New insights into e-waste problems in Ghana
For her Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology, Isabella van der Gaag has been doing ethnographic research in Ghana with the support of a LISF grant. For three months she studied environmental awareness at a Ghanaian secondary school.
Big problems with electronic waste
Ghana has a major problem with electronic waste, such as old mobile phones. Every year about 1.43 kilograms of e-waste are produced per person, while there are no good possibilities to recycle this waste.
Isabella: "At a secondary school in Tamale, I gave workshops on environmental awareness for girls from the ages of fourteen to nineteen. During the workshops I asked questions about how the girls deal with waste, what they do with their old mobile phone, how they talk about the weather and nature and whether they are aware of the dangers of waste in nature. "
A rewarding experience
Isabella carried out her research in collaboration with Closing the Loop. This organization tries to reduce the amount of e-waste by collecting old mobile phones, but the projects were not yet as successful as hoped. After her research, Isabella was able to give advice on how to improve the results. A great result!
"I got to know new people from a different culture and that experience made me think critically about my own life." - Isabella
She gained useful experiences in Ghana, on both a profesional as personal level. "Not only did I get to know a new country, I also gained work experience at a school and for the first time I did independent ethnographic research for an environmental organization." On a personal level she also experienced the trip as inspiring.