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technology 25 Nov 2019

African gender statisticians unite to improve data gathering in the continent

By Waiswa Wafula

Statistics on rape and domestic violence is collected from security agencies like the police and government offices in charge of statistics collection. These offices conduct surveys on demographics and health after a stipulated time but over the years, Mrs. Oloyede Oluyemi the Assistant Director in charge of gender statistics in Nigeria has a different opinion. Mrs. Oluyemi feels that the details put out by these offices are biased as majority if not many of the women fail to report their cases.

Through attending workshops with the African Gender Data network, Mrs. Oluyemi realized the importance of stand-alone interviews. She suggests that such surveys should be carried out privately with the collectors ideally a woman going door to door in order to get the correct statistics.

The network funded by Data2X was founded in 2019, unites statisticians with a focal point in their national office of statistics from the African continent with an aim to provide insight on practices that worked and those that failed in gathering gender data.

Currently there are 15 member states in the network: Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Theo countries were analyzed and found 48% of gender-relevant indicators were missing from the data collection. Kenya and Lesotho produced the least gender indicators while Ghana produced the most.

Statistics collected include the number of girls enrolled in school, the number of women involved in politics and those serving as judges, number of women receiving HIV/AIDS treatment among others. This information is intended to guide policy makers in the country.

The network also works to shorten the time between the mythological advancements and their implementation but this becomes difficult due to lack of finances

“The bottom line is finance. If you learn and there is no finance to do the work, there is nothing you can do,” Oluyemi said.

Another challenge is that these offices do not always receive the data they need from other parts of the government.Some agencies do not prioritize data gathering. They might see the inclusion of gender data in a survey as only a way to tick off a compliance requirement.

Ultimately, there is hope that the network’s members can elevate the importance of gender data across the national political systems in the countries where they work, she said. “This is like planting the seeds. These kinds of projects take time to really take off,” Ouyahia said.