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Between 2010 and 2020, many Pacific Islands and Territories have updated their traditional data collection processes, embracing new technologies. The island nations Kiribati and Vanuatu, among others, successfully switched to computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), a new data management system, and a survey monitoring dashboard.

The innovations implemented with support from the Pacific Community (SPC) helped to weather the impact of the pandemic on census activities and to become fit for the purpose of tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The CAPI format, for example, is cost-effective and user-friendly. The interviewers use a tablet, mobile phone, or computer to record answers. The technology’s self-correcting function means inconsistencies and mistakes are picked up and resolved during data capture, making the post-enumeration phase much more efficient.

In November 2020, Kiribati and Vanuatu embraced other technologies as well to conduct their national population and housing census. Both countries halted international travel following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant technical assistance had to be provided remotely. To overcome some of the challenges, the Pacific Community developed a real-time, online data management system and interactive monitoring dashboard for both the national statistical offices in Kiribati and Vanuatu.

The technologies are critically important for island states like Kiribati, which comprises numerous islands dispersed over millions of square kilometers of ocean. The survey monitoring dashboard, for example, addresses challenges in conducting face-to-face surveys in the region’s remote villages and communities.

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Pacific islands making the move to electronic data collection