February 11, 2016 By Regina Pratt
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners have provided financial support amounting to US$250,000 for renovation work, procurement of data processing and information technology equipment to Statistics Sierra Leone, including 145 desktop computers, 6 servers and accessories, air conditioners and accessories, and 250kva generator for regular power supply.
At a short ceremony held on Monday, 8 February at the Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) headquarters in Freetown, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi said the opening of the refurbished Data Processing Centre at Statistics Sierra Leone and launch of a training workshop for Census Data Entry staff marked another significant milestone in UNFPA’s support to the institution in conducting a successful census.
He said part of the funds was used as to train data processing staff, adding that UNFPA and partners were confident that the capacity of SSL had been reasonably strengthened to deliver timely and quality census results that would be acceptable to all.
“The centre will provide an opportunity for users of data to place value on the data collected and processed by Statistics Sierra Leone and provides an opportunity for a significant deviation from the culture of collecting huge piles of data and keeping them in unprocessed state for unduly long periods of time until they become obsolete after remaining on dusty shelves endlessly,” he noted.
The UNFPA representative expressed optimism that items donated would aid timely analyses, generation and dissemination of relevant data for use in vital development planning and programming by various stakeholders locally and internationally.
Dr. Ndyanabangi said UNFPA was gratified to commission the Data Processing Centre for the just concluded 2015 Sierra Leone Housing and Population Census, underscoring that the occasion also saw the launch of a training workshop for Census Data Entry staff that were recently recruited.
He expressed thanks on behalf of the United Nations Country Team and UNFPA for their support in diverse ways towards preparatory activities and conduct of the census, adding that the enumeration phase of the census was successfully completed.
He said the census was monitored by teams of international monitors, United Nations Country Team monitors, national monitors and representatives of civil society, who in their final report wrote that, “The census was conducted in accordance with international standards and procedures and was satisfactory and generally good.”
The UNFPA Country Representative said he had been reliably informed that the retrieval of census documents was completed on 15 January, 2016 while data entry of enumeration areas summary sheets was ongoing, and that SSL plans to publish the provisional census results in the last week of March this year.
“The main data entry process starts today with the commissioning of this refurbished Data Processing Centre for SSL and the beginning of training for the Data Entry staff that will end 30 September, 2016,” he said.
Dr. Ndyanabangi said the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) data collection would run from 27 February through 4 March this year.
He disclosed that resources for the PES have been secured and that final results would be published by December 2016, noting that the government has provided most of the resources and commended DFID and Irish Aid for providing financial and technical assistance to Statistics Sierra Leone for the conduct of the 2015 census.
Minister of State, Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Foday Mansaray, gave the keynote address.
He thanked UNFPA and partners for their support as he officially opened the Data Processing Centre and launched the training for Data Entry Operators.