This edition goes to Ghana, where an intercontinental initiative is working with thousands of school children to collect, clean and sell the trash that litters the country, thereby creating jobs and income.
Recycle Up! Ghana (RUG) is an African-German initiative that works with Ghanaian school children to tackle the massive waste problems in the country. Collected and cleaned trash is sold to recycling companies for reuse.
From one school to another, we head up into the mountains of Morocco, where female boarders are learning how to grow and use local plants that were once a part of their ancestors’ lives. With the help of their grandmothers, they are even putting together a book of medicinal and culinary recipes.
Staying in Africa, we go to Zambia, where a woman who grew up in the mist of Victoria Falls is doing everything she can to teach young people about the problems of local deforestation, and we visit Nigeria’s Ogoniland to find out about plans to clean up the oil spills.
In Germany, we look at the difficulties facing a power company that failed to get on board with the green energy transition, and along the coast of Turkey, we meet a formidable English woman, who at age 93, has earned herself the title of “Captain June” for her unerring devotion to saving the local turtle population.
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The World Bank Group has inaugurated a multimillion climate innovation centre to support Ghana’s growth strategy to help more than 100 local clean technology businesses develop and commercialise innovative solutions to mitigate effects of climate.
The launch of the first technology hub in the country on Tuesday came barely four months after the World Bank approved a financial package of $17.2 million to fund the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre located at Ashesi University College in Berekusu in the Eastern region.
The centre will support the country’s climate change policy to help over 300,000 Ghanaians increase resilience to climate change in the next 10 years.
It is also expected to support local clean technology ventures to mitigate 660,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions of almost 140,000 cars in a year, World Bank said, and it will contribute to the production of over 260 million kWh of clean energy in the West African country.
Environmental scientists warn that if global temperatures rise by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the consequences will be severe and, in some cases, irreversible and projected glaciers will continue to shrink, heat waves will be more frequent and the oceans will get warmer and more acidic.
UN special envoy on climate change and former Ghanaian president, John Kufuor, said at the launch that emerging countries like Ghana would be unable to mitigate climate change effects unless they joined global forces.
“I believe global action is crucial to fight the impact of climate change, I believe science and technology should be deployed at every stage, the effort must be global, this is what the world must be awakened to,” he said.
“If we are seeking green solutions to fight the impact, which is global, I believe public policy, donor community support, as well as private ventures should share the risk of investment to transition from fossil fuels to green energy.”
Kufuor urged donors to fulfil their pledges in terms of financial commitments and developed nations to extend technology to back developing countries in Africa’s fight against climate change.
“Africans cannot deal with the problem without global partnership,” he stressed, “we need the global community, the promises and pledges have been there for some time, unfortunately the pledgers have not fulfilled their pledges in terms of financial support, in terms of technological extension.
“No country is an island now, unless the world moves together to do something by 2020 or 2030 to put temperatures under two degrees Celsius, it will be like all of us being on the same boat, we either sail together or we sink together.”
Henry Kerali, World Bank country director for Ghana said, in a speech read on his behalf: “The Ghana CIC solidifies the role of the private sector in helping Ghana manage the effects of climate change.
“By enabling entrepreneurs and green innovators to test and scale new clean technologies, home grown business solutions can help the country build climate resilience, while also contributing to job creation and economic development.”
According to the World Bank report, Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change, without a proper green growth strategy, Ghana’s agricultural gross domestic product is projected to decline by 3 per cent to eight per cent by the middle of the century.
Coastal erosion from rising sea levels could result in significant loss of land and forced migration, while extreme weather events could further strain the country’s infrastructure.
To reduce the long-term cost of climate change and create opportunities for sustainable growth, the bank said the GCIC will provide local companies with the knowledge and resources they need to develop prototypes and market innovative clean technologies in sectors like climate-smart agriculture, waste water treatment, and off-grid renewable energy.
The services offered by the centre will include sea financing, policy interventions, and market connections, as well as technical and business training.
Similar centres have been established in the Caribbean, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morroco, South Africa and Vietnam.
By using an abundant – and green – crop, the Bamboo Bikes Initiative has won international prizes.
Six years ago, Bernice Dapaah decided to forge an unconventional path into employment. About to graduate with a business administration degree but facing a bleak
job market in Ghana, she joined forces with a handful of engineering students to create an innovative product from an abundant crop: bamboo.
Her inspiration was an initiative, led by the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan, exploring sustainable, green ways to help producers out of poverty. “There’s a lot of unemployment in the country and we didn’t want to just follow the masses and look for white-collar jobs,” she says. “We wanted to come up with an idea that would also create employment for other youth.”
The result is the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a social enterprise based in Kumasi, southern Ghana, where strong, lightweight and durable bikes are made out of bamboo and built by an ever-growing team of young people specially trained for the role. The project has serious green credentials, too: not only are the bikes an affordable, environmentally sound alternative to cars, but bamboo is fast-growing, produces up to 35% more oxygen than other trees and helps to prevent soil erosion, a significant cause of concern for farmers in Ghana.
It’s an idea so brilliant the team won a Seed award in 2010, just six months after their first prototype, and have since gone on to win 10 other awards internationally. Along with the financial assistance, Dapaah says, “Seed gave us some technical support to develop a business plan, and gave us a lot of media platforms, too. Since then we have been growing and trying to see how best we can expand the business.”
The initiative has sold more than 1,000 bikes, including sales in Europe and the US; in Ghana, they cost $120 each, around $40 more than a secondhand steel bike, but as Dapaah points out, bamboo has a number of qualities that make it an attractive alternative to steel bike frames: “Bamboo is five times stronger than steel – in China they use it as scaffolding,” and bamboo bikes are more environmentally friendly to produce than steel bikes, as their construction uses much less energy. To meet demand while aiming to mitigate climate change, the team plans to plant 10 trees for each one they use in areas where the bamboo will help restore the soil after years of land degradation.
Dapaah and her co-founders have trained more than 35 people to make the bikes and are establishing two new workshops outside Kumasi, in the Brong Ahafo region, which will employ around 50 more youths. The idea is that each employee, once trained, can train and employ five or six others, meaning the bikes can be produced on a small scale all over Ghana.
“My favourite part of the job is when I go to the workshop to see the youths and know they are able to earn a living,” Dapaah says. “I feel so happy when I see we have been able to create a bit of laughter for them.”
Source: The Guardian
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