Religious and traditional leaders have been urged to educate their followers on the importance of the upcoming National Housing and Population Census and the need for them to be receptive to field officers who will be engaged in the exercise in June this year.
This is because enumerators are sometimes denied access to homes to collect data for the exercise.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the agency responsible for conducting censuses in the country, when enumerators were not allowed to collect the needed data, it affected the quality and reliability of census results.
It explained that housing and population data were critical tools for national development, since they helped in the proper planning and distribution of resources by both the central government and local authorities.
At a press soiree in Accra, a Deputy Chief Trainer of the GSS, Mr Patrick Adzovor, said even though all was set for the census to take off, it would require the collaboration and cooperation of all key stakeholders to ensure a successful exercise.
“The census is such that the GSS cannot do it alone, so we bring all stakeholders on board. Religious bodies are part of it; the media who are here are all part. So it is up to us to engage all of them to sensitise their people, so that when we get there, they will not reject us,” he said.
Mr Adzovor said more publicity would be done to get everyone counted, adding that all logistics, including tablets and power banks to be used by field officers (enumerators) to collect the data, were ready.
On the issue of funding, he said the government was providing all the resources needed for the census, which will cost about GH¢521 million.
Why the census?
The conduct of the census is in accordance with the Statistical Service Law, 1985 (PNDCL 135), which empowers the Government Statistician to conduct statistical surveys and any census in Ghana.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on March 19, this year launched the 100 day-count down to the Census Night, which is Sunday, June 27, 2021.
The Census Night is the reference date for census enumeration and, therefore, all questions asked during the enumeration will relate to that night. It also determines the actual date for the conduct of the 2021 Census.
The census will indicate the total number of people and housing types and their characteristics in every town or village in the country.
It will help both the central and the local government, including the private sector, to plan their programmes.
This year’s census was originally planned to take off in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise had to be rescheduled.
Ghana conducted its first census in 1891, during British colonial rule. It has, since independence, conducted five censuses — 1960, 1970, 1984, 2000, with the most recent one being the 2010 census, which said Ghana’s population then was 24.7 million.
Another Deputy Trainer at the GSS, Mr Moses Ansah, said the GSS would use 75,000 enumerators to conduct this year’s census, after going through a series of training.
So far, five chief trainers have trained 108 master trainers, who in turn conducted virtual training for 1,744 national trainers.
Mr Ansah said the national trainers were expected to train 8,775 regional trainers, after which the latter would be posted to the 272 districts to train 75,000 field officers.
He said six different questionnaires had been designed for the training exercise, adding: “We will train them on all the instruments for them to understand every aspect of the questionnaire.”
The Head of Instrument Design, Planning and Analysis of the GSS, Mr Godwin Odei Gyebi, said the tools designed for the exercise were elaborate enough.
According to him, the census would provide comprehensive, reliable, quality, relevant, accurate and timely statistical information to guide national development.
He, therefore, appealed to the people to avail themselves to be counted, saying after the Census Night, people who would enter the country would not be counted.
For his part, the Head of Publicity, Education and Advocacy of the GSS, Mr Francis Nyarkoh-Larbi, entreated media practitioners to serve as good ambassadors for the exercise by using their platforms to educate people on the need to be counted.