By Staff Reporter
CHIPINGE: The Zimbabwe Statics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has increased its budget for the 2022 national census by nearly US$13 million to US$100 million.
The increase from US$87 million to an estimated US$98 million is to cater for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for staff carrying out the study.
ZIMSTATS director-general Taguma Mahonde confirmed this during the tour of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge where the agency is carrying out a mapping exercise ahead of the country’s April 2022 census.
The mapping exercise is conducted before the census to ascertain the required resources and manpower ahead of the national exercise effectively.
“The mapping exercise is going well despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, we had a budget of US$87 million and we had to adjust to US$98 million due to Covid-19,” Mahonde told journalists.
“We had to factor in the issue of Protective Personal Equipment for our staff as Covid-19 is showing no sign of disappearing any time soon.”
“I am glad to say the government has been up to the challenge by funding the census mapping exercise so far. We should bear in mind that conducting of the census is the responsibility of our government and it has been up to the challenge,” he said.
Mahonde said they have also ensured the mappers and enumerators are vaccinated against Covid-19 before they embark on fieldwork.
“We have encouraged our mappers and enumerators to get vaccinated and no one will get into the field without being vaccinated. We took this stance after discovering that the pandemic was a big challenge and we may end up losing our mappers and to the diseases.
“No one will be left to go in the field unvaccinated. This will help those who get infected not to get severe illnesses or hospitalised. We are prepared to work in the Covid 19 period.”
He said the agency will be holding meetings with development partners to finalise on pledges made.
“We are lucky our development partners have shown interest in our exercise and we are holding meetings to finalise on their pledges so know how much they are concretely coming up with,” said Mahonde.
He added 60% of the wards countrywide had been completed in the mapping exercise.
“Nationally, we have covered about 60% of the wards. In most provinces, we have certain districts where we have covered 100%.”
“We are foreseeing a situation whereby by January 2022 we will be through with the mapping. This is quite an intensive exercise as you have seen here at Tongogara we have our mappers on the ground but there is the challenge of language and we have engaged the services of interpreters to ensure that all inhabitants of Tongogara are mapped so that all of them will be enumerated come April 2022.
“We should do 100% enumeration. However, as you will appreciate this is a special group in that they are not like other inhabitants outside the camps.
“These are people who came to Zimbabwe for a specific reason and the numbers are bound to be continually changing and so on. So we need to treat this area as a special case. We want to ensure they will also get enumerated,”
According to Tongogara Refugee Camp administrator Johannes Mhlanga, the camp is home to over 15 000 refugees who fled political and religious persecution from countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Eritrea, Somalia, Mali, the Ivory Coast, and neighbouring Mozambique.
Over 4 800 households have refugees from the DRC constituting 74,6% of the population.
Mozambique has 10%, Burundi-6%, Rwanda-4,2% while 3,2 % are from minority countries such as Somalia, Uganda, Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Eritrea.