Open Data Day: iWatch Africa criticizes DOVVSU & MoGCSP over failure to publish data on violence and discrimination against women

Tracking violence and discrimination in Ghana

Policy and News Director of iWatch Africa, Gideon Sarpong has criticized the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection (MoGCSP) as well as the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) over their failure to make relevant data on violence and discrimination against women available to all Ghanaians.

Mr. Sarpong, who delivered a short presentation on the theme ‘How open data and technology can reduce violence and discrimination against women and girls’ as part of the 2019 Open Data Day forum, insisted that DOVVSU and MoGCSP are not doing enough to drive the conversation about “violence and discrimination if they hold on to data” which can be used by civil society in their advocacy work.

This year’s Open Data Day was marked last Saturday in Accra as part of a global effort to promote transparency and accountability and value creation by insisting that data should be made available to all.

Gideon Sarpong, News Director, iWatch Africa presenting on Open Data Day 2019

“Why doesn’t the ministry have the relevant data or reports published on their website? Why should it be difficult for the DOVSSU to publish their annual reports?” Mr. Sarpong asked.

“This information is vital in addressing the challenge faced by our mothers and sisters when it comes to violence against women. It is not enough to gather data or prepare reports and keep them in your office cabinets. We must all be committed to promoting transparency and accountability,” he added.

UN Women in their 2018 report revealed that out of the 15 million adolescents who experienced forced sex, data gathered from 30 countries showed that less than one percent ever sought professional help.

Mr. Sarpong promised to launch an interactive data explorer as part of iWatch Africa’s broader effort to deal with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and called on all civil society organizations in the SGBV sector and men to work together to protect women and girls in the country.

“Every day we hear stories of rape and violence against women and girls. We as men have a great responsibility to deconstruct the negative patriarchal mind-sets and help ensure that those human ‘predators’ are brought to justice in this country. We cannot afford to remain silent in the face evident threat against the women in this country. We all have a role to speak up and help others,” Mr. Sarpong stated.


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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a policy analyst and media practitioner with close to a decade of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is a co-founder of iWatch Africa. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon is the founder of Sustainable Ocean Alliance Ghana. He was a 2021 Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence, Italy and 2020/21 Open Internet For Democracy Leader. Gideon was also a 2022 Visiting Scholar/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and was selected as a 2022 TRF/Trust Conference Changemaker. He is currently the Africa Regional Cordinator for Environmental Justice Foundation and a 2023 Pulitzer ORN Fellow. Email:

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