Lesotho launches digital census

11 April 2016
This woman and her child will be enumerated in the sub-region's first digital census. © UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

MATSIENG, Lesotho – Lesotho’s digital Population and Housing Census 2016 kicked off successfully with the ‘first enumeration’ of the Royal Homestead, the Head of State His Majesty King Letsie III and his family, in Matsieng on Sunday 10 April.

His Majesty King Letsie III, Her Majesty Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso and the Minister of Development Planning, Mokoto Hloaele, during the first enumeration of the Royal Homestead at Matsieng. © UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

The launch also included the enumeration of the household of the Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing, and his family in Mahobong, Leribe. The Prime Minister, Dr. Pakalitha Mosisili, is expected to be enumerated today.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund Representative to Lesotho, Therese Zeba Kobeane, and the Minister of Development Planning, Mokoto Francis Hloaele, were among those present at the enumeration of Lesotho’s two highest authorities.

More households to be covered in a day

From left: Lesotho's Minister of Development Planning, Mokoto Hloaele, with UNFPA Representative Therese Zeba Kobeane and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing during the enumeration of Mr. Metsing's home. © UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

Lesotho’s paperless census is the first digital census in the sub-region within the United Nations 2020 round of population censuses. The census is significant as the statistics will help in the development of the National Strategic Plan and domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This is Lesotho’s sixth successful Population and Housing Census since 1966.

Briefing the dignitaries ahead of the enumeration, the Director of the Bureau of Statistics, Liengoane Lefosa, expressed her appreciation of the role played by UNFPA in supporting the census. Due to the use of the hand-held data capturing tablets, data collection is expected to take less time and more households are expected to be covered in a day, she said. 

On day two of the census, enumerator Kefuoe Maloi (right) stands with 'Matokelo Mosi in the doorway of her household. © UNFPA / Violet Maraisane

Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing called for a census with integrity and urged the Bureau of Statistics to use the available structures, especially Local Government structures, to enhance credibility of data collection.

More than 6000 enumeration areas will be covered during the census, which is expected to end on 24 April.  However, a week has been set aside for call backs. The Post Enumeration Survey is to be undertaken two weeks later and the first results are to be published in July.

During the final address to the nation ahead of the census last week, the Minister of Development Planning, Mokoto Hloaele, expressed special gratitude to UNFPA for being the lead organization in support of the census. UNFPA provided the tablets that will be used during the census and Post Enumeration Survey for data collection. The census has provided jobs to more than 8000 young Basotho nationals, he said.

By Violet Maraisane