Preps to conduct the 2020 Census underway 

As a country grows in population, many fundamental issues fall into play with regards to how governments can plan for the growth in population and implement policies in order to push the developmental agenda forward.

Governments can only know the exact number of people in a given locality across the country if a census is carried out.

The uses of a census are many. According to the 2020 Population and Housing Census document by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) published in June 2017, census contribute to the overall planning and management of national affairs by providing essential baseline data for policy-making planning and administrative purposes.

In simpler terms, Census help to identify areas of need and also create a reliable data base that scholars, academicians, government departments and ministries can use effectively. For investors, census plays a significant role and helps them to know where to invest and what to invest respectively.

The United Nations defines a Population and Housing Census as the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analysing and publishing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specific time, to all person in a country or well-defined part of the country.

Furthermore, the United Nations also recommends that population censuses be taken at least every 10 years. To this effect Zambia has conducted five censuses on National Population and Housing in 1969,1980,1990,2000 and 2010. The 2020 census is going to be the sixth in the sequence.

For a successful census to be carried out the support from different stakeholders and Cooperating Partners is vital.

It is against this background that stakeholders were invited to the 2020 Census Launch of the Questionnaire Consultative meeting held at Radisson Blu Hotel recently.

Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary for Development Planning and Administration Chola Chabala was at hand to grace the colorful event.

Various stakeholders stemming from civil society organizations, scholars, academicians, cooperating partners, the private sector and government officials among other attended the important meeting.

The reviewing process of the 2020 Census questionnaire which started on Monday 27th May will go on for the next four weeks.

Mr. Chabala emphasized the importance of ensuring that the 2020 census continues to portray societal changes of primary interest.

He added that as part of the consultative process, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) wants to ensure that the current content of the 2020 Census questionnaire reflects the desires of stakeholders and users that it meets their aspirations.

Mr. Chabala further added that the main goal of the consultative process is to ensure that data users and stakeholders across Zambia are consulted to give views on the type and extent of socio-economic information they believe the census should provide.

And CSO Acting Director Goodson Sinyenga noted that after the consultation processes which ends on June 26 2019, the questionnaire will be pre-tested and the refined version will be used during the pilot census in August 2019.

He appealed to stakeholders to provide feedback to the secretariat in the shortest possible time considering the limited time between now and August.

At the same occasion, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative (UNFPA) Gift Malunga said the consultative meeting was an important milestone in the Roadmap of the 2020 Population and Housing Census. 

Ms Malunga acknowledged the sustained partnership between the UN in Zambia and the Central Statistical Office.

She stressed that the availability of quality, timely and disaggregated data is critical, not only to the Government, but also to all stakeholders, as it informs targeted investments at various levels and sectors.