By Tione Andsen
Residents of Area 49 in New Gulliver in Lilongwe Saturday forced National Statistical Office (NSO) officials to re-deploy new set of enumerators to re-do the ongoing Population Housing Census (PHC) exercise after noting some anomalies.
Over 60 households claimed to have been registered for the Census yet the enumerator did not conduct any interviews.
Through New Gulliver WhatsApp group, One of the residents had asked members of the group on the process of the current PHC where his house was marked without the enumerator collecting any data.
From the discussions on the group, it was revealed that the enumerator was supposed to mark the house after concluding collecting the data but this was not the case.
The Enumerator for the Area had marked three neighbouring houses in Street 2 as PHC/0063/A, PHC/0092/A and PHC/0091/A.
A random check by Malawi News Agency (Mana) discovered that most houseboys and maids saw the numerator writing on the gates of the houses but did not conduct any interviews or ask anything regarding the households.
This was on the 12th day of the exercise where by an enumerator is supposed to cover about 200 to 250 houses within his or her enumeration area.
One resident wrote, “In a survey that is possible to just write on the gate and they will come later. Am also not yet to be interviewed but am sure if they will come again.”
He explained that enumerators were given enumeration area and they are listing households first so that they know manyhouseholds are in their area of operation and conduct door to door interviews later.
A New Gulliver resident, Masida Mbano added that,“for us they have written on the gate as an indication that they have done their job but in true sense they did no collect anything information from us.”
He said according to NSO they could only write on the gate once they have interviewed the households which is an indication that they are through.
“At the end of the census will have a projection of 18 million people in the country and yet some enumerators are just entering data which is not collect. We need to take up the matter with NSO this is a national exercise which crucial to the development of the country,” Mbano observed.
ASurprised resident, Sunday Mkandawire said Census Supervisor for Gulliver was wondering as how an enumerator could mark and number a house or gate with chalk as if residents or occupants were interviewed.
“Houses or plots 1149/and 1150 and other were marked to indicate done yet the occupants were not interviewed. The NSO official has gone to check for supervisor of the area,” he commented.
One resident, Martha Elisa indicated that, “If you have any concerns regarding Census enumeration please do not hesitate to contact your village leaders who will take it up with control centre supervisor assigned in your area,”
She said Census is supposed to be credible as possible and it is the responsibility of all of us.
When asked for clarification, a Chancellor College lecture of Population studies, Dr. Benjamin Kaneka said it was wrong for the enumerators to just label the gates without collection any data from the household.
He promised to find out from the NSO coordinators on the issue.
“I have contacted the Districts Superior for Lilongwe, Mr.Mandere to look into the issue further because this not what is supposed to happened,” Kaneka pointed out.
During the launch of the Census in June, the Lecturer appealed to residents from low destiny areas to makethemselvesavailable for the exercisesincethey are a number of issues and information to be provided.
Kenaka added that the precious census enumerators had tough time to access low destiny areas where residentwere not available to providevitalpersonal information.
NSO Commissioner General, Mercy Kanyuka said she was not aware of the situation and promised to find out from the Zone Supervisor of the area.
“This is great for letting me know. We are keen to receive such feedbacks from the residence if the census is to produce credit data which can be used for planning purposes,” she noted.
The New Gulliver situation might be part of and there is need for resident to make sure that enumerators mark their house once they are through with data collection exercise.