Winners of the Climate Change Adaptation Through Youth Innovation competition visit University of Ghana, share adaptation ideas, and leave motivated to take action on environmental issues. Words by Prosper Adiku.
Between 13 and 16 May, 2018, the first and second prize winners of the Climate Change Adaptation Through Youth Innovation (CATYI) competition paid a visit to the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS) at the University of Ghana. The visit formed part of the awards for the CATYI competition held among selected senior high schools in the Lawra and Nandom districts of Ghana’s Upper West Region on January 20. The visiting group was comprised of five students from the Nandom and Lawra senior high schools, who won the first and second positions respectively, team supervisors, and the competition's local coordinator.
CATYI students on a visit to the Ecological Laboratory (ECOLAB) at the University of Ghana. Prosper Adiku.
ASSAR’s Ghana team hosted the visitors. The first day’s activities included a welcome address from the director of the Institute, Prof. Chris Gordon, introduction to the Institute and the university at large, and a series of presentations from invited guests. The chief executives of environmental organisations Greener Impact International (GII) and Environment360 gave inspiring presentations emphasising existing opportunities requiring youth action in the country.
Fauzia Mohammed from Lawra Senior High School shares ideas with other students and the rest of the team during the visit to IESS. Prosper Adiku.
The students used the opportunity to share their award-winning ideas with other students, mainly environmental club members from the Achimota Senior High School in Accra. On a tour of the university campus the students visited some departments, centres and ongoing project units, including the Marine and Fisheries Sciences Department, Monitoring Environment for Security in Africa (MESA), and Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (CERGIS) among others.
Ignatius Williams explains the operations of the MESA project to the students during their visit to the Regional Implementation Centre (RIC) of the project at the University of Ghana. Prosper Adiku..
The teams also visited coastal Accra, specifically Jamestown, a fishing community, which has the lighthouse and the James Fort, originally used as a slave post and later a prison. The Jamestown visit helped the students appreciate the differences in livelihood activities as well as the dynamic nature of climatic and non-climatic stressors of coastal regions compared to semi-arid regions.
A guide shows students and supervisors around the Jamestown fishing village. Prosper Adiku.
The students and their supervisor were impressed by the efforts of ASSAR, particularly with respect to the involvement of the students through the introduction of the CATYI competition. Mr. Jacob Dumba, a tutor at the Lawra Senior High School, is convinced that the students have “learned so much about the environment and climate change through the competition” and is of the view that establishing more environmental clubs in the schools will enhance students’ knowledge on environmental issues.
Through the competition the students were encouraged and motivated to take action on environmental issues in their own capacities. Maaku Samson of the Lawra Senior High School is poised for action. “I will encourage people and let them know that we don’t have to wait for someone to motivate us or give us something to protect our environment but we have to work hard to promote the quality of nature,” he said. Mohammed Ibrahim of the Nandom Senior High School, on the other hand, was grateful for being inspired and says taking part in the competition has built his confidence. “You can’t be a good innovator if you don’t want to try,” he said.
The interactions with Greener Impact have created a link to enable the integration of the CATYI students into the organisation’s youth-related activities, particularly in subsequent activities of the Ghana Youth Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (GYCCCSD). The team is also exploring the possibility of creating an online exchange platform in the schools for knowledge exchange on climate change and also strengthening existing environmental clubs in the area.
The CATYI competition was implemented as part of the Small Opportunities Grant (SOG) Award received under the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project. The SOGs are in recognition of the need to go beyond academic capacity building within ASSAR to do more to strengthen the capacities of those living and working in the ASSAR study sites. Read more about other ASSAR research for impact activities.
Prosper Adiku is the Technical Officer for ‘Promoting Research into Use through Networking and Engagement’ (PRUNE) under the Ghana Country Engagement Group (G-CEG) of CARIAA. His main role is to support the implementation of the RiU strategies for the CARIAA consortia (ASSAR & DECCMA) in Ghana.