View this page in French This page is in English

Home > Presentation > What is IREDA ?

What is IREDA ?

What is IREDA ?

IREDA is a project coordinated by Francis Gendreau and Françoise Gubry within the ValDemo international working group set up by the UMR CEPED research support office, in partnership with PARIS21 and INSEE.


The aim of the IREDA project (Inventaire des Recensements et des Enquêtes Démographiques en Afrique – “Inventory of Censuses and Demographic Surveys in Africa”), is to produce a summary description of all African national demographic operations, both past and present, (over 600 surveys and population censuses), to provide information on existing resources and to promote access to these resources, so that the data are available to researchers for use in the context of comparative studies.

The resources of interest for the project include all available written and electronic documents concerning pre- and post-data collection phases (official publication of results and analyses made by researchers, technical documents, questionnaires, manuals for interviewers, maps, coding manuals, database documentation, etc.), derived both from data producers and researchers using the data.

Project Structure

The IREDA project includes the construction of a centralized IREDA website and an OAI-PMH open archive Redatek . Other open archives may be developed on the initiative of project partners, hosted on their own websites.

The IREDA website presents the inventory of African demographic censuses and surveys. The presentation of these data collection operations is in conformity with the DDI standard (Data Documentation Initiative). The IREDA is a portal providing access to existing resources concerning each of these operations, via links to corresponding websites (national statistical institutes, ACAP, IPUMS-International, IHSN, AASDA, …).

Open archives may also be set up in each of the DEMONETA centres, partners of the project. The documentation on censuses and demographic surveys available in theses centres will be digitized and held on Redatek, and possibly on their own archive sites in accordance with the OAI/PMH protocol, and will be accessible via the IREDA site, subject to consent by the producer and relevance to the project. The archive sites will run on open source software, such as Greenstone, so that bibliographical references can be recovered directly from documentary software such as CDS-Isis.

Strengthening capacity in the research and training centres of the DEMONETA network.

Data will be fed into IREDA in partnership with the centres of the DEMONETA network, the statistical institutes, Afristat and IHSN. The Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques (IFORD), based in Yaoundé in Cameroon, is one of CEPED’s long standing partners. With documentary resources complementary to those of CEPED, IFORD will be the first Southern institute to take part in the project. It is also a key institution for promoting the use of existing African data through its training and research programmes. The following centres will also be partners associated with the IREDA project: CEFORP, ENSEA, ISSP and l’URD.

Via the IREDA project, CEPED’s partner training and research centres will be equipped with a demographic data archiving tool (the toolkit proposed by IHSN) and will receive training in its use. They will then be able to use the toolkit to enhance the availability of their resources. The documents in their possession, directly linked to demographic data collection operations, will be digitized by the IREDA project, for entry into Redatek open archives and the archives of each of these centres.

Close relations with national statistical institutes

On the one hand, information about the work of the statistical institutes will be channelled through IREDA, thereby increasing their visibility and facilitating access to their data. Subject to their authorization, the IREDA site will provide visitors with a systematic link to the sites of the national statistical institutes and direct access to electronic publications on topics relevant to the IREDA project.

On the other hand, IREDA will enable the national statistical institutes to recover relevant electronic documentation held by the research community, notably that concerning older surveys.

Close collaboration with IHSN

The database underpinning the IREDA website will be based on the data available on the IHSN website and on the inventory drawn up by the Bureau d’Appui à la Recherche of UMR CEPED. In the initial stage, the IREDA site will provide a validated inventory of censuses and national demographic data collection operations, with their description, backed up with available publications.

The information published on the IREDA website will in turn be fed into the IHSN database, the statistical institutes and those DEMONETA partners interested in a systematic web updating service thanks to a strict adherence to the operational norms.

Rapid set up

The project was launched in 2008. A model of the website with two pilot countries – Congo (D.R.) and Niger – will go online in 2009. Other countries will follow. A first public version of the website was presented to the IUSSP Congress in Marrakech (2009/29/09).

Regular maintenance

The IREDA site will be maintained by the Bureau d’Appui à la Recherche of UMR CEPED.

Maintenance will involve three types of tasks :
- organization and verification of systematic data input to IREDA from IHSN partner national statistical institutes, via RSS web feed;
- keeping track of document output from new national data collection operations in other African countries, notably those which have not yet adopted the Nada archiving policy;
- subject to authorization by data producers, updating of CEPED’s REDATEK open archive whenever new documents are acquired (via other projects with which ValDemo is associated, SEDET’s e-geopolis and IPUMS-International/Datanet of the Minnesota Population Center).

Development outlook

Increasing the visibility of existing demographic data is a prerequisite for developing research that makes use of this data. The IREDA project was set up by an international working group ValDemo (Valorisation des données Démographiques), under the responsibility of Valérie Golaz, UMR CEPED researcher, whose purpose is not only to facilitate access to available data, but also to develop comparative data analysis between data collection operations.
IREDA is a starting point for the development of research and analysis projects based on national demographic data.