The majority of our population are now fully aware that we have a survey known as the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey currently underway in the country. Some of you might have been interviewed already, while others are still to be interviewed. We have made great strides so far in this survey and more is to be achieved in the coming months.
The survey is conducted every five years and the aim is to gather updated information on household income and expenditure. Such information is important for understanding our society and planning for our future. Now, once our fieldworkers come to you, what exactly do they want to know from you?
The information that we seek to update is varied. Of course it centres on income and expenditure patterns, but demographic and housing characteristics are essential to us as well. This is so because you need to understand the household that provides you with such information. Our fieldworkers will also enquire about food adequacy and coping strategy. The aim here is to find out whether our people actually do eat adequate meals or not.
Education levels of household members and their health status are also part of the questionnaires. Not many people in Namibia, for example, know that those that have a post-grade 12 qualification are less than seven percent. Those that have a post-graduate qualification are even less than five percent of the population. Such information is important for us to understand our society.
Additionally, on the health questionnaire, it is important to know whether our people are generally healthy or not. Leading a nation of sick people, for example, has serious consequences for a country.
The survey will also look at the access and ownership of durable items of our population. What do we owe and what do we have access to? This refers to various items, including agricultural activities such as owning or having access to land and animals. Remittances, another important area of the survey, are for us to understand how, or if, our people survive on remittances received from their working family members.
On household income and expenditure we also look at the household sources of debts. It is common knowledge that many people live off debt. How much debt do they have? What is the source of their debt? Expenditure is an essential part of the questionnaire as it is interesting for us to understand how people spend their money. Many spend it on unconstructive items, while others spend it on things considered more constructive. If someone always lacks funds, is it maybe because that person really does not receive sufficient money or he misspends it? Again, does that person maybe really misspend it or is the cost of living really too high.
ICT and transport costs are also of interest. For example, a few years ago not every Namibian had a cellphone. However, it would be safe to assume, or maybe not even surprising, to find out that there might be more cellphones in the country than people. This type of information, and much more, is what the ongoing survey aims to find out. The survey started in April this year and will conclude in March 2016. Once our fieldworkers come to you, please be good and open your door to them.
- Iipumbu Sakaria is the Deputy Director for Strategic Communications at the NSA.