Save for some hitches such as enumerators lacking uniforms to ease their identification, blamed on authorities’ lapse in logistical supervision and sporadic rhetoric from those we believe were not fully apprised of the importance of the count, the exercise has generally been well received. The majority of Tanzanians are reported to be fairly well informed and enthusiastic to participate in this development milestone.
It is true that an undertaking of such a magnitude and importance cannot be problem-free.
However we must stress that it is of critical importance that such hitches are quickly addressed by the relevant authorities and experts, stepping in to undo any logistical hitch or clarify issues, to ensure the count proceeds smoothly in the remaining five days.
Now more than before, officials running the awareness campaign must undertake not only what we call quick response clarifications, but also keep educating more people on the importance of the count.
We know for example that the supervisors and the enumerators are supposed to take time to educate family members on the importance of census before asking them to give information.
For example people must be made aware that counting continues for the next five days; where to go if they have not been counted by a particular day, where to report any infringements they may experience, during the visits by the census enumerators, etc.
But foremost experts must convince people why without a clear and accurate count of its people, the nation cannot plan and realise its production capabilities, in turn limiting its development and hampering efforts to improve their social well being.
Tanzania is classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries. The average National income (GNI) per person was US$350 in 2006 that is about less than a dollar a day. About 25 % of Tanzanians were living below the poverty line in 2007. Less than 40% of rural households have access to a source of clean drinking water. Over 90 % of households only have pit latrines which do not meet basic hygienic standards.
WHO also reports that the GDP growth has not reduced poverty in an equitable manner. Productivity has remained low, especially among smallholder farmers who constitute the majority of
producers in Tanzania. A combination of low production, low productivity and low quality of agricultural produce has significant limiting effects on rural growth and therefore on poverty reduction.
The president in his monthly state address emphasised that if these are to change then it is the moral and national responsibility for every Tanzanian to effectively participate in the national census, currently in progress.
Without accurate census national development projects are undermined. This includes, The National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP), known in Kiswahili as the MKUKUTA (Mkakati wa Kukuza Uchumi na Kupunguza Umaskini Tanzania), Vision 2025 and our nation’s very commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Census helps the nation not only assess the present, but also set the future course of action.