Ghana’s Roadmap for Development Through Data


Global development goals are often stated in numbers like these: By 2020, CARE and our partners will support 150 million people from the most vulnerable and excluded communities to overcome poverty and social injustice. But, how will we know when we’ve achieved them?

The answer lies in data, but in many developing countries where CARE works; technology access and utilization face tremendous barriers including lack of equipment, software and people who know how to use them. In addition, until recently in many parts of the world, including Ghana, data measurements could only provide impact evaluations of individual projects and programs and/or anecdotal explanations for how CARE’s interventions change lives. Programs used to track data were only available to a few and too often, data collection, analysis and utilization were piecemeal operations. Information gleaned wasn’t readily shared either, even among organizations and agencies working on similar goals and projects.

Ghana is making tremendous strides in changing that dynamic. In partnership with CARE and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), they’re taking the first steps towards ensuring Ghana has an efficient and integrated data ecosystem that’s built from the ground up with direct participation from the civil society organizations who are already working in Ghana’s communities.

Mercy Nyamikeh is the Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Communications Manager and focal person for SDG activities for CARE Ghana. She explains that CARE got involved early in Ghana’s data improvement and integration project because they knew that having community service organizations involved in development of the Platform right alongside government organizations and right from the start would make a powerful difference.

Nyamikey says, “Ghana has a very strong civil society base made up of local NGOs, international NGOs, networks and coalitions and many of them are focused on achieving similar SDG targets. We have a lot of data in Ghana but previously, each data source had limitations. For example, our national census is done once every ten years. The demographic and health survey is collected every five years and the Ghana Living Standard Survey is done every other year. We never had a platform or opportunity to share that information before though, so, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) developed an online database of credible data sources we can use to measure our progress along the SDGs. Now we can look closely at specific targets and indicators and modify them to suit Ghana’s National Development agenda. We have a way to share information within Ghana and work together with a network.”

GSS is coordinating the national statistical system, strengthening statistical activity at the district level and pursuing and supporting innovative collaborations with both national and international stakeholders from civil society, academia, the private sector, and development partners, like CARE. The result has been the innovative collaboration of 130 Community Service Organizations who will share data, information and learning opportunities, improve data collection, analysis and utilization and ultimately hit Ghana’s targets for the SDGs.

Organized around three themes, the GSS is:

  • Addressing data gaps to ensure that reliable data can be produced for many different sub-populations, (e.g. sex-disaggregated/ geographically-disaggregated data), and include new thematic areas, like environmental data, that have previously not received focused.
  • Encouraging data use through a platform hosted at GSS. Their goals are for data producers and users to work together in an iterative feedback loop that ensures that data produced is policy relevant, timely and presented in ways that address user needs and drive development outcomes. Specific areas for improvement include making already produced data more readily accessible to users, for example through the platform hosted at GSS.
  • Strengthening the data ecosystem and acknowledging the contribution that many different stakeholders can make to the production and use of data in addition to the need for new capacities, processes, policies, infrastructure and financing.

GSS is developing:

  • National Mapping of SDG Data produced by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to identify what data is being produced and where further contributions are needed.
  • A Quality Assurance Framework that collects official data for state and non-state actors and includes non-state actors in its development.
  • A National SDG Data Roadmap based on inputs from a National Data Roadmap Forum and developed by a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
  • Decentralized Statistical Departments set up in all 216 districts by the end of 2017.

It’s still early days for Ghana’s roadmap for development, but having access to new, credible sources of data is already helping CARE tailor their approach for humanitarian assistance in Ghana. As Nyamikey says, “With a focus on quality assurance, we’re making make sure we can stand on any platform or international forum and defend our data.”


No Comments

Leave a Comment