In June 2021, the focus of our PARTICIPATE engagement was the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and more specifically how the project workpackages are addressing SDGs in Ghana and Nigeria. On 24th June our International SDGs webinar posed the question “How have RECIRCULATE & ACTUATE aligned with and fulfilled the SDGs?” to explore opportunities and challenges in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. Moderated by Dr Akan Odon and the RECIRCULATE team, the webinar featured co-leaders of our workpackages “Entrepreneurship & Innovation“, “Water for Health & Sanitation“, “Water for Food Production” and “Water for Energy Production” from Ghana, Nigeria and the UK. Each guest speaker shared how their workpackage addresses SDGs, followed by questions and interaction with the attendees.
Dr Joanne Larty (RECIRCULATE “Entrepreneurship & Innovation workpackage co-lead and Senior Researcher, Lancaster University Management School) presented the Women Innovators Network in Africa programme which aims to build a support network for female entrepreneurs. The programme brings together scientists, policy makers and academics empowering women in their career and thus directly address SDG4: Quality education and SDG5: Gender equality. Joanne also highlighted the Stimulating Entrepreneurial Thinking in Scientists (SETS) programme which introduced a place-based approach to SETS encompassing a framework and toolbox. The programme directly address SDG4: Quality education through workshops and training, SDG8: Decent work and economic growth and SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities through the outcomes of the programme.
Prof. Roger Pickup (RECIRCULATE “Health & Sanitation” workpackage co-lead and Chair of Biomedicine & Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Biomedical and Life Sciences) outlined the aims of the workpackage to improve environmental and human health by removing and reducing faecal waste, improving water quality and reducing the diarrhoeal burden and thus supporting SDG3: Good health and well-being, SDG6: Clean water and sanitation and SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities. He also highlighted the important role of the ACTUATE project which develops anaerobic digestion demonstrator systems in Ghana and Nigeria to deliver electricity, sanitation, improvements and sustainable fertilizer for crops and run training workshops for the community and thus addressing SDG4: Quality education.
Prof. Ian Dodd (RECIRCULATE “Water for Food Production” workpackage co-lead and Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Lancaster Environment Centre) focused on SDG2: Zero hunger as the main goal of the workpackage and its key targets – food security (access to food), malnutrition (in all dimensions), smallholder (productivity and incomes), sustainable and resilient agricultural production and agricultural biodiversity. He also addressed the increasing rice demand in Ghana which requires efficient water use and presented two solutions which the workpackage applied – Alternate Wetting & Drying (AWD) technique and the use of Anaerobic Digestate. He highlighted Knowledge Exchange (KE) as a key element to improve food and nutritional security and showcased the KE activities run by the workpackage to create awareness and new opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Prof. Alastair Martin (RECIRCULATE “Water for Energy Production” workpackage co-lead and Head of Chemical Engineering, Lancaster University Engineering) provided a brief overview of the RECIRCULATE & ACTUATE projects’ aims and where the workpackage fits. He presented how the ACTUATE’s work with Umar Bun Hatab School, Accra and University of Benin address SDG4: Quality education by developing and delivering teaching materials and training packages on how to use anaerobic digestion (AD). He also highlighted how collectively RECIRCULATE, ACTUATE and the workpackage support SDG7: Affordable and clean energy by demonstrating the practical application of AD for biogas at household and community scales, and SDG13: Climate action by demonstrating the generation of renewable energy from organic wastes in different contexts from the laboratory via household to the community.