REMARKS BY THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF STATE FOR PLANNING, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND VISION 2030, DR EDWARD SAMBILI, CBS ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF THE 2009 POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS RESULTS AT THE KICC ON 31ST AUGUST 2010
Hon. Minister for Planning, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, EGH, MP
All invited Guests
Ladies and Gentleman
On the night of August 24 last year, the entire population of Kenya made a lifelong investment by agreeing to participate in the national population and housing census. We are proud as a ministry that today we are finally putting the fruits of that investment in the hands of all Kenyans. The ministry is grateful for the support given by various sectors, individuals and organizations, towards the preparations, the enumeration exercise and finally the processing of the results. I am happy to say that Kenya has once again made it into the history books, this time by being the first African country to release the comprehensive census results within one year after the enumeration exercise.
I wish from the onset to thank all development partners that provided financial and technical support to the processes, included USAID, UNDP, UNFPA and the World Bank. I wish also to thank the various committees that were established at the national and districts levels to spearhead the census processes. These committees worked round the clock to engage stakeholders in the census decision-making process, as well as to recruit and train enumerators and supervisors. Many other players who helped in the sensitization process, included faith-based organizations, residentsâ€™ associations and the media. All these played a crucial role in making the census achieve over 90 percent participation rate, which was quite commendable.
We know that there have been some issues raised regarding an apparent delay in releasing the census results. However I would want to categorically say that the census data is a resource so precious to the future of this country that only the most careful processing would have been acceptable. Good decisions are based on good information, and the census is a very powerful source of high quality information for a wide range of public and private decisions. The Census is by far the most comprehensive source of information about our most important resource â€“ the people.
The enumeration stage, which many may have wrongly assumed to be the close to the final stage, is really the shortest. Data processing, including data entry, editing and tabulating, evaluating and analyzing of the results are stages that are crucial, time-consuming and prone to error, even when computers are used. It is no coincidence that the word â€˜censusâ€™ does not merely mean counting, but rather comes from the Latin word that implies â€˜to assessâ€™.
While past events may have contributed to the anxiety regarding the apparent delay, my ministry chose the path of patience, to come up with results that could stand the integrity and test of time. We were also careful to adhere to the accepted international standards of carrying out censuses. This involved several years of preparation to develop methods that would achieve the desired goals of the census.
The second stage of data collection, which was the most visible to the population, was also quite extensive and required complex logistic preparation. The third stage entailed receipt of the information, identification and correction of errors, editing of the data collected, imputation of missing data and calculation of estimates. It also entailed data assessment, from which a picture emerged of the extent of coverage of the population and the quality of the information produced
Having said that, we have prepared a video that shows the various post-enumeration processes that have to be undertaken, and this video can be made available to the public on request.
As the first step, my ministry will release figures relating to extent and distribution of the population. Apart from the overall figure on the number of Kenyans, we will also be giving results of the population distribution by administration and political units as well as by settlement patterns. We shall also be sharing data on social and economic characteristics of our population. As you may recall, some of the questions covered in the census included education levels, employment status, disability status, ownership of household equipment, housing conditions and available amenities.
With the promulgation of the new constitution, the census data will also act as a fundamental building block for many legislative decisions regarding national and county economic policies such as allocation of resources. Decisions on where we build our schools, hospitals, roads and airports; private investment decisions such as where retail outlets should be located; academic research gaps needing to be filled â€“ all these will be determined by sound empirical evidence.
Todayâ€™s event is just the beginning, as my ministry will follow the national release with much more over the coming months. As we gradually release various facts and figures, people working in various sectors will be able to use that data for a host of worthwhile purposes, whether they are governments, businesses, community groups or students doing assignments.
As the rich flow of information derived from the census continues over the next several months during disseminations, I believe the full value of the 2009 national exercised will be realized.