Senegal, World Bank launch mobile survey on living conditions

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Senegal

A household survey called A l’écoute du Sénégal ("Listening to Senegal") was launched late last week in this West African nation by the Senegalese government in association with the World Bank.

It aims at collecting data via mobile phone from the population on the changing trends about socio-economic issues such as food and food security, social cohesion,water, sanitation and hygiene, education, electricity, employment, governance, financial inclusion, among others.

This is a new approach developed especially for the African continent, and similar methods have been used in the past in Malawi, Madagascar, Tanzania and Togo, the World Bank said.

Senegal’s Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD), which is in charge of coordinating the project, said the survey will last for two years, and consist of a sample of 1 500 households, 600 of which are earmarked for the capital the Dakar, 450 in other urban areas and 450 in rural areas.

Free airtime and devices will be offered to selected households for the survey, the government-controlled ANSD said.

Despite its status of peaceful nation and one of Africa’s democratic models, Senegal is confronted by burning issues such as extreme poverty, higher food prices, frequent power outages, inadequate sanitation, endless education crisis and higher levels of unemployment, among others.

Critics of the government who constantly decry what they call the authorities’ lack of sympathy for people’s misery have welcomed the survey, saying that it would showcase the real problems ordinary citizens people face on daily basis.

"This is a major innovation to be brought in our national statistics system," ANSD CEO Ababacar Sadikh Beye said.

The operation consists of placing a baseline survey in the traditional way, and then establish a call centre that will be used for data collection by mobile phone, Beye explained.


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