The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has set Sunday, June 28, for the commencement of the 2020 Population and Housing Census.
It has also initiated the process of recruiting field personnel and employing the services of 70,000 enumerators in districts across the country in the lead-up to the census.
This was disclosed to the Daily Graphic by the Deputy Government Statistician, Mr David Yenukwa Kombat, after the sixth annual public lecture of the Baraka Policy Institute (BPI) on the 2020 Population and Housing Census in Accra last Tuesday.
Initially, the GSS had fixed March this year for the commencement of the Population and Housing Census.
However, during the release of the December 2019 Consumer Price Index and Inflation Rates on January 8, 2020, the service indicated that the exercise was likely to be moved forward.
The change in date was informed by observations from the completed field census mapping exercise, which revealed the need for the redesigning of technological interventions necessary for the completion of coverage, enhanced accuracy and timely release of the census results.
According to Mr Kombat, the GSS would decentralise field operations and also make available a central database on its website for the recruitment of field personnel and enumerators.
He said because the census was a huge exercise, the recruitment would be done in the districts, adding: “Every district is going to recruit its own field personnel and enumerators.”
“In districts where we realise that many people have not applied, we will move there physically to engage them in order to ensure that we get the best people to do the work,” he added.
He announced that as part of the pre-enumeration processes, the GSS had also set up district census documentation committees, with district coordinating directors as the administrative heads who had been mandated to monitor the recruitment of field personnel and the census at the district level.
He said the regional census documentation committees would also ensure that the census was carried out smoothly in all the regions.
Mr Kombat revealed that the GSS was engaging various stakeholders, including members of academia and religious and community leaders, to become ambassadors of the exercise.
That, according to him, would ensure full cooperation for an effective census.
The public lecture, which was the sixth organised since the inception of the BPI in 2014, was on the theme: “Ghana’s 2020 population census — The community responsibility factor”.
The event was designed by the BPI to provoke reflections on critical areas that needed attention as far as Ghana’s national development was concerned.
It brought together stakeholders, including students in tertiary institutions, policy makers, lecturers and traditional leaders.
Presentations were on the topics: “Ensuring accurate and reliable national population census – The community responsibility” and “National population census: Implications and dynamics for effective social policy interventions”.
In his presentation, the Provost of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Imoro Braimah, said there was the need for intensive public education, particularly for community leaders, explaining that “if this is done, community members will be able to welcome enumerators with an open hand, and once you openly welcome them, they will also feel comfortable for a very excellent interaction”.
He urged community leaders to encourage their members to participate in the census.
For her part, an associate professor of Sociology and former Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at the University of Ghana, Ms Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, called for the mass dissemination of general findings and specialised data on socio-demographic and economic conditions for effective social policy making.
Highlighting some challenges in population and housing census, she said weak policy planning and monitoring departments in the public service and local government hampered data uptake for planning purposes.
The Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah ,encouraged the public to be interested in getting counted.
“A census is used to formulate developmental projects and policies governing a community. As it is in the field of health, if you are not diagnosed, you cannot be given the right drug to fight the specific illness you are encountering,” she added.
She stressed that the census was to be complemented with active administrative data which provided frequent updates on Ghana’s actual population, since the last census was done 10 years ago.