Laurent Assogba, Population & Development Technical Adviser for UNFPA West and Central Africa, one of the facilitators, providing training on the PSA to participants.
UNFPA Africa Regional Office’s training workshop on how to conduct a population situation analysis (PSA) has been extremely timely as it will contribute to better planning in those countries, many of which are currently at critical stages of planning. The detailed knowledge gained of how to use the PSA will stand them in good stead, the participants said.
Initially intended for a small group from cluster and high burden countries, an overwhelming number of participants applied and were accepted for the training, which built on previous workshops. The workshop was attended by more than 70 participants from 24 African countries and included government representatives, UNFPA Country Office National Programme Officers on Population & Development and representatives from two sister agencies in Rwanda (UN Women and UNDP).
The population situation analysis (PSA) is the key stage of the integration process. It is designed to highlight the integration of population issues into national, sector and local development frameworks. The participants carried out an exercise during the workshop of preparing a population situation analysis for their countries.
The workshop was facilitated by Laurent Assogba (Technical Adviser, SRO Dakar), Mady Biaye (Technical Adviser, SRO Johannesburg), Prof. Sosten Chiotha (Director, LEAD Southern and East Africa in Malawi), Ralph Hakkert (Technical Adviser, TD/PDB New York), Jonathan Ndzi (Humanitarian Response Specialist, RO Johannesburg), Alfred Titus Agwanda Otieno, (Senior Lecturer, Kenya) and Richmond Tiemoko (Technical Adviser, RO Johannesburg).
“The participants now know about the PSA and how to go about it, who the key stakeholders are and how best to involve them,” said Mr. Biaye. The participants would be able to carry out a comprehensive PSA involving all key sectors, he said. “This is a nationally owned exercise and a data and information intensive process built on priorities and strategies. As an inclusive and participatory process, the challenge now is to get everyone on board in the countries.”
Dorothy Temu-Usiri, Assistant Representative for UNFPA Tanzania and Population & Development Officer
The training workshop was particularly timely for Tanzania, said Dorothy Temu-Usiri, Assistant Representative for UNFPA Tanzania and Population & Development Officer. “We have been looking into how we can integrate population into processes, and the PSA as a tool is a starting point for that integration. We have political commitment and now we need to operationalize it.”
Due to the methodology involved, if completed properly the PSA provides a tool for dialogue and agreement, she said. The workshop participants devised a roadmap to the PSA which made her realise there was an opportunity to make the PSA substantive.
“Tanzania’s PSA will be done in 2014, which means we have time to do further analysis to prepare for a substantive PSA. We’ll be able to discuss issues with the government, engage in dialogue and form a consensus.”
Essentially, the agenda needs to move from an abstract concept to something that is more practical, one that actually touches the beneficiaries, she said. “I already have a vision of the situational analysis we are going to do in Tanzania, and my job now is to get everybody on board early. Prior to this we were already operating at the macro level but now we have the processes in place to ensure integration so that we reach the beneficiaries.”
Hagos Ahmed, Director for Population and Social Statistics Division in the National Statistics Office of Eritrea
Hagos Ahmed, Director for Population and Social Statistics Division in the National Statistics Office of Eritrea said the PSA is a new tool for Eritrea, which faces a number of challenges such as a shortage of data and of technical information.
“This workshop has been resourceful and interesting because in Eritrea we haven’t tried to relate population to planning. Some small exercises have been done at the national and regional levels but not as detailed as in this workshop, so we have gained from it.”
The Eritrean Government is planning its next five year development plan for 2012-2017. “The development of the PSA tool is very important for this purpose,” he said. “We have identified all of the relevant stakeholders – such as the ministry, the UN and community-based organizations – and also the topics that should be included, such as sexual and reproductive health, population characteristics and dynamics, vulnerability and social welfare for security and nutrition. These topics integrate population into socio-economic development and planning.”
Mohammed K. Lebbie, Senior Development Planning Officer in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance, Development and Economic Planning said his office is charged with developing a population situation analysis, so the training has been timely. “As a result, we are going to beef up the population sub-pillar of the PRSP Agenda for Prosperity,” he said.
Mohammed K. Lebbie, Senior Development Planning Officer in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance, Development and Economic Planning
The methodology of the PSA has been particularly useful in terms of projections and tables, among others. “Previously we’ve had no training in this,” he said.
He will be briefing key government people on the PSA on his return and will be conducting training for technical staff to ensure the continuity of know-how. “This programme has taught me that the human being has to be at the centre of everything. The population situation must be analyzed before any other activity is begun.”
Nigeria is revising some of its laws and the PSA will help inform this process, said Dashe Dasogot, Programme Analyst for UNFPA Nigeria. The Government is planning to conduct a PSA from October 2012 to March 2013.
“The workshop has been very deep and intensive, and it’s been very useful,” he said. “I’ve worked with the PSA before but not at this level – for instance, not with analysis and budgeting. The most useful element is the PSA itself. I’m going to use the skills to assess my colleagues and bring them up to the same level.”
What he has found particularly useful is the planning stage of the PSA, which includes identifying the stakeholders, identifying the data needs of the programmes and policies, and analyzing these.
UNFPA is working in 13 states in Nigeria. Mr. Dasogot plans to organize training in PSA with a number of federal ministries and departments.
Grace Ikirimat, Uganda’s Senior National Programme Officer in the Population Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
The workshop has presented an opportunity for Uganda’s population indicators to be analyzed more critically, said Grace Ikirimat, Uganda’s Senior National Programme Officer in the Population Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Uganda was preparing to conduct a census this year but it has been postponed, she said. However, she will now be able to put together a PSA for the country to pull together scattered information and to integrate population issues.
Next year Uganda is to conduct a mid-term review of its national development plan and the national population policy action plan will be reviewed. “This training has given us the opportunity to analyze the population indicators more critically, which have been a bit weak in the past.”
She is to create a PSA taskforce including key government sectors, UNFPA, other UN agencies, the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics and others, she said.
The 25 countries represented at the workshop were Botswana, Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, United States, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe, Swaziland, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa.