Socio-demographic survey rolls out in Kabul

2 Jun 2013

Socio-demographic survey rolls out in Kabul

KABUL - Preparations are underway to roll out a socio-demographic and economic survey in Kabul Province, with the aim of collecting reliable data which can help guide the development policies and programmes of the Afghan Government and its international partners.

The Central Statistic Organization (CSO) will conduct the survey with the technical support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) starting from mid-November 2013.

The Assistant Representative of UNFPA in Afghanistan, Younas Payab, said that the survey will help acquire accurate data about categories such as age and sex distribution of the population, access to safe drinking water, education and literacy status, school enrolment, employment status, birth and child mortality and number of households.

“This information will be used for social and economic development planning of the different districts and villages of the Kabul province,” said Mr. Payab.

Afghanistan does not have reliable data on the social, political and economic status of its population, which has hindered effective development planning. According to UNFPA, the Bonn Agreement in 2001 emphasized the need for conducting a census in Afghanistan, with this need becoming more crucial during the rebuilding and development phase in subsequent years. An effort was made in August 2008 to conduct a national census in Afghanistan but, due to insecurity, the Afghan Government postponed the exercise.

In August 2010, a group of census experts met in the Turkish city of Istanbul to discuss the possibility of a census in Afghanistan and agreed upon a province-by-province census.

Currently, the CSO is training some 3,000 survey staff, all of whom have been hired from the areas that they will operate in.

“Kabul is a big province, so we have at least three rounds of training,” said the Deputy Director of CSO, Haseeb Mohid. “Two rounds of training have already been completed while the third is ongoing.”

In the initial phase of the survey project, besides the appointment of staff and their training, 274 cartographers – who have already been trained – will undertake a mapping exercise with the help of Global Positioning System equipment at the district and municipal council levels and prepare lists of families and district maps. The lists and maps will be handed over to surveyors, who will start the survey during the month of November. The survey is expected to be completed in three months.

After the completion of data collection, the data will be processed, analyzed and arranged at the levels of village, district and province.

“All standard indicators that are used in censuses internationally have been considered in the survey,” said Mr. Mohid.

UNFPA technical staff will assist the CSO with the preparation of a questionnaire for the survey, mapping exercises, software design for data entry and processing, data analyzing and coding, as well as the formulation of the report through explanatory graphs and matrixes.

“This data will be the manifestation of the social and economic status of the people in Kabul Province and it can help tremendously in the Government’s development planning and donors’ assistance,” said Mr. Payab.

According to the CSO, the final report of the socio-demographic and economic survey is expected by May 2014. The data will be handed over to authorities at the municipal, district, provincial and national levels for their development planning.

This socio-demographic and economic survey in Kabul is part of a series of such surveys planned to be conducted throughout Afghanistan, province-by-province, by 2016.

The survey was conceptualized by CSO in 2011 with the aim to collect socio-demographic and economic data at the district level, province-by-province. The first survey was conducted in Bamyan province due to the relatively stable security conditions there. Subsequently, the survey was conducted in Dai Kundi and Ghor provinces, before its impending rollout in Kabul. After its completion there, the survey will be conducted in the central provinces of Parwan and Kapisa.

The CSO has made an appeal to the people of Kabul to take an active part in the survey by providing true, accurate and well-thought answers to the surveyors.