Three students of the Heritage Christian College (HCC), Ghana emerged winners of the 2018 Global Social Innovation Challenge at the University of San Diego, United States of America (USA).
Known as Team Charcoal, the students — Evans Kwarkye, Benjamin Nketsia and Austin Carboo — presented a solution to the sanitation challenge in Ghana by turning human excreta into charcoal.
After competing with 51 teams from 27 universities in 12 countries, they won both the Audience Choice Award, which earned them $1,500, and the Overall Grand Prize in the General Track category, which also came with a seed funding of $15,000.
The Global Social Innovation Challenge is a social venture pitch competition that recognizes, resources and rewards student-led social ventures focused on sustainable change.
It is an initiative of the University of San Diego’s Centre for Peace and Commerce.
Participants in the challenge take a social or environmental issue and identify gaps in the approaches currently deployed to solve it.
Speaking at a press conference to welcome them at Amasaman last Tuesday, one of the team members, Nketsia, said although the team had the intention to address sanitation challenges in Ghana, it also considered the business aspect of the problem, hence the innovation of turning human excreta into charcoal.
“The initiative was introduced to us by one of our team members, after which we researched into it.
We realised that some companies were using excreta for bio gas and fertiliser, but looking at the amount being generated daily in Accra, we noticed that there were still more waste and that was why we decided to come in and contribute our quota.
We are in a strategic partnership with some of these companies and they will assist us in terms of technical advice,” he said.
Credit: Graphic Online