Bennett Akuffo, Project Manager at Green Advocacy, reflects on the impact the ACTUATE project is having on the school children that visit its demonstration lab.
The science behind turning our food into energy or plants turning nutrients into energy are things every Ghanaian child has learnt from a science book. We were taught the processes religiously without questioning it. The child only had his or her imagination to visualise what the process would look like and what the end product would be. We had textbooks full of diagrams, pictures and lots of pages to learn from, but most of it seemed remote from our day-to-day lines.
At last with the ACTUATE project we can feel and experience the processes by which our food and the waste we generate can actually be turned into energy. The process of food waste segregation, transport of the waste from our homes and the feeding of the digester to produce biogas brings those textbook illustrations to life. In the demonstration lab that the project has created we see the end of the process- clean, sustainable energy in the form of the flames that come from burning the biogas. But those are not the only flames produced by ACTUATE. The project is lighting flames of interest and enthusiasm in the people that it works with. They can see that science is alive and there is more to it than just what we read- it can also provide the answers we all need!
This will give a whole meaning to what we all learnt, what we understood. Above all, the project is opening of the minds of every child in our beloved Omar Bin Hatab School, the location of our demonstration lab and digester. The question we ask ourselves next is what will this lead to? The writing of articles or stories on new forms of energy by the school kids? Maybe it should be them writing about the project for The FLOW? Or will they drive the start of waste segregation in our homes? Or maybe one of them will become the first Ghanaian to go to the moon? Who knows, but what we all see around us is potential and with the right spark the sky is the limit.
After all, the organic waste generated in our homes and schools can do more than provide cooking fuel, it can power our future and our dreams. The science behind the project is what we need to awaken the future through our kids. Waste is a huge problem in Ghana with drains, street corners and open spaces are littered. The link between ACTUATE and the Omar Bin Hatab school will be starting point for change in and around our communities and a beacon for all the schools to aspire to.
||Bennett Akuffo is the Project Manager at Green Advocacy Ghana & the Theme-Coordinator for the ACTUATE project and the “Water for Health & Sanitation” workpackage. He has undergone extensive training in the use of X-ray Fluorescence Machine (XRF) and TSI Aerosol Air Monitoring Devices with training done by Pure Earth USA. Bennett has experience in contaminated sites assessment under GAHP & over 10 years’ experience in E-waste management and its environmental and health effects to Ghana, with further training in WASH Audits by Lancaster University UK under the RECIRCULATE project.
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