“Stakeholders Engagement Key To Successful Census” -LISGIS Official Says Project Has Been Adjusted

A senior member of the management team at the Liberia Institute for Geo-Information Services(LISGIS) , Mr. Wilmot Smith has stressed the need for more robust stakeholders engagement as a way to ensuring the success of having a rewarding conduct of the population and housing census  which will assist policy makers to make informed decision on development purpose in the country .

He said the planned population and housing census earlier scheduled to be held in June this year, will now take place in October due to some adjustments which became necessary during the planning process. He reiterated the readiness of LISGIS to conduct the census which is expected to take place 4 years behind schedule and said training of field workers has been concluded and the results will soon be released  and that financial and logistical support from both the Government of Liberia and international development partners have been massive

Mr. Smith who is the Deputy Director General  for Information Coordination,  made the assertion yesterday , Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at his office when he spoke exclusively in an interview with The Analyst after returning from a regional workshop on improving the use and impact of census result held in Lusaka, Zambia attended by delegates from 20 countries and other international development partners.

He said the workshop afforded him the opportunity to learn some of the trending issues in the conduct of census, especially data collection, analysis and presentation to the public who are end users as well as to the relevant government institutions for crafting out and implementation of development projects. He said though LISGIS has been performing its statutory function such as conducting surveys, there are still some constraints to collect, process, analyse and disseminate timely and accurate data.

“LISGIS from time to time has been performing some of its key statutory responsibility, but there have been some challenges  posed to the institution as the hub of the repository of data in the country. Besides funding, there is the lack of coordination and cooperation from other government institutions who collect their own individual data and makes it impossible to have accurate and synchronized data. Even at that, we need to train their personnel on how to collate, process, analyse and present the data for public consumption”, Mr. Smith said.

When asked whether there is a way LISGIS could enforce compliance for it to be a single source of reliable data information in the country, Mr. Smith said it was not possible to do so but the problem could be alleviated by creating awareness about having a synergy, constant meeting of stakeholders and massive sensitization of the activities of LISGIS so that people and institutions will see the need for LISGIS to be the custodian of a national data center that data from any institution in Liberia will be warehoused there.

He said there is also the need to explore strategies on how census can be utilized to develop ways of generating revenue for the country through the sale of data for research or marketing but that there must be a high degree of reliability of the data.

When asked what was some of the reasons for the workshop and how it is going to impact positively for Liberia, he said the conduct of census is a very delicate issue, therefore getting updated training and being able to interact with leading practitioners in the sector go a long way in learning how to collate and validate data from censuses and surveys which are then disseminated to stakeholders such as the media, policy makers, politicians , businesses, institutions of learning etc.

Mr. Smith made a passionate appeal to the media to lead the awareness campaign so that the ensuing census will have a massive support from the citizens,  acknowledging that a lot is yet to be heard outside there despite the fact that the project should be seen as a key national issue. He said LISGIS is strategizing on how to sell its products to the people so that it can get the support of the citizens it is meant for because a reliable census makes it easier for the government to plan for its citizens.

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