Media Sensitized on UKRI ACTUATE Project

The Bio-digester at the Umar Bun Hataf Islamic School

HATOF Foundation, a Ghanaian environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has held a day’s media sensitization on the Accelerating the adoption of Circular Sanitation demonstration systems for improved health outcomes (ACTUATE) project.

The £700,000 project, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Global Research Translation Award programme, was launched in July 2020 to demonstrate the use of waste in generating energy.

The media engagement was therefore to raise awareness about the project and support cultural and generational changes in thinking and understanding the paradigm of a safe circular economy.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HATOF Foundation, Samuel Dotse, said the project, will support governments’ efforts at managing waste using a community-led approach.

He indicated that since the launch of the project, an anaerobic digester has been established at the Umar Bun Islamic School at Madina in Accra.

The community-based pilot demonstration of the bio-energy systems, he said, will support an accelerated uptake of a safe circular water economy connecting waste, human health, energy, food and soil security.

“These systems will act as working demonstration labs to show that green wastes can be used to generate energy to benefit the community,” he said.

ACTUTATE Project Coordinator, Dr Richard Bayitse in his presentation said the biodigester system is made up of several connected tanks. The digester will be fed with green waste, such as food waste, brought in by the students and the local community.

“The waste is chopped up by the macerator and then mixed with material from the school’s septic tank and in the biodigester the waste is converted to biogas, which is stored in a balloon-like plastic bag.

From here, the biogas will then be used as a safe and clean fuel source for light in the school. The leftover material from the process can be used as a biofertiliser to improve the soil condition to grow crops,” he explained during a media visit to the facility.

Umar Bun Hatab Islamic School will have a SHOW lab, supported by GreenAd, where school children and the Madina Zongo community will be able to use the biogas from the digester as fuel for light and heat. The soil conditioner will be used by Blue Skies to grow plants.

Director of RECIRCULATE and ACTUATE projects and Director of International Engagement, Lancaster University, Professor Kirk T. Semple said beyond the construction and running of the biodigester, a key aim of ACTUATE is to work with the community to show the benefits of using a biodigester to highlight the value of waste to produce energy.

He said the project will continue to work with communities to build understanding of the need to separate waste for processing in the biodigester facility.

The project is a partnership between Lancaster University,UK; Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana; HATOF Foundation, Ghana; GreenAd, Ghana; Sewerage Systems Ghana Ltd (SSGL), Ghana; Umar Bun Hataf Islamic School, Ghana.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri