GoL, Partners Testify To Census Progress -Call for Sustained Engagement To End of Exercise

MONROVIA – Delays and complications that berserk the holding of this year’s National Population and Housing Census nearly caused constitutional crisis and the derailment of the democratic gains made since the end of the civil conflict. Even despite assurances that the process finally got underway, skeptics still hold fast to their doomsday mentality, conjecturing that the because of the initial hiccups, the outcome would be far from better. But it seems those who have put colossal sums of monies into this historic national project, the Government of Liberia and its international partners, are saying something else: that things are on the rightful course, and that better is underway.  They issued a statement of reassurance yesterday, as The Analyst reports. 

Liberia’s International Partners supporting the 2022 National Population and Housing Census have released a joint press statement, stating that they are closely monitoring the progress of the ongoing enumeration across Liberia and are optimistic that the Census will be completed despite challenges from the onset.

After visiting select counties, including Montserrado and Lofa, to interact with the census field staff and to observe the progress of the ongoing census enumeration, the partners say they are confident and hopeful that at the end of the process, Liberia will have the much-needed updated data to aid development-planning.

The field visits and meetings were carried out by the Swedish Ambassador and his team, the USAID Mission Director, the World Bank Country Manager, and the UNFPA Representative and her team, along with LISGIS management and the expressed intent was to monitor the census data collection and reporting process, understand challenges faced and how they are being resolved, and to see first-hand how citizens are being engaged on the Census.

 The partners are commending the people of Liberia and foreign residents for their cooperation by allowing the Census enumerators access their homes and responding patiently to their questions.

The partners have further called for sustained efforts from everyone involved in the exercise to complete the remaining enumeration and transmission of the data collected to ensure that the process results in the availability of good-quality data.

According to them, they were also impressed with the census field staff for their diligence and commitment to duty despite the challenges they faced in the field, indicating that they were pleased to see the innovative community mobilization activities to spread awareness about the Census and encourage people to participate.

 Reflecting on his visit, the Swedish Ambassador Urban Sjöström said: “During our visit to communities in Greater Monrovia, Congo Town Township, Paynesville Township, and Todee District in Montserrado County, we met committed census field staff who demonstrated the competence and commitment to ensure the successful completion of the Census.

 “Sweden is happy to see the Census moving forward and that some counties have nearly finished counting their constituents. We need to sustain our efforts to the finishing line.”

For his part, USAID Mission Director Jim Wright said: “I am visiting Lofa this week, where I received a briefing on the census from the County LISGIS Director, who told me that nearly 100% of households in the county had been counted. He attributed this achievement to strong support from local officials and an effective media campaign that used community radio to educate people about the importance of participating in the census. I am impressed by the performance of the LISGIS Team here, and I strongly believe that other counties can learn important lessons from the reasons for Lofa’s success as they conduct their own census.”

Also speaking about the field visit, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwima Nthara said: “It is pleasing to see that after initial teething problems, significant progress has been made in the enumeration exercise. All stakeholders must be commended for the roles they have played in resolving the challenges. The results of the Census will be critical to Liberia’s development planning and resource mobilization.”

Another valued partner, UNFPA Liberia Country Representative Bidisha Pillai put it this way: “UNFPA remains committed to supporting Liberia to deliver a credible census that upholds international principles and standards and produces data for development. The institution of several processes leveraging technology is greatly facilitating the Census this time around. The use of technology makes it possible to continuously assess coverage, data quality, and correct errors and inconsistencies while enumerators are still on the field. Despite the initial challenges, good progress has been made, and sustained efforts will result in the much needed data; essential for development planning.”

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