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Young Statisticians from various African countries currently in Lesotho for the 2016 Population and Housing Census have expressed gratitude to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund for having supported their participation in the census process.

“The future of Africa is in our hands as young people. We are grateful and say thank you to UNFPA for this opportunity”, said one of the Statisticians Paul Tambwe Nawez from Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Statisticians said they were able to visit various areas in Lesotho where they identified challenges that enumerators came across such as having to walk long distances, having to ride horses to access some areas and lack of electricity as well as power banks not working. “At Mant’sonyane, in the remotest areas, we observed as the Census Coordinator had to collect the tablets from enumerators every evening for charging and bringing them back in the evening,” they said.

Meanwhile, UNFPA Technical Advisor on Population Data and Data for Development Policy Dr Mady Biaye said it was important for the young statisticians to participate in this first census undertaken through the use of hand held mobile devices (Android Tablets). “We wanted to make sure that we groom expertise in the area by having the young statisticians from around Africa to participate,” he stated adding that Lesotho is the first country in Africa to use the hand held devices and the first to use the devices for the census within the United Nations 2020 Round of censuses.

The Technical Advisor also congratulated Lesotho for the decision to use mobile devices for the full implementation of the census, adding, “I have seen enumerators in Lesotho working passionately and I am confident we will have a very successful digital census”. Enumeration, which commenced on the 10th April, 2016 was officially completed on Sunday, the 24th April, 2016 but this week up until the 30th April, 2016 enumerators will attend to call backs.  The young statisticians are from South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo.