The corona virus pandemic upended a huge chunk of the pilot census plan. It is not the only pitfall that threatens the smooth running of the decennial project, the rainy seasons provide the hazards of inclement weather conditions as well. However National Census Coordinator, Mr. Kwenagape Mogotsinyane is upbeat that Statistics Botswana will pull off a stupendous exercise, he shares the ace in his sleeve.
Good day Sir
Gooday to you too sir.
Please share with us what prompted the postponement of Pilot Census?
The inability to execute major activities leading to pilot census due to COVID-19 regulations has forced us to postpone pilot census from August to November 2020.
How has this affected your initial plan for the Census Pilot?
The advent of coronavirus pandemic and the response by the Government of Botswana by way of instituting COVID-19 regulations/restrictions. The main factor is Extreme Social Distancing that emanated in the lockdown and restricted holding of meetings in terms of length of the meeting, frequency and number of attendees. In order to prepare for conducting the 2021 Census, including the pilot census which was already slated for August 2020. These activities are part of implementation of census program. The project itself, functions with many external stakeholders and to achieve the implementation, meetings and workshops have to be executed, as planned. The COVID-19 regulations impacted on progress of all these activities, including procurement and instruments development.
What mitigation strategies are in place to ensure that the completion of the pilot does not affect the actual Census in 2021?
Fast tracking procurement, instruments development, holding meetings with stakeholders, conducting workshops, recruiting enumerators and procuring training centers; all these done between now and September so that we train enumerators in October, will take us to conducting pilot census in November 2020. That’s the grand plan!
What other major census activities are affected by the postponement?
As mentioned above, that we have many external stakeholders, particularly the officials at the districts, transfers of District Commissioners, Deputy District Commissioners and those part of the District Administration and Council Authorities who were appointed District Census Officers; when any of these people get transferred, they leave a gap because they are already well informed and ready to execute census activities in the district.
Should the pandemic prevail beyond your targeted schedule of Census pilot what long term plan is in place, is there a possibility of PHC being rescheduled post year 2021?
One does not see the possibility of the main census not being conducted because Coronavirus pandemic is expected to subside or stabilize in due course. Moreover, the world over people are beginning to understand the virus and slowly adapting to living with it, if at all it shall persist a little longer than expected Botswana is no exception to this adaptation.
Lastly Sir, anything you would like to share concerning this postponement and the overall view of the project execution?
November is a rainy month and we are prepared in that we shall procure umbrellas and raincoats as may be required at different parts of the country. Any other mitigations will be instituted depending on peculiarities. Finally, as we are gearing up and doubling efforts, it is my sincere belief that we shall all win and conduct pilot census in November 2020.