Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) is set to conduct a trial run in November to test its new paperless computer assisted personal interview technique in preparation for the national population and housing census on a date to be set by April 2022.
The trial run will be conducted from 18 to 27 November as the agency introduces the new system in the country, although the demographic mapping done some months ago saw ZimStat staff recording data on a tablet.
Speaking during a capacity building workshop in Kwekwe yestersday, Zimstat director general Mr Taguma Mahonde said the pilot census was meant to test the state of preparedness.
“Pilot census is meant to position us for the 2022 population and house census,” he said.
“Ideally, we could have held it under the same conditions, that is we could have conducted it in April as the norm.
“However, we are holding it in November so that we test our logistical, and general preparedness to conduct the enumeration using the new method come 2022.”
Mr Mahonde said census was not a once-off event.
“As you are aware, we are doing away with paper and using a tablets system,” he said.
“We are also designing a tablet questionnaire as we go paperless. This, therefore, means we are going to put all these into test before the actual census.
“If we detect a problem, we can go back to the field and try to iron out the challenge until we are ready for the 2022 census.”
The new method, said Mr Mahonde, is expected to do away with the data capturing exercise which usually lasted 24 months, thereby prolonging the release of preliminary results.
Preliminary results are now expected within three months when using the new method which we are putting to test, he said.
Mr Mahonde said Treasury increased the initial budget for the census up from $87 million to $98 million to cater for personal protective clothing since the census was being done under Covid-19 prevention rules.
He said the mapping exercise was now in motion.
“We started with only 14 teams, but we have since increased them to 72 teams which are on the ground conducting the mapping exercise so that the enumerators will each have about 100 households for the enumeration process,” said Mr Mahonde. “So far, I can safely say we are done with Bulawayo as well as 32 rural districts. By January 2022, we would have done with the mapping process.”
Mr Mahonde said the mapping exercise was expected to be complete by January next year with the census set for April.
He said the mapping will involve the subdivision of the whole country into numeration areas with an average of 100 households each.