Visuals for Gender launched its “Data for Gender-Based Violence Advocacy” Project on the 25th of November, 2019 at Mobile Web Ghana. This day marks the kick-start of the 16 Days of Activism, an international campaign against gender-based violence, which is celebrated around the world. The project is supported by the U.S Embassy Ghana and it is aimed at:
1. Training CSOs/NGOs and Journalists, in the use of simple tools for data visualization and telling data-driven stories, which will be useful in their advocacy work.
2. Educating girls in Junior High Schools on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
3. Training teachers with the requisite skills of dealing with sexual violence issues about their students.
The Ambassador of the USA to Ghana, Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan was the Guest Speaker for the occasion. Also present were the Deputy Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Madam Judith Dzokoto, representatives from the Public Affairs Unit of the U.S Embassy Ghana, representatives from CSOs/NGOs, the Media and Heads and Teachers of some selected schools together with their students.
Florence Toffa (Director of Mobile Web Ghana) gave the welcome address, to start the ceremony. In her speech, she pointed out the importance of using data to champion the fight against gender-based violence in Ghana. She added
“Data is a very powerful tool to drive change, thus, influence government policies, educate citizens and influence citizen participation in the fight against gender-based violence. We have actively used data sets to tell data driven stories on gender-based violence, and shared them largely on our social media platforms”.
Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan gave her speech afterwards. She started by giving her view on gender-based violence and the need for everyone to be involved to champion the fight against it. She also explained the significance of this year’s theme ‘Orange the World: Generational Equality Stands against Rape”. She added that:
“This campaign is a call to action to the young and not so young – boys, girls, men, and women – to take an active stand against rape. Not just the abhorrent action of rape but also the worldwide culture that fosters and tacitly condones it. A culture that does not believe at its core that women and men should be treated as equals with the same rights and opportunities. The conspiracy of silence around sexual and gender-based violence robs survivors of their power and inhibits socioeconomic development. We must use the power of strong support networks and speak up in order to bring about accountability and change”.
Ambassador Sullivan also highlighted the U.S Embassy’s goal in helping to address issues of gender-based violence. She said:
“The U.S. Embassy places a priority on such programming and is honored to promote these “safe spaces.” We provide a platform for programs in which advocates, social workers, and law enforcement specialists meet with survivors of gender-based violence and with audiences who are the most vulnerable: adolescent girls. We rely on a network of women leaders to facilitate these sessions Over time, this group has become the Woke Women Task Force that includes health experts, social workers, psychologists, and female police officers, some of whom are alumnae of USG exchange programs”.
She also commended the team championing the “Visuals for Gender Project”. In relation to the focus of the launch- ‘Data for Gender-Based Violence Advocacy’, she added that:
“Data helps connect the dots to create an evidence-based case that shines a light on this worldwide epidemic. This epidemic affects our most vulnerable – our girls”.
The next session of the program was a video screening of our success stories from testimonies of people we have trained in the past. These included CSOs/NGOs and Journalists who we have trained to use simple tools for data analysis and visualization and storytelling to help in their advocacy work. The video also showed teachers and students we have trained, share their experiences.
Madam Patience Quaye, former Commissioner of the Ghana Police Service led a presentation on visualized data sets on the national gender-based violence statistics recorded by the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit. The presentation gave an overview of reported cases on gender-based violence cases from a period of 2014-2018. This sparked a discussion among the audience on the need for more effort to be put in championing the fight against gender-based violence in Ghana.
Ambassador Sullivan did the sod-cutting to commemorate the launch of the ‘Data for Gender-Based Violence Advocacy Project’ which is spearheaded by Visuals for Gender.
The program ended with a group photo and a brief but worthwhile networking session.