The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), in collaboration with the Ghana Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has taken a significant step toward improving data collection on gender-based violence and sanitation issues in Ghana.

In an intensive one-day training program, journalists from 30 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies spanning all 16 regions of the country were introduced to two revolutionary Citizen Generated Data (CGD) Apps.

Addressing the workshop, Gloria Akoto-Bamfo, the Principal Statistician and Gender Officer at the Ghana Statistical Service, explained that these cutting-edge Apps were initially developed in 2017 and piloted in four districts in 2018 and 2019. Now, in 2023, the Apps have been scaled up to 30 districts, with a vision to eventually encompass all districts across the nation.

The primary objectives of the CGD Apps are threefold:

1. Real-Time Data Collection: By empowering citizens to contribute real-time data, the Apps aim to gain valuable insights directly from the affected communities themselves.

2. Bridging Data Gaps: The Apps seek to address existing data gaps on gender-based violence and sanitation issues, offering a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of these critical concerns.

3. Encouraging Data Utilization: With increased data availability and accessibility, the CGD Apps strive to foster data-driven decision-making and policy implementation.

The two new Apps were developed with the assistance of app developers and received technical and financial support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

1. “Let’s Talk App” – Tackling Gender-Based Violence: This app focuses on gender-based violence (GBV) and allows victims or witnesses to report incidents anonymously from any location in the country. By providing a secure space for reporting, the Let’sTalk App has significantly increased the collection of GBV data, surpassing what was available through the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) since its inception.

The Let’sTalk App is readily available for download on the Google Play Store and can be accessed through the USSD code *800*818# for Android and feature phone users.

2. “CleanApp Ghana” – Addressing Sanitation Issues: This app targets sanitation problems and enables users to capture images of uncollected or abandoned waste for prompt collection at designated disposal areas. By promoting citizen participation, CleanApp Ghana contributes to reducing the sanitation challenges in public spaces, thereby mitigating the spread of communicable diseases. The app is also accessible on the Google Play Store and through the short code *920*58#.

Levlyn Aseidu, the national coordinator for the Ghana CSOs Platform on SDGs, emphasized their commitment to continuously training stakeholders on the effective use of these Apps. By harnessing real-time data, these initiatives aim to provide policymakers with accurate and timely information, ensuring more informed decision-making processes.

Additionally, the assurance of anonymity for victims, witnesses, or concerned individuals reinforces the Apps’ role in empowering citizens to speak up about critical issues affecting their communities. With the Let’sTalk App and CleanApp Ghana, Ghana takes a remarkable stride towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goals and fostering a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive society for all.

By: Florence Caesar

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