The University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) has held its 2nd Development Challenge awards which saw fifty (50) Basic Schools in the Eastern, Greater Accra and the Volta Regions participating. The ceremony was held in the Auditorium of the Multi-Purpose Building with focus on: “Plastics Recovery Project; Innovation for Environment Sustainability and Stewardship.”
The UESD Development Challenge Award is one of the flagship programmes of the University, organised by the Community Engagements, Programmes and Innovations Unit (CEPIU), to award the best innovative and creative contestants who partake in a competition that impacts on their environment. Only five Basic Schools participated in the maiden edition held in 2022. This year, there has been a one hundred percent (100%) increase in participation. The contestants competed in three categories: Best Essay, Best Innovation and Best Poster, using plastics as the theme.
Explaining the criteria for selection of winners, the Chairman of the five-member Awards Committee, Dr. Tracey Keith Flemming Mankutam, who is also a Lecturer in African Studies explained that, the task of the Committee was to evaluate, select, provide feedback and crown the best school and district with the most promising project innovation on plastic waste recycling or re-use. The Committee took into consideration creativity, relevance of the design, level of skill, commitment to sustainable development, innovativeness, level of involvement or participation, creativity, and finally neatness in the presentation of the final product.
Dr. Flemming Mankutam said, a series of tests were carried out to arrive at the winners. The winning schools had to show commitment to sustainable development e.g., cleanliness of its and immediate environment. This year, the best schools and districts were also awarded.
The Under listed schools received awards in the following categories.
Best Performing Schools: Anyaboni R/C Basic (winner), Somanya Methodist School (1st runner-up) and Mount Mary Demonstration R/C JHS (2nd runner-up), were awarded in this category.
Best Performing Districts: Upper Manya District (winner), Okere District (1st runner-up), and Yilo Krobo Municipality (2nd runner-up)
Other Categories: Somanya Methodist JHS was awarded for the Best Essay, Nifa D/A Basic School-Best Innovative Product (BIP) and Anyaboni R/C Basic School-the Best Poster (BP) were awarded in this category.
In an address, the Guest of Honor, the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Seth Kwame Acheampong, who was represented by Mrs. Vera Lamiley Allotey, the Regional Director for Community Development affirmed government’s commitment to reduce drastically the use of plastic by enforcing the implementation of legislation on plastic waste. He commended the Management of the University for providing the platform for individuals, schools, and organizations to showcase their commitment to combat plastic pollution head-on.
The Director of STEM, at the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs. Olivia Serwaa Opare, the Minister of Education’s representative, assured stakeholders of the programme that GES will include proper disposal of plastics, and innovative ideas which gives alternatives for its re-usage, re-designing and recycling of plastic waste in its nationwide educational programmes. She congratulated the participating schools in the Challenge for their hard work and dedication and commended UESD for creating the platform capable of changing one’s way of life by improvement in health.
The chairman was the Vice-Chancellor of UESD, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson. He urged the public to cultivate the habit of reducing, re-using, re-designing, and recycling plastic products which he believes is one of the surest ways of reducing the roles plastics play in pollution. Prof. Nyarko-Sampson said, the chosen theme for the programme, challenges us to think creatively and harness the power of innovation to address the critical issue of plastic waste that threatens the environment. Quoting some research findings which indicate that about ninety per cent (90%) of birds and fishes are believed to carry plastic particles in their stomachs as a result of direct human activities from the use of plastics.
The Vice-Chancellor commended the consultants and coaches of the participants for the role they played to get them to the top. He also expressed appreciation to stakeholders who contributed immensely to the success of the programme particularly staff members of UESD and appealed to corporate bodies for sponsorship.
Also present were the Paramount Chief of Yilo Krobo Traditional area, Nene Nuer Anorbah Sasraku II, Nene Sackitey II and members of the UESD community.
Some Participating Schools
Out of the fifty (50) schools that filed for the competition, twenty (20) schools were selected. These are Juapong DA/RC Basic School, Juapong Textile Ltd. D/A Basic School, Bonikope Community Basic School Complex, Sege Community JHS No. 1, Nsutam D/A Basic School, Asifaw D/A Basic School, Nifa D/A Basic School, Pakro Methodist School, Berekusu Presby B, Mampong Presby JHS, Nana Ankobea Takyiwa JHS, Asesewa R/C Basic School, St. Peter R/C JHS, Somanya Methodist JHS, Atua St. Paul Presby JHS, Mount Mary Demonstrations R/C JHS, Akosombo V.R.A JHS No. 2, Akosombo International School, Living Grace Academy and Ayikuma Methodist Basic School.