By Augustine Adams, Program Officer, CHF International - Ghana
The first ever Green Apple Day of Service in Ghana has been heralded with a first ever field trip by students to the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) in Accra. The visit by the pupils and teachers was organized by CHF International with its partners as members of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Ghana Green Building Council.
Sixty pupils accompanied by three teachers spent over two hours learning about composting, its contribution to reducing green house gas emissions and its significant role in organic agricultural production. The pupils and teachers learned the basic steps of producing compost from organic waste from homes, restaurants, markets and schools. They also learned about how compost is tested for the right amount of the required elements (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and the right moisture level.
Prior to this field visit, the pupils had learned about composting, but without experiencing the process firsthand. Four technical staff of the BNARI Educational Compost and Laboratory complex, partners of CHF International under the Gates Foundation funded Youth Engagement in Service Delivery project, volunteered for the day guiding the pupils and teachers through the facility answering their thoughtful questions.
At the end of the visit, the pupils were motivated to start separating waste at their school to pave the way for the beginning of composting on a small scale with support from the BNARI technical staff as a way to produce organic fertilizer for their school garden. The school children learned about composting and how it closes the energy loop by returning minerals back to the soil for the production of energy containing foods. They were also shown how to enhance their school garden by producing and using compost and protecting the environment from green house gas emissions from improper disposal of organic waste.
“Next time round, we look forward to receiving more such visits from school children as it offers us the opportunity to impart our knowledge in this economically and environmentally useful practice of composting” were the parting words of Mr. Samuel Nettey, the coordinator of the BNARI facility.