The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), in collaboration with its partners, Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone Ghana and Flowminder, has inaugurated a high-level Steering Committee to oversee its Call Detail Records (CDR) Project which seeks to use mobile operator data to support the generation of new national statistics.
The committee, whose membership is drawn from various government agencies, will provide overall direction and guidance to ensure the full potential in the use of Call Detail Records to help deepen the understanding of migration patterns within and among regions in Ghana to inform policies.
Inaugurating the committee, the Board Chair of the GSS, Dr Grace Bediako, said the ceremony marked the beginning of a new era for data and statistics in Ghana, not only by what it sought to achieve but also by how it intended to do it.
She added that with the growing demand for spatial information in real time, the statistical community was confronted with the need to innovate around data production, analysis, dissemination and use.
“One such avenue is using the Call Detail Records (CDR), which provide an alternative type of spatial data that can add to, or augment routine data collections to introduce new opportunities in statistical data production; with relatively high level of accuracy, efficiency and cost effectiveness,” she said.
The CDR Project forms part of the “Big Data for Good” initiative by the GSS.
The partnership, Dr Bediako said, would give the GSS the expertise and capacity to explore the full potential in the use of Call Detail Records to help deepen the understanding of migration patterns within and among regions in Ghana to inform policies in areas such as conflict prevention, disaster response and humanitarian aid and public health.
Data from the CDR Project will be used to produce population estimates in real time to inform the migratory pattern in localities and thereby suggest appropriate policy interventions in the distribution of resources.
The Vodafone Foundation and Hewlett Foundation provided the funding for the project for the first two years, while Flowminder is providing the technical expertise needed to realise the project.
Dr Bediako explained that leveraging technology to increase the availability of real-time quality data through partnerships and collaborations was an important step to ensure the delivery and achievement of development objectives.
She added that filling the data gaps for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana required magnifying the way data was collected and processed as the existing data collection regime alone could not provide the timely and much-needed disaggregation and other metrics.
The Director of the Vodafone Group Foundation, Mr Andrew Dinnett, said the foundation remained committed to using anonymous aggregated data in the prevention and spreading of infectious diseases.
“If you know how people move on a daily basis, then if you have the outbreak of an infectious disease, you know how to intervene and immunise more effectively,” he said.
The foundation, he noted, spent the last four years working with the GSS and Vodafone Ghana to find the right framework for carrying out the project.
“We are truly excited that we are at the point when that work is being done,” he noted.