Gambia: UNFPA Gives Support to 2013 Population Census

The United Nations Fund for Population Affairs (UNFPA), Saturday presented four Toyota vehicles to the Gambia Bureau of Statistic (GBoS), at NaNA Office in Mile 7. The vehicles are meant for use during the 2013 population census in The Gambia.

Receiving the gesture on behalf of GBoS, the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, applauded the UNFPA and described the UN Agency as the major sponsor of the population census in The Gambia. "The UNFPA is helping a lot in many sectors ranging from health, population among others," she said.

She recalled the time when the UNFPA gave some computers to the Statistics Bureau, while stressing that they cannot do everything. "But we can use them to knock the doors of others for assistance," she further stated, while thanking UNFPA on behalf of President Jammeh.

The vice president, while stating that a lot has been achieved as far as census is concerned, however stressed that a lot more still needs to be done. She finally indicated that the president has underlined the importance of statistics, because it is what the government can rely on for data purposes.

For her part, Rose Gakuba, the UNFPA country director explained that the vehicles are part of a fleet procured by the UNFPA for use in the forthcoming 2013 population and housing census.

"You will recall that earlier in 2011, three other Toyota 4 wheel drive vehicles were procured and handed over to the Gambia Bureau of Statistics," she said, adding that it is part of UNFPA's mandate to support efforts aimed at strengthening the production of data for development.

The UNFPA boss further dilated on the importance of time and accuracy data planning, monitoring and evaluation of The Gambia development efforts as well as monitoring progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.

She disclosed that during the years of 2010 and 2011, UNFPA provided both technical and financial support to preparatory activities for the 2013 population and housing census to the tune of D21, 586,474.

"These funds were used to support GBoS census mapping activities, technical assistance, capacity building of GBoS personnel and to procure mapping equipment and vehicles," she added.

She informed the gathering that the four vehicles are part of the seven vehicles in support of the census as the first three were presented last year. She finally reaffirmed UNFPA's unwavering commitment and partnership with government to ensure that the 2013 population and housing census becomes a success.

Alieu Ndow, the statistician general, described UNFPA as a traditional partner in terms of census, adding that their partnership has been existing since 1970s and has yielded dividends.

He promised that the vehicles would be put to their intended purposes, while disclosing that the greater part of the on-the-ground work for the census has been achieved. (Pre-exercise). Mambury Njie, the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, expressed similar sentiments. He assured that the items would be well maintained.

Presentation to OWAG

In a similar development, the Oyster Women Association of The Gambia (OWAG), was also presented some live-jackets donated by one Momodou Lamin Drammeh, a Gambian philanthropist based in the United States.

The items, which were received by the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy on behalf of OWAG, are meant to complement the efforts of Gambian women who collect oysters from the River Gambia.

The vice president commended Drammeh for the gesture and described him as a patriot. She also commended Fatou Janha-Mboob, the coordinator of the Association for her selfless sacrifice and commitment towards the development of women in this country.

She stressed that it is not an easy job to go through rough waters to get oysters. "These women should be well commended as they use the proceeds of this hard work to pay their children's school fees and also help sustain their families," she said.

On his part, Momodou Lamin Drammeh, the donor, said it is his desire to help the people of his country. He described himself as a Gambian in the Diaspora who loves his nation and ready to do everything for its development. He called on his compatriots who are also in the Diaspora to emulate him by giving it out no matter how small it might be.

Abdou Kolley, the minister of Fisheries & Water Resources, applauded Drammeh for the gesture. He said that Gambians in the Diaspora do not have to sit and wait for the government to call on them for assistance. He also commended members of OWAG for their hard work.

The coordinator of OWAG, Fatou Janha-Mboob, also thanked Drammeh for the gesture, noting that it would help save lives. She recalled how a certain women drowned in the river while her pregnancy was five months old, saying if she was wearing a live-jacket, her life would have been saved.

She disclosed that her Association is among the 25 selected out of 800 associations of the UNDP equator community projects across the globe. "We don't look for what government can do for us but what we can do for the government," she added.

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