Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Counting the people in Fiji
In Fiji they are counting the people and the census which is supposed to be accurate will surely be only approximate. In Australia it's done for who is where one night only - of course those who sleep under bridges might miss out. In Fiji houses are often full of extra relatives. In Fiji the census has been taken over several days so what about statistics of people who go visiting relatives, fly off overseas, or go fishing. (I'd like to see a cartoon of two bulky security men with the interim PM, his secretary off-sider in Business Class, and then in Economy - a feisty activist girl intent upon her trip to New York). Anyway back to the subject. People-counting is a good idea to get a picture of a people, but I do not know the questions they are asking in each household. Here in Australia there were several questions, even about religion. An explanation of the Fiji Times cartoon - grog means kava, and kanikani is a dry skin condition from too much kava.
(later: I found a few answers to my queries from a Fiji Times interview and here is some of that interview. This Bainimarama is not the IPM. And I think it is mainly about electoral boundaries and internal migration within Fiji. And I think he's reading from a govt. handout.)
Times: How many enumerators, supervisors and support staff will you need for the census period, what are their qualifications and how much will this exercise cost?
Bainimarama: The data collection phase involves significant manpower mobilisation and coordination given that it is conducted simultaneously over the country. Data collection will involve the deployment of 40 superintendents, 90 area coordinators, 1920 enumerators, 475 supervisors and 200 GPS waypoint collection staff, as well as 20 support staff to gather information from households in their assigned areas over a two-week period. The cost of wages and allowances of the area coordinators, enumerators, supervisors and GPS operators alone is around $1.7m.
Times: How will abuse be minimised during this exercise?
Bainimarama: Our planning and budgeting goes down to the enumeration area level and costs are based on the experiences of our field staff. This is to ensure firm control of the allocated funds. We have control measures in place to guard against slipshod work.
Times: What kind of questions should people expect from enumerators?
Bainimarama: Important information gathered from a census includes the following:
Number of people, where they live and population trends;
Population characteristics, such as age, sex, educational attainment and ethnicity;
Economic activities people are engaged in, opportunities available and the informal sector; Labour supply and demand with employment and unemployment details;
Status of children, youth and the elderly; Health indicators such as infant mortality rate and average life expectancy at birth; Details of housing, household amenities, belongings and living conditions; and Internal migration.
Times: How will you verify that the information given by people is the truth?
Bainimarama: Census results are important as a planning tool for making informed policy decisions and that is why we encourage people to be honest and transparent when answering the questionnaire. People need to know that it is important to be honest because the data will be used for: Formulation of policies impacting children, youths and the elderly; Formulation of development plans for villages, settlements and other localities; assessment of living standards today and identifying future needs such as safe water supply, hygienic toilet facilities, sanitary waste disposal, proper housing, electricity, secure land tenure and telecommunication; Labour supply and demand information to put in place training programs and plans to meet the country's needs; Formulation of policies and programs to develop the informal sector, alternative livelihood, and income generating opportunities, which are an effective means of reducing poverty; Revision of the Election Constituency Boundaries, and Information on internal migration to guide the formulation of development strategies in meeting the changing regional needs.