In 2020, a School for Water & Life took place in Ghana, followed by a one day online workshop. The goal of the School was to bring together university students from various disciplines and countries to focus on the overarching topic of “Water and Life” while working in a transcultural and translingual setting.
The School took place from February 3-7 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana with 22 students and 15 lecturers. The objectives of the School were to exchange views on problems, especially in the areas of water and livelihoods in West Africa, to develop approaches to solutions, and to lay the foundations for the students› MSc and BSc theses. In attendance were 8 students and 8 experts from Swiss academic institutions Swiss TPH, OST, ETH Zurich, FHNW, and BFH. They were joined by 14 students from West Africa (Ivory Coast, Liberia and Ghana) and 7 lecturers from Ghana (KNUST).
In September, after having completed their research, the students met again in an online workshop to present and discuss the results of their work.
«The exchange between all participants on site increases the mutual understanding for developing the best solution and operating it sustainably.»Prof. Christof Biba, lecturer in the study program Renewable Energies and Environmental Technology at OST and Head of PV Systems Technology at SPF
The curriculum for the School included:
- Field research and visits to a lakeside community, an irrigated rice plantation, urban informal settings, and an abandoned mining site;
- Case study work in groups of 5-6 students;
- Meetings with local stakeholders;
- Inputs on SDGs, local issues related to water, and global issues related to water.
The students were divided up into 4 groups based on their specified research topics. Each group included both Swiss and West African students. The groups worked together on specific case studies during the week, collecting information from stakeholders, discussing the challenges facing local communities, and brainstorming on possible solutions to the challenges. Two groups focused on WASH related challenges, one group focused on challenges related to water and agriculture, and the last group focused on water and mining challenges. At the end of the week the groups presented a summary of their analysis, the solutions found and their conclusions according to the problem tree approach regarding their case study.
Find here a presentation about the 2020 School.