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UN to help Kenya conduct population census

19 November 2014, 08:30

Nairobi - An official with the United Nations on Tuesday said the UN will help Kenya conduct its next population census.

United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) Kenya Deputy Representative Gift Malunga told Xinhua in Nairobi her organization will provide technical and financial support for the exercise.

"We will assist in capacity building for the enumerators so that they can collect, analyze and disseminate data," Malunga said on the sidelines of the celebrations to mark the Africa Statistics Day.

The day is celebrated each year in order to increase awareness about the important role statistics played in all aspects of social and economic development in Africa.

She added that the UN and other development partners are providing support to the Civil Registration Department to improve coverage of birth and deaths in Kenya.

She said the East African nation has ensured that national surveys are conducted in a timely and professional manner in order to provide data for evidence based planning, decision making and policy formulation.

"This is a clear demonstration that Kenya recognizes the importance of high quality data in its development agenda as a critical input for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation," she said.

She noted that Kenya's Open Data Initiative, which was launched in 2011, allowed for key government data to be freely available to the public through a single online portal.

"This demonstrates commitment to the UN principles on Freedom of Information enacted in 2000," Malunga said.

"It is our expectation that there will be better planning and more evidence based policies formulated as the Open Data Strategy becomes as reality," Malunga said.

Also read: Albinos threaten to boycott census

She said the UNFPA strongly believes that the achievement of the national development blue print can only be enhanced through plans and strategies that are evidence led and informed by accurate data.

Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning Anne Waiguru said Kenya is advocating for the systematic and increased use of statistics for evidence-based decision making, with a view to enhancing the relevance of statistics.

Waiguru said that statistics plays a vital role in the day-to- day lives of Kenyans.

"Therefore we want to strengthen the awareness and trust of the public in official statistics," she said.

The CS said the right to access public information is the prerequisite to exercising rights and mechanisms of participation.

"A lot of progress has been made towards increasing access to official statistical information, but substantial gaps still remain," she said.

Waiguru added that the guidelines on Open Government Data and Services stress that open data provide the foundation to enable citizens to better understand the way their government works and how tax revenue is spent.

"By involving citizens in decision-making, governments can achieve more efficient and equitable outcomes," the government official said.

"It is therefore necessary to remove barriers hindering access to information in order for political, social and economic participation to be carried out by informed citizens," she added.

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning Peter Mangiti said that Kenya was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish an open data portal.

He said as the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, approaches, there are growing calls for the new post-2015 framework to include goals for more effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions for all.

 - Xinhua

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