Training Workshop on Demographic Analysis for Decision Making

Dakar, Senegal, 1-5 December 2014 

Organized under the auspices of the IUSSP Network for Strengthening Demographic Training in Francophone Africa


Trainers: Allan G. Hill (University of Southampton); Claudine Sauvain-Dugerdil (Université de Genève); Richard Marcoux (Université Laval); Valérie Delaunay (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement); Cheikh Mbacké (independent consultant); Laurent Richard (Université Laval).


The Training workshop on Demographic Analysis for Decision Making - Trends and Inequalities in Death and Fertility in Francophone Africa was organized at the Campus Numerique of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) in Dakar, Senegal from 1-5 December 2014, with funding from UNFPA and in collaboration with the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the Observatoire démographique et statistique de l'espace francophone (ODSEF), and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Senegal.



Participants included 24 trainees, mostly analysts based at national statistical offices in the Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo; six trainers and two training assistants,  with vast experience teaching demographic methods and/or working with census and survey data in the region.


The objectives of the workshop were to: 

 improve capacity to analyse and use census data; 

 better communicate population data to policy makers and the public by providing training in mapping software to represent population trends geographically maximizing their potential  impact on policies and programmes at the local and regional level; and 

 to demonstrate the unique value of census data, which, because of its exhaustiveness, is particularly suitable for disaggregated analyses of population trends. 


The workshop offered a mix of lecture and exercises drawing on Tools for Demographic Estimation,  an online manual of demographic estimation methods for limited or incomplete data developed by an IUSSP working group with funding from UNFPA. The manual was translated to French for this workshop and is available on the IUSSP website at


Training courses focused on fertility and child mortality in Africa, demonstrating how demographic methods of estimation can be used to understand population trends and inequalities.  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 by mother’s educational status, geographic location, urban or rural residence.  The workshop included an introduction to QGIS, an open source data mapping software, which 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 evaluation conducted after the workshop shows that participants found the online training tools and the workshop very useful. One-hundred percent of respondents would recommend it to their colleagues. Two-thirds of them, however, felt that the workshop was too short. Given the number of applicants who applied to attend the workshop as well as the strong evaluations of workshop participants, there appears to be high demand for short, though more likely, 10-day to two-week training workshops on demographic estimation methods covered in Tools for Demographic Estimation.


See also: 

 The seminar report, programme and participant list.

 Exercices, presentations and background documents (in French)

 The web page for the Francophone Network (FraNet).