The New Face of The Kenyan Enumeration Process

The past two weeks have been a buzz of activity with enumeration officials doing major runs around the country in a bid to cover as much ground as possible. The all-too-familiar process happens once in every ten years and this time around, it involved about 150,000 officials who were tasked with the endeavor of counting and collecting the data of approximately 48 million Kenyans(According to last census). In the spirit of progression, there have been a number of changes that have been witnessed in this previous census. In this piece, we shall discuss a few of these progressive steps the government has taken to better improve the enumeration process.

The first notable change in this year’s census is the inclusion of marginalized groups and persons in the undertaking. Being a diverse land of 42 tribes (without accounting foreigners and expatriates) who are vastly distributed across the terrain, it has historically proven to be quite a challenge to effectively tally and record the details of a complete representation of the population, particularly the lot that resides in the arid and hard-to-reach parts of the country.  Many groups that live in the northern parts of the country like the Turkana and the Ogiek are barely involved in the national process or if so, they are often generalized as parts of larger and more popular groups within the region, such as the Maasai and Kalenjin groups.

One account from an individual suggested that they have, for a long time, been trying to clarify to the government that they are a separate entity from the renown Maasai tribe and that they are the indigenous inhabitants of the Mau Forest. This exclusivity has had a detrimental trickle-down effect on the allocation of resources to these marginalized persons, with their particular interests remaining largely unrepresented in the development of the nation. Last week, however, the government displayed a great deal of concern for these marginalized people by creating new categories for them in the census forms. By so doing, it shows that this indigenous lot that has long been ignored is slowly getting a voice in the enumeration process.

Another evident change in this year’s census is the inclusion of Intersex persons in the gender section of the process. The issue of sexuality is a widely contested topic in the country especially because a healthy portion of the population are religious, predominantly Christian and Muslim. This coming just a few months after the High Court affirmed the law that criminalized homosexual acts under the subtext that they are sexual acts against the order of nature. The decision of the country to include an intersex subsection in the process has led to it being amongst a handful of other states and countries to do so, most of which are in more developed continents such as Europe and America.

To dust of any ambiguity, Intersex people are individuals whose genitalia does not conform to their particular sexual orientation (not to be confused with the LGBT community). Such an action from the government is expected to expose more awareness on the topic as well as discourage more stigmatization around it. Intersex persons are now able to identify as such on Kenyan Passports.

And another improvement was noticeable on the digital collection of data. Initially, questionnaires  used have been printed hard copies. Digital collection and transmission of data ensures efficiency and reduces the errors associated with data entry procedures. It also saves them on cost when it comes to hiring data entry clerks. And of course Digital data can be easily and inexpensively stored, copied and backed up saving them money and time. So, we should actually be expecting this process to take a shorter time compared to the previous census procedures.

These being just but a few of the outspoken adjustments in the census, one can only imagine what to expect in future enumeration processes. I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out. See you in 2029!!



Be the first to comment on "The New Face of The Kenyan Enumeration Process"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.