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LISGIS SPELLS OUT ROAD TO 2008 CENSUS


The Liberia institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) became an autonomous agency of Government by an Act of the NTLA on July 22, 2004, and was subsequently signed into Law by former Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant.

LISGIS is responsible for compilation, analysis, publication and dissemination of all data from individuals, establishments and Geo-spatial Information in the country.

But what are the vision and goals of LISGIS? The vision of LISGIS is to be the center of excellence in statistical and geo-spatial production, management and coordination for better planning and national development. Its goals are (1) to establish, develop and maintain a holistic national statistical and spatial data system (NSSDS) and Integrated National Statistical and Spatial Database (NSSD), and (2) to coordinate, monitor and supervise the NSSDS and the NSSD to allow for the provision of holistic gender and geographic sensitivity analysis for timely, relevant and acceptable standard for information to institutions of government, the business and the wider national and international communities.

To provide proper management to this Institution, LISGIS is managed by a Board of Directors, a Director-General and three Deputy Director-Generals who are heading three important departments. LISGIS has and continue to benefit from supports provided by the Government of Liberia and its development partners, including, among others, USAID, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, IMF, World Bank, AfDB, ECOWAS, UNSD, EU, etc.

To further build the human resource of LISGIS, Development partners are providing experts in various fields. They have provided expert to work on staff development and capacity building on the job, study tours in the areas of GIS, National Accounts, Consumer Price Index, etc.

During the 14 years of the civil crisis, Liberia lost all of her statistical databases, comprising of social, economic demographic, population and Housing census data. Since the end of the civil war, data from secondary sources reveal that there have been tremendous changes in Liberian society. Among these changes are partial or complete destruction of villages/towns; massive displacement of people; breakdown in family, law and order; increase in unemployment and poverty, occasioning an increase in casual prostitution; a decline in the age at first sexual intercourse; increase of teenage pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted infections; and, spread of HIV/AIDS.

In addition, the war led to the destruction of the national economy and the country's physical infrastructure such as roads, dwellings, offices, hospitals, educational and health centers, water supply, electricity and telecommunications systems. The war also contributed to the disruption of social institutions and created other social and economic problems such as high levels of disability, trauma, illiteracy, loss of skilled human resource, disruption to formal education, increase in violence against women and children, rape and other forms of sexual assault. The war also led to higher proportions of children living on the streets or away from their parents.

It is widely believed that the war led to the death of over two hundred thousands of people and to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others. However, the actual number of people who died, migrated or were displaced is not known since there are no data on which any reliable estimates could be based. It has become difficult to plan for a population without these basic statistics.

The government is keen to measure the extent of health-related changes in Liberian society, especially to determine: the population size, structure and distribution in Liberia; socio-cultural and educational characteristics; economic activity; marital status; fertility; mortality; migration; profile of the female, children and youth, elderly and handicapped population; characteristics of households and housing; profile of non-monetary poverty in Liberian households; county monographs; demographic atlas of Liberia; etc.

The Government of Liberia conducted censuses in 1962, 1974 and 1984 and the results were 1.1 million, 1.5 million and 2.1 million, respectively. Liberia did not participate in the 1990 and 2000 rounds of the World Population and Housing Censuses due to the civil crisis. Liberia has stayed for the past 23 years without an accurate data on its population base and development program.

The United Nations also recommends that countries conduct censuses every ten years to be able to generate reliable and timely data.

Thus, for reasons indicated above, the Government of Liberia in 2006 requested the UNFPA for support to prepare a Road Map for undertaking the census in March 2008, and the UNFPA provided a CST expert who assisted LISGIS prepared the project document. The document, which placed the estimated cost of the census at US$5.6, was signed by the Government of Liberia and UNFPA in ---- 2006. Of the estimated cost, the Government of Liberia has committed about US$0.4 million, UNFPA about US$1.0 million and USAID about US$0.2 million; leaving a funding gap of about US$4.0 million.

In accordance to the Constitution of Liberia, the National Legislature passed Act on April 21, 2007 mandating the Executive Branch of Government to conduct the National Population and Housing Census in 2008. LISGIS is tirelessly working to meet the target date to conduct the National Population and Housing Census.

In this light, geographic planning being one of the most important preparatory activities that have to be undertaken before conducting the census, LISGIS has recruited, trained and deployed 5 regional coordinators, 16 field mapping teams of 16 supervisors and 48 mapping assistants in all the 5 regions and 15 counties to map the counties. Also, recruited and trained were 75 interviewers (5 from each county) to conduct the pilot census in 75 enumeration areas (5 each selected from each county).

An International Census Cartographic/GIS, a Demographic and a Data Processing Experts have been hired by UNFPA to train LISGIS staff as well as field staff for the mapping, the pilot census and data processing exercises. To date, LISGIS staff and the field staff have been trained. The mapping exercise is ongoing and the pilot census data collection has been completed. The training of the data processing staff and the data processing and analysis of the pilot census data are progressing as scheduled. The census questionnaire and instructions manuals have been developed. A data users and producers workshop was held to discuss and vet the census questions and indicators and their concerns were in cooperated into the final version of the questionnaire. Also considered, were indicators from previous censuses and those recommended by the UN.

The UNFPA and USAID bought and delivered equipment such as vehicles, mapping, data processing, GIS, computer, and software, computers, GPS, etc.

LISGIS and its development partners are planning to launch the census activities shortly. Meanwhile, LISGIS is soliciting the support and corporation of every resident of Liberia to make the census a success.

 

LISGIS: Liberia Institute of Statistics & Geo-Information Services
Statistics House
Tubman Blvd, Sinkor

P.O. Box 629
Monrovia, Liberia