Sierra Leone Establishes its First Migration Data Collection Committee

Statistics Sierra Leone and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission, with the support of Statistics Sweden and IOM Sierra Leone, organized a workshop on migration data collection and management, which resulted in the establishment of the national committee on migration data collection and management.

The committee will facilitate timely and accurate production of data on migration and migratory movements in Sierra Leone

Government officials, CSOs, international NGOs and UN agencies came together to share best practices, initiatives, challenges and opportunities on addressing effective, synergized and harmonized migration data collection, management and analysis.

Migration is a complex phenomenon, subject to significant political and media attention, but all too frequently misunderstood and insufficiently supported by hard data. The international community is in need of reliable and nuanced evidence that reflects the complexity and fast-paced dynamics of the movement of people and informs policies, practices and public opinion on migration.

Sierra Leone has been challenged when it comes to the submission of needed migration statistics, some of which have been established as priorities by the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS.

“States have consistently identified the availability of timely, accessible, reliable, disaggregated, and comparable data as being key for effective migration management and good migration governance. The need for data is reflected in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, ” said Dr James Bagonza, Head of Office at IOM Sierra Leone.

“This event is the first step towards more solid partnerships and collaborations with the Government counterparts and stakeholders to enhance effective management and collection of migration data in Sierra Leone,” Dr Bagonza added.

In his statement, the Director of Demographic, Health and Social Statistics Division, Sonnia-Magba Bu-Buakei Jabbi, said that: “Statistics Sierra Leone, which is the national statistics Office, is charged with the responsibility of providing official statistics have often found it difficult to meet its data request commitments in measuring SDG 10.7 and other related indicators.”

He further said that one main reason for this is that migration is a broad phenomenon that requires the collaboration of several national actors in its data production and management. And that like, some of the collaborating national partners are sometimes faced with data producing issues that constrained them to respond in a timely and adequate manner. “There is, therefore, an urgent need for country discussion on the processes involved in migration data production and management to surmount these challenges.”