By: O’Neill A. R. Philips
In the quest to propagate massive awareness on the pending National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) slated for October 24 through November 7, 2022, the management of Liberia Institute for Geo – Information Services (LISGIS) has held a one-day editors forum.
The forum, according to LISGIS is intended to update editors of various media outlets in the country on the NPHC project and to solicit support in promulgating the enumeration activities and messages and to strengthen media engagement and help raise awareness about the census.
LISGIS Deputy Director for Information and Coordination, Wilmot Smith said the forum will enhance editors’ capacity in reporting on statistical issues concerning the census and will add value to media content concerning the census.
He said editors are best suited to engage negative propaganda about the national census.
“We count on you editors to provide clarity on matter about the census,” Mr. Smith said. You have a voice, you are role model,” he added.
The Deputy LISGIS boss charged editors to become ambassadors for the NPHC ensuring that the disinformation and misinformation are dispelled appropriately.
He used the occasion to outline several achievements done by government and partners aimed at ensuring the census is successful.
Mr. Smith said government has made available its portion of fund to the “basket fund” in the tone of 3.7 million United States Dollars while its partners are made available the remaining fund to host the NPHC.
The total of US$24,943,255 was budgeted by government and its partners to have a successful National Census, but according to LISGIS it was able to work out technical modalities that reduced that amount to 23,071,426.
The Statistics House top manager also said the operational and administrative measures to have the census conducted peacefully is well on course.
At the same time, the NPHC National Coordinator, Mr. Germue Gbawoquiya made a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate the level of preparedness LISGIS has accomplished in the conduct of the NPHC.
He said all technical modalities including a nationwide geographic mapping has been concluded while a map production of the enumerating areas (EAs) is ongoing.
Mr. Gbawoquiya asserted that project management and coordination is at advanced stage and well engaged while UNFPA continues to centrally manage the census multi – partner polled resources fund, utilizing the UNFPA internal control framework at each level.
He emphasized LISGIS preparedness to conduct this year NPHC with all technical and operational mechanism being well placed.
However, Mr. Gbawoquiya indicated several challenges including bad roads and internet connectivity being faced by the deployment team of LISGIS are been mitigated through the provision of rented motorbikes and procuring of internet services through LIBTELCO.
Meanwhile, the Director of Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Lawrence Fahnbulleh who proxy on behalf of Assistant Minister Daniel Nuxe Thomas committed MICAT’s firm engagement with LISGIS in the disseminating truths about the NPHC.
Mr. Fahnbulleh said MICAT will provide a day-to-day update on the NPHC and called on the media to constructively provide information about the census.
“Editors must do due diligence on reporting on the census,” he said. “The Government of Liberia takes this census seriously,” he added.
The MICAT Public Affairs Director admonished editors to “knock” on the doors of MICAT and LISGIS whenever they need additional information concerning the NPHC in the interest of the public.
This year NPHC is Liberia first digital census; Liberia has acquired about 18,000 tablets to conduct this year census.
The acquisition of the tablets will help enumerators to collect data through Geo – Information Service, providing a better outcome in field enumeration.
According to LISGIS, there are 13,800 EAs while it is in the process of recruiting about 17,000 enumerators and supervisors.
The Statistics House said approximately 154 persons have been trained to train the enumerators.
The 2022 NPHC will make available general development planning, monitoring, and evaluation tools that will track the progress of Liberia’s development agenda, including the Pro – Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Meanwhile, the forum brought together several editors from ELBC, Brush FM/Tv, OK FM, Women Voices, Independent Inquirer, New Dawn, Bana FM, D15 Radio, Daily Observer, Inprofile Daily, to name a few.