The Governor of the Upper River Region (URR), Mr. Omar Khan, has recently launched the 2013 population and housing census mapping exercise in the region at ceremony held at the Regional Education Office hall in Basse. The launching, said to be the first of its kind, was attended by government officials, representatives from UNFPA, GBOS, and NGOS, civil society organizations, local authorities, traditional communicators and the media.
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In his remark, the Governor Khan, speaking on behalf of the Gambia Government, said the Gambia conducts a combination of population and housing census every 10 years as a practice which started in 1973 and that 2013 will be the fifth. He said the objectives of the exercise among others is to update the enumeration and district maps for enumeration of persons and users of houses used during census, up date sampling frame for in surveys between census, established and Integrated Geographic Information System(GIS)for the purpose of producing thematic maps which shows census results vis a vis service delivery through maps at Local Government Area, District and country levels as well as improve the knowledge on main characteristics of population in the country in other to better understand the interrelationship of population and development. He underscored the importance of population and housing census in providing a comprehensive national data based on number of persons and their socio economic characteristics. This, according to Governor Khan, enables evidence based decision making at all levels for efficient management of our economic and social resources in particular Human Resource.
He pointed out that information obtained from 2013 population and housing census will therefore provide the Government and other stakeholders data on the size, structure and various socio economic characteristics of the population. He further said that six mapping teams have been deployed in the URR as of 1july 2011.Each team, he said, constitutes a supervisor, mapping assistance and driver. He said the coordination team is also on the ground to coordinate and backstop on all field mapping activities. Apart from the field mapping teams, he said, there is also mapping staff at the GBOS office who will work on the GIS to transform the data collected from the field and maps produced in GIS.
He thanked the UNFPA for the numerous contributions to the 2013 census, particularly for funding the mapping exercise as well as providing technical assistance.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Lamin Nyabally, said the day is an important day and that since 1973 the government has empowered the Bureau of Statistic to be responsible for collecting data on people. He said for any meaningful development to take place there must be planning which, he said, also depends on the quality of data. He therefore said that without proper mapping of the enumeration areas the quality of information to be collected could be difficult to attai.
He urged the district authorities for their maximum support, while advising the mapping teams to respect the culture, traditions and norms of the communities.
Mr Alieu Ndow, the Statistician General, Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) and Mr. Saikou Trawally, Director of UNFPA also made similar remarks and urged the people to support what they called the most important national event.
Other speakers include Omar Sompo Ceesay Chairman of Basse Area Council (BAC), Mawdo Susso, Chief of Basse, Hammeh Minteh Krubally and Chief June Bah.
The ceremony was chaired by Hon. Sellou Bah, National Assembly Member (NAM) for Basse Constituency amidst entertainment with cultural performances the traditional communicators.