Polythene Waste for Rain Water Harvesting


A major problem on the Ashesi Farm is constant water supply to the maintain plant growth. After several brainstorming sessions, the team discovered that there could be a solution which would solve two problems: improper waste management (polyethene waste) and poor irrigation on the farm. The solution that was born was the use of polyethene waste, specifically ‘pure water’ sachets, create a mechanism for rainwater harvesting.

About 400 pure water sachets were procured from a single person’s consumption of “pure water.” These sachets were sewn together by a local seamstress in Berekuso into a canvas that will be used as water collection surface.

Some members of the farm team started experimenting with local materials to create the first prototype.


Growing Plants with Synthetic hydrophilic polymers (hydrogels) on the Ashesi Farm

With the intention of improving farm irrigation and water retention for plant grow, Dr. Elena Rosca, senior lecturer at the engineering department of Ashesi, has partnered with the farm modeling team in creating a test case around the possibility of farm irrigation using water retentive hydrogels during the dry season. This experiment is towards a project that Dr. Rosca will initiate in a bid to modify these hydrogels to become bio-degradable and plant-friendly.

Image uploaded from iOS (1)

The farm team together with Dr. Rosca, Dr. Charles Jackson, and the D:Lab coordinators visited the farm to explore the potential of the experiment as well as determine the processes involved.

Fellow’s Projects Update Session

D:Lab Fellows shared progress made with their projects and the next steps for their projects.


What? – Project Update Session

When? – Wednesday, 16th November 2016

Time? – 2:40 PM – 4:10 PM

Where? – McNulty Foundation Design Lab, King Engineering Building 102.

The following Fellows who are applying design thinking methods and tools to enhance their projects were invited to present their progress:

  • Pearl Gemegah & Dr. Suzanne Buchele – Designing an African academic gown system for various graduation levels
  • Antoinette Doku ’14 – A human-centered Montessori School Curriculum
  • The Ashesi Farm Modeling Project
  • Charles Djokoto – SunRise Hub, aiding financially disadvantaged high school graduates to pursue dream career paths
  • Comfort Appiah – LociFarm, an organic poultry farm
  • Jobe Wuyeh – Gambian Fruit Farm
  • Araba Torson – Women in Agriculture
  • Daniel Botchway & Yesmin Alhassan –  Exploring user behavior in the adoption of a Customer Relationship Management System at Ashesi
  • Sena Agyepong & Sofia Dery – Restructuring the entrepreneurship capstone for the next two academic years
  • Rose Dodd – Validating the Ashesi Institute brand and developing collateral for it


Global Goals Jam #atAshesi


September 17, 2016 – Ashesi’s D:Lab joined a network of universities, agencies and local communities all over the world, in hosting the first ever Global Goals Jam. Hosted at the Norton-Motulsky hall, the session attracted members of the Ashesi community, students from Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and other tertiary institutions.

During the 2015 Social Good Summit, where world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Development Programme, and MediaLAB Amsterdam launched the Global Goals Jam. At the Global Goals Jam, participants come together to design interventions towards tangible results in short sprints.


The session at Ashesi focused on three of the 17 goals, namely; affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and development and, responsible consumption and production. “For the jams, we created challenges for the goals we chose and worked towards creating actionable solutions,” said Theodore Philip Asare ’15, Design Thinking Coordinator at the D:Lab. “The D:Lab effectively identifies problems and attempts to solve them using design thinking, so the Jams was a great platform to hop on to help propose solutions to real problems that are going on in Africa and the world.”

Ashesi’s D:Lab is a space for members of the community to work on creative solutions to problems outside the classroom, using design thinking. “Looking forward, what we are hoping to do is to take these projects the D:Lab is currently working on, and perfect their solutions through initiatives like the Global Jams,” explained Carl Agbenyega ’15, Design Making Coordinator at the D:Lab. “So we will work with the team members of these projects to actively pursue these solutions to implement them in a more realistic way.”


**Initially published on the Ashesi Website

D:Lab Fellows Update Session

Students with projects in the D:Lab updated the community with what they had done with their projects.

What: 4 back-to-back 5 min presentations on projects
When: 11:15am -11: 40am on Wednesday 24th February 2016
Where: McNulty Foundation Design Lab

D:Lab Farm Modelling Project (in collaboration with Sesamu) : Exploring agriculture and using design thinking to model farming practices in response to unique food demands in the market

D:Lab Deep Dives Project: Building capacity to undertake social innovation projects. We are currently collaborating with the Burro Brand team to learn ethnographic research methods for doing work in rural communities in order to discover opportunities for innovation.

D:Lab Business Modelling Project: Developing a business model for hands-on science education as a pilot to build skills for business modelling. The Fellow will lead a project to explore micro-franchise models for scaling social enterprises. The PEN Education project from MIT, which is also currently participating in an incubator program at Growth Mosaic in Osu, is providing us with this opportunity.

D:Lab Dumsor Project – Unlocking the mystery behind low solar power adoption on the equator: The Fellow will lead a project using design thinking to explore this issue in with technical assistance from Stadler RE from the Netherlands and Dr. Hanne Lauritzen from the Danish Technical Institute.