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A dissemination workshop was held on July 30, 2009 in Addis Ababa to obtain input of all regions on the draft version of the Atlas of Rural Facilities and Services of the 11 regions of Ethiopia. UNFPA Ethiopia provided financial and technical support to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) in the production of the atlas, which is the first of its kind in Ethiopia.

Making an opening remark at the workshop Woizero Samia Zakaria, Director-General of CSA, noted that "the Atlas will provide an extensive set of maps at woreda level that show the access to basic facilities for million of rural population." Through providing wereda level information on the spatial pattern of existing rural facilities and services, the Atlas constitutes an indispensable source of information for governmental, non-governmental and the private sector allowing them to formulate and implement policies and development interventions aimed at improving the current facilities. It will also be instrumental in identifying the strategic locations that could be targeted for future development interventions and funding.

Dr. Francois Farah, UNFPA Representative a.i., outlined the importance of introducing and utilizing GIS technology in data collection and dissemination.  He underlined the need to capacitate the CSA and the regions to optimally utilize the GIS technology; update the Atlases; work on institutional arrangement to improve overall statistical capacity and retention of staff; and cascade the data to the regions.

In striving to introduce the latest information technology innovations to the field of data dissemination for development planning and social policy-making in Ethiopia, UNFPA-Ethiopia through promotion of GIS technology and software, supported the CSA in utilizing the data collected during the census cartographic work for the 2007 Ethiopian Housing and Population Census. This was mainly done in the form of maps and GPS readings for the production of wereda-level maps for the eleven regional states through facilitating the recruitment of an international consultant to provide technical assistance to the CSA.

The Atlas data will be made to reach the wider public through the use of compact discs (CD-ROMs) and will also be displayed on CSA's website, allowing easy access and utilization.

The meeting was concluded successfully following thorough and active discussions with all the regions on all technical aspects of the Atlases and the input obtained will be reflected in the revised and final Atlases. In addition, the regional experts have also considered the capacity needs of their respective regions and were to provide more elaborate assessment in that regard.

Over 50 statistical and GIS experts from all regional bureaus participated in the workshop.