Rwandan census kicks off

Rwanda’s fourth national Population and Housing census got underway yesterday, with advanced GIS map data to help enumerators.

The census, the first to be held since 2002, will look at housing, living conditions, population age, growth, health and education.

The two-week exercise involves over 16,500 enumerators – many of them school teachers –  including one for every village (umudugudu), visiting every household in Rwanda. The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) says the final results will be published within ten months of Census Day, observing that “data delayed is data denied”.

The census will cost USD21.3 million, for a projected population of 11 million people.

Work began on the project two years ago, with a mapping project using Global Positioning System (GPS) based data capturing technology.

NISR says this work has also resulted in a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) database with detailed map data  including boundaries, location of main social and economic infrastructures (schools, health centers, hospitals, markets, etc.) as well as the areas of economic significance (plantations, mines, parks, forest reserves, etc). The details pertain to more than 14,738 villages and landmarks in all administrative units of the country.

The mapping work was accomplished by the NISR cartographers who not only went to capture the GPS coordinates in the field but also plotted the maps. These maps in hard copy are now ready for use  as a guiding tool by around 16,500 enumerators – one for each enumeration area - who will visit every household in his/her EA across the country to record census information.

These maps will allows enumerators to record comparable data from the actual exercise of the census with the data collected in the field during the mapping phase.

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