stage was the inspection of data collected and tabulating it through a process called coding to make its analysis very accurate. To ensure that the census processes were not manipulated, SSL brought in foreign experts to supervise the various stages.
SSL highlighted that in order to protect its computer system; a lot of money was invested in its architecture and electricity generation. SSL praised the role of the press in disseminating information countrywide regarding the process and the need for everybody to be counted.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.