UNFPA staff to rally public support for 2014 Myanmar census

Date: 27/09/2013

Six months before Myanmar embarks on its first census in more than 30 years, staff members of UNFPA Myanmar agreed they would all do their part in becoming “ambassadors for the census” and raising awareness to rally public support for the national population count of March 29th 2014.

After a half-day mini retreat on 20 September, the entire team of more than 40 UNFPA Myanmar staff members pledged to reach out to the local communities by “signing up” in-house and by making a personal phone call to at least one person in every township in Myanmar - meaning that every staff member would make at least 5 phone calls in as many townships until someone somewhere in each and every one of the 330 townships hears directly about the census. These would be persons identified through friends, families and colleagues.

Janet Jackson, UNFPA’s Representative for Myanmar will kick off the pledge by making phone calls to “extended family members” in at least six townships across Shan and Kayin states.

In Myanmar there are approximately 50-60 million people living in the 330 townships across the country which remains predominantly rural. The census will take place between 29 March and 10 April, 2014 and a communications strategy is now being developed for the period leading up the “big count” that will occur in the two weeks after the 29th March.

“If everybody gathered here today were to call just five people, living in different townships and highlight the importance of the census, then together we would light bulbs that would soon do the same for others, and so build the excitement and momentum for the census and its potential for inclusiveness, participation, peace, transformation and having a say in data that will steer the country’s future development plans,” said Jackson.

“We need to start spreading the word on why the census is so important to the people of Myanmar and their future.” UNFPA country office decided that their next staff meeting will be dedicated to a session on “what each person needs to know about the census,” she concluded.

UNFPA began supporting population activities in Myanmar by supporting the starting with the 1973 and 1983 censuses. No official population count has been held since and current data is outdated and unreliable.

The theme of the census campaign is “A nation-wide census – Let us all Participate”.

UNFPA General staff meeting UNFPA staff member discussed census with Yangon resident