Uganda’s 2024 census goes digital, creating 120,000 jobs for Ugandans

Uganda's 2024 census goes digital, creating 120,000 jobs for Ugandans

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Enumerators for Uganda’s 2024 National Population and Housing Census will embrace a digital approach, utilizing hand-held electronic devices instead of traditional files and pens.

The 2024 National population and Housing Census will be the first paperless (digital) census in Uganda conducted on hand-held electronic devices or tablets in all the districts.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Executive Director, Dr. Chris Ndatira Mukiza said the census will be held from the night of 9th May 2024.

He said Uganda like other countries has decided to go digital in conducting the census. He confirmed that the government will spend over 137 billion shillings to purchase tablets that will be used in the enumeration.  UBOS spent 11 billion shillings in the last financial year for preparations. It was allocated 320.9 billion this financial year and it says it has a deficit of 13 billion which hopes can be given by development partners

Apart from using tables and other computer-assisted devices and applications, they are using geo-referenced mapping. And that so far close to 90% of the country has been mapped.

The remaining areas according to Dr. Mukiza are cities like Kampala. “And the mapping we are doing is completely geo-referenced. We can now know where a household that has been mapped is located. Instead of earlier mapping, we were only getting boundaries without knowing how many households are in the area” Dr. Mukiza explained.

A number of questionnaires have already been developed to be conducted at household, community, and institutional levels.

Army, Police, and prisons to enumerate themselves Unlike in the past, when the enumerators visited barracks of UPDF, Police, and Prisons to collect data, Mukiza said those institutions will with the aid of technology carry out their enumeration for the institutional questionnaire.

The upcoming national population and housing census will be the 11th one since Uganda got its independence.

“The actual counting will involve counting people and their characteristics. The characteristics include education status, health status, employment status, kind of economic activity. And we shall look at dwelling houses by type,” Dr. Mukiza further explained.

The main output of the census enumeration will be the total population of the country, and population distribution by sex, age, tribe, and religion. It will also come up with the social, and economic status of the population, level of education, and quality of health.

Meanwhile, Albert Byamugisha, the board chairperson of UBOS says, a total of 120,000 youth and other Ugandans will be employed directly and indirectly during the census exercise. The private sector will directly benefit from the exercise.

According to a source at UBOS, the Government targets to recruit 120,000 A’level leavers and diploma holders that are tech-savvy, given the fact that census will be done digitally.

“We are looking at doing the recruitment early next year, but all the applicants will have to be IT compliant, one has to be able to know how to use a tab,” the source told this writer yesterday.

The 120,000 recruits will work as enumerators and supervisors during the census.

Uganda 2024 Digital Census Road Map

The Bureau has promised to give the country preliminary results of the census in June 2024 or one month after the census is held. Information about the population of Uganda, sex distribution, and population per district. The final results will be released in December 2024.

“So this will be the record time because we have been taking 2-3 years to reach the final product. But now because of electronic devices, we have cut so many steps,” Mukiza explained.

The Minister of Information, National Guidance, Chris Baryomunsi said that a census is a very important undertaking. And an age-old exercise. “For the Christian, if you read the bible, there are many incidences where the censuses were carried out including the time when Jesus was born,” he said.

UBOS has decided to continue with the De facto method of conducting the census – meaning the enumeration of individuals as of where they are found in the census, regardless of where they normally reside. The census night in that case will be the night of 9th May 2024 with the actual census taking place on the 10th. The activities for the 2024 census were launched by President Museveni at Kololo National ceremonial grounds.

“This afternoon at Kololo, I officially inaugurated the National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) 2024, emphasizing the importance of this exercise in bridging gaps in service delivery.

The 10th day of May, 2024 has been designated a public holiday. I therefore urge all Ugandans to actively participate in the census. By understanding the size, distribution, and characteristics of the population, the government will be better equipped to plan and provide equitable services for all Ugandans.

I also urge the NPHC to go beyond gathering population statistics and also focus on improving service delivery across the country. This comprehensive approach will ensure that resources and assistance are distributed effectively to those in need. I thank them and wish all Ugandans good luck!,” said President Museveni.

Also Read: High population growth rate – A threat to food security initiatives in Africa

Mr Museveni took offense with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) about the wording on when the census will be conducted.

Gift Marunga who represented the UNDP country Director the fact that Uganda is launching its first digital census is a significant milestone

“This huge investment is evidence that the government values the critical role of data and statistics as we strive to achieve the Uganda Vision 2040 whose ambition is in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS) and the Africa Agenda 2063,” said Marunga.

She commended the government for embracing the power of technology. She observed that by opting for a digital census, Uganda joins a growing trend globally and across Africa leveraging modern technology to generate data and evidence.

“In the countries that recently concluded their censuses preliminary results have been produced in less than two months. This is an imaginable occasion, especially based on traditional paper methods,” she said.