• As VP Taylor provides updates   

Jerromie S. Walters

The non-governmental organization Crusaders for Peace (LCD), which was engaged to create public awareness for the national population and housing census when the process appeared to be in disarray, has successfully climaxed.

At the official climax of the census awareness campaign, the organization hosted an elaborate ceremony in the township of West Point on Thursday, December 15, 2022. The event brought together a large number of government officials, heads of civil society, and ordinary Liberians.

The national government provided funding for the census awareness campaign, which was led by the Crusaders for Peace and carried out all over Liberia by local volunteers. The purpose of the campaign was to inform people living in Liberia about the significance of the census and encourage them to take part in it.

The Crusaders employee who was recruited for the exercise spent several weeks traveling across the country to different communities and districts in order to encourage everyone to take part in the process and to provide them with a better understanding of why they should take part in the process.

However, despite the fact that today was the last day of the regularly scheduled publicity, it is anticipated that the team will carry on with its outreach to various locations all over the country.

The Executive Director of Crusaders for Peace, Ambassador Juli Endee, re-echoed the significance of the census in a brief remark that he made during the event. He noted that the need for the census is very paramount if Liberia is going to be developed, and that the significance of the census cannot be overstated.

She stated that the census is important to Liberia in all of the necessary ways and means, and as a result, everyone residing in Liberia should welcome enumerators from the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) to have their information recorded. She also mentioned that the census is important to the United States.

As a result, individuals who have not been counted should welcome LISGIS staff whenever they show up in their communities. Ambassador Endee revealed that the census will officially come to a close on Saturday, December 17, 2022.

In addition, she stated that even though the regular counting process will end on Saturday, contacts will be made available so that people who might not be counted can get in touch with LISGIS to make sure that they are also counted. This is because the regular counting process will end on Saturday.

At the same time, the head of the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) praised the Crusaders for Peace for rising to the challenge of disseminating information regarding the census, particularly at a time when the census was mired in a number of controversies.

He described the beginning of the census as a step that was essential to take, particularly in light of the fact that he believes some Liberians attempted to politicize it in some manner.

The most recent population and housing census in Liberia was carried out in the year 2008.

Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, which was adopted in 1986, mandates that a national census of both the population and the housing stock be carried out every ten years beginning in 2022.

Meanwhile, as the national population and housing census approaches its climax, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor called on enumerators across the country to make their reports and working tablets available, guaranteeing that they will be paid before the Christmas holiday.

Appearing on ELBC on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, VP Taylor said the census will climax on Saturday, December 17, 2022, and as such, it’s important that recruited workers make available the data gathered from the process in time for final compilation.

She clarified that LISGIS is not responsible for the payment of enumerators, but rather it’s the UNFPA and the World Bank; therefore, workers should turn their reports in,  assuring that they will get paid.

 The Vice President also maintained that the UN has assured that once the process reaches 90 percent in a county, workers in that county will be paid, and as such, she encouraged them to send in their reports in order for them to get paid in time.

 “The money is available, but we need to hurry and get our data in, and we must consider that the UN system will close before Christmas, so you need to send in your reports so that you can get paid.” “I’m encouraging the young people to send in their reports, and I can guarantee that once your information is submitted, you will get the full amount,” she said.

She referenced operational issues, which include the recovery of tablets from enumerators, as a huge challenge for the process at the moment, and as such, she encouraged workers of LISGIS in other counties to assert more efforts in ensuring that their works are completed in order for them to get paid before the Christmas holiday.

Vice President Taylor stated that now that the process in Grand Gedeh county has been completed, the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) will begin paying all workers in the county who have begun to receive their pay.

Moreover, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor further assured that the census process will climax on Saturday, December 17, 2022.

“One of the counties that we are having an issue with is Montserrado, and despite the challenges, we are currently at 77 percent, and all of the other counties are at really good numbers, so between now and Saturday, we are hoping to conclude this entire process, and by that time, we are sure that everyone will be counted,”  she said.

Meanwhile, though the regular counting process will end on Saturday, the VP said they have also resolved to provide contacts through which individuals who weren’t counted can communicate with LISGIS to ensure that they are counted also.

According to her, the exercise will be active only for next week, to ensure that no one is left out of the process.

Moreover, VP Taylor said the process targeted 4.9 million, and about 4 million people have been counted over the last three weeks.

She stated that there were 1,428,074 households in the country, with 93 percent of the total number identified.

The LISGIS procedure is based on the number of households highlighted in the first phase of the process, which allows enumerators to count the total number of people in the second phase.

Providing some statistical updates on the census so far, the Vice President said that though the team is confronted with some challenges in Montserrado County, they are at 77 percent and the counting process is still ongoing.

In Bomi County, she disclosed that 264 houses out of 303 have been enumerated, which is around 84 percent of the total household population in the county.

Also In Grand Gedeh, she said that out of 435 households, the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Service LIGIS team has exhausted 100 percent, meaning that everyone in the county has been counted.

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor further articulated that other counties, to include Lofa County, are at 99 percent.

The Vice President made a point of mentioning that the process has also been hampered by technical issues, and that UNFPA has provided technical assistance to ensure that enumerators in difficult-to-reach areas have access to information about the status of their reports.

At the same time, she narrated that most of the challenges, especially in Montserrado, were a result of politics, emphasizing that it’s unhealthy for the process, especially considering what it stands for.

She added that the controversies surrounding the census from the onset were also a result of the lack of adequate information provided to the public.

She further commended government shareholders and international partners for their efforts towards the census process.

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