By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The National Population Commission, NPC, has commenced State Level Training for 109 field personnel in Benue state to be engaged in the coming Trial Census scheduled for Monday June 27 to Friday July 8, 2022.

The 12 day training, which is taking place at the Benue State University Auditorium in Makurdi is to equip field functionaries with the required skills to effectively and efficiently deliver on the exercise. 

Declaring the training open, the Federal Commissioner, NPC Benue State, Mrs. Patricia Kupchi explained that the trainees consisting of facilitators, supervisors and enumerators were carefully selected for the Trial Census through an online recruitment process. 

The Federal Commissioner stated that the exercise would be conducted from July 11 to 24, 2022 pointing out that the house numbering would take place from July 11 to 16, to be followed by validation of Enumeration Area, EA, from July 17 to 19 and the enumeration of persons from July 20 to 24, 2022. 

She said the exercise would be a dress rehearsal to the actual census scheduled for next year with the aim of evaluating all aspects of the census operations before the main census on a limited scale. 

According to her “the Trial Census, also known as the ‘census dress rehearsal’, is one of the pre-census activities. It is a process in which all census operations are tested in a detailed and comprehensive manner.

“This takes place, ideally and as a matter of best practice, one year ahead of the actual census date, when major external circumstances, such as season (weather), holiday periods, school year schedule, etc. can be expected to be similar to the situation, when the census proper will be conducted.

“The Trial census tests all phases of the main census, from pianning to the execution of the plans, logistics arrangement and management, questionnaire design and format, training procedures, fieldwork operations, publicity, payment system, data processing, data tabulations and analysis.

“And the objectives are to assess the quality of the EA maps, determine requisite educational qualification for enumerators, estimated workload of the enumerators, logistics support for the main Census among others.”

Mrs. Kupchi said “In Benue State, the Trial Census will take place in nine Local Government Areas, LGAs including Katsina-Ala, Kwande and Ushongo in Zone A. Guma, Gwer East and Gwer West in Zone B as well as Ado, Oju and Obi in zone C.”

The Commissioner noted that “the quality of the personnel for the Trial Census has a great impact on its outcomes. The need to properly train the enumerators and supervisors at the state level cannot be over-emphasized.

“For the next few days, participants will be taught the rudiments, alongside the necessary skills with practical demonstrations of operations in the field, with the overall effort to deliver a truly scientific Trial Census that can prepare the ground for a credible and acceptable census next year.

“Therefore, the conduct of this state training workshop for field personnel is our strategy of making sure that we have a fully equipped and solid based manpower for the trial census.

“The Commission is determined to successfully conduct the Trial Census in our quest to deliver a credible, reliable, acceptable and verifiable census to the nation.

“It is in this regard that the Commission will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Trial Census is carried out meticulously, professionally and scientifically to provide a good foundation for the smooth conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.”

Mrs. Kupchi stated that “the Commission has introduced new technologies such as CensusPAD and CSPro to ensure that the exercise serves as a good rehearsal that will make the 2023 Population and Housing Census credible, reliable and acceptable.

“The geospatial and infrastructure data as well as the enumeration form shall be uploaded on the tablets, also called Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), which are ultra-portable computers that can run a variety of software programs. Based on the above, the data collection in the

Trial census will be Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAP).

“To ensure that the Trial Census does not lose focus in view of predetermined objectives and processes, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) instruments have been developed to assess the extent to which objectives are being met or not and whether the processes are being adhered to or not.

“l am therefore, confident that the knowledge and skills to be acquired at this workshop will no doubt equip functionaries to efficiently and effectively carry out their task. It is my hope that the objectives of this workshop will also impact positively on all aspects of the preparations and execution of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.”

The Commissioner assured of the preparedness of the NPC to conduct a credible, reliable, and acceptable 2023 Population and Housing Census in the state.

Highpoint of the event was the administration of the oath of secrecy on the trainees by the acting Assistant Chief Registrar of the Benue State High Court of Justice, Mr. Vincent Kor.

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