Workshop on Demographic Analysis for Decision Making in Francophone Africa

Dakar, Senegal, 2-6 November 2015 


Trainers: Richard Marcoux (Université Laval, Canada); Cheikh Mbacké (Université de Thiès, Sénégal et Université Laval, Canada); Abdramane Soura, Gabriel Sangli et Hamidou Koné (ISSP, Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso); Cheikh Tidiane Ndiaye (Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD), Sénégal). And via video conference: Laurent Richard (Université Laval, Canada).


The training workshop on Demographic Analysis for Decision Making : IUSSP/UNFPA Online Tools for Demographic Estimation was organized at the Campus numérique of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) in Dakar, Senegal  2 to 6 Novembre 2015, with funding from UNFPA and in collaboration with the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP), University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the Observatoire Démographique et Statistique de l'Espace Francophone (ODSEF) at the University of Laval, Canada-Québec, and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.


This workshop provided a practical introduction to the recent French translation of Tools for Demographic Analysis* (Moultrie et al. 2013),  an online manual and associated tools developed under the auspices of the IUSSP with support from UNFPA available on the IUSSP website. The workshop brought together 11 participants from national statistical offices in Benin, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mauretania involved in the analysis of their most recent round of censuses with  instructors from ISSP at the University of Ouagadougou, the University of Thies, Senegal, the National Statistical Agency of Senegal, and the University of Laval, Quebec, Canada. 

This workshop was a replication of a 2014 workshop on the same topic. Given high demand for training in these methods from national statistical offices in the region, it was decided to hold a follow-up workshop for teams of analysts from a small number of countries currently in the process of analyzing their recent census or about to begin analysis.  This year participants from Guinea, who had been unable to participate in 2014 because of travel bans related to the Ebola epidemic, were finally able to participate in the workshop.  It was also an opportunity to introduce to instructors at research and training centers in the region the online training materials. For many of the trainers it was the first time they had an opportunity to use the online Tools for Demographic Estimation. They found the materials useful and planned to use them for training at their own institutions. 


The objectives of the workshop were to improve:

  • the capacity of data analysts in national statistical offices and other organizations to analyze and use census data;
  • communication of population data to policy makers and the public using formats that maximize the impact of population data analyses for policy and programmes;
  • the use and value of census data, which, because of its exhaustiveness, is particularly suitable for disaggregated analyses of population trends. 


The workshop focused on child mortality and fertility in Africa demonstrating how demographic methods of estimation can be used to understand population trends. Particular attention was paid to the analysis of disaggregated data at the regional level to tease out inequalities in child mortality, life expectancy and fertility. The workshop included an introduction to QGIS, an open source data mapping software that enables the spatial representation of data trends, greatly improving the potential impact of population analyses based on census and other population data sources for policy making.


The workshop offered a mix of lecture and exercises drawing on demographic estimation methods for use where data is limited or incomplete. 


In the evaluation, carried out after the workshop, participants unanimously indicated that the training workshop was highly useful and that they would use the online tools and encourage their colleagues to use them as well.  Sixty percent of the participants thought the workshop was too short and would have liked more time to work on the practical exercises. 


*Moultrie T, Dorrington R, Hill A, Hill K, Timaeus I, Zaba B. (2013), Tools for Demographic Estimation, IUSSP, Paris, 419 p.


Read also: 

 The workshop programme, documents and presentations