Data collection exercise carried out by the Liberia Institute for Geo – Information Services (LISGIS) on 22 May to aid government’s stimulus package food distribution had a bad start in the slum community of Slipway, Montserrado County, creating confusion between dozens of residents and some LISGIS data collectors.
The confusion started when dozens of Slipway residents were informed that the census was intended to be carried out for only one day (Friday) and that data collectors would not return to the community, despite concerns that other residents were not captured in the one – day process.Some residents made demanded explanation as to what would happen to those inhabitants of the area who were not present or captured during the process.
The angry inhabitants argued that LISGIS had failed to adequately provide prior information or notice through their community town criers to state the date and time for the data collection.
The residents complained that due to the lack of information, dozens of their compatriots went about their daily businesses and therefore were not included in the data collection for the emergency COVID-19 food distribution.
The residents warned that this could be a cause for serious trouble and tension when the distribution process begins and other community dwellers are left out of the data.
One of the aggrieved residents, Fatu Morris Dennis, insists that LISGIS’ data collectors be made to return to the community to enumerate those who were not recorded in the 22 May process.
She suggests that LISGIS works with communities’ town criers who will provide prior information to community residents to enable people to stay at home for food data collection as a matter of transparency.
She continues: “You cannot record one group of community dwellers and leave out the others who are also covered under the government’s State of Emergency Stimulus Food Package. Government has approved a $25M Stimulus Package covering coronavirus frontline nurses, vulnerable communities and residents,” she adds.
Patrick Walker, another resident engaged in fishing business, warns of grave danger and consequences if vast majority of the population is left out of the food distribution.
“Mr. Pressman, I know our people here. If they don’t get some of the food, we will definitely not be in peace because they will make trouble for those who would benefit under the scheme.
So I believe that LISGIS should consider including everybody in the food basket,” he says.
Meanwhile, our reporter observes that during the data collection, there was a team comprising of four data collectors visiting a structure, instead of assigning each of those on the team to a house to speed of the process.
Data collectors photographed residents and asked them whether they had access to electricity supplied by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), latrine, safe drinking water, sick person and number of occupants, among others.
By Emmanuel Mondaye —Edited by Winston W. Parley