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Pioneering A Bamboo Education Haven In Ghana To Empower Youth Future

  • Podcast

Welcome to the 25th ThinkBamboo Podcast! In this episode, we delve into the inspiring journey of Rabea Schürmann, co-founder of the nonprofit organization GROW Colourful Ghana e.V., as they actively work with bamboo in Ghana, Africa. Join us as we explore their mission to establish a Bamboo Training Center in the Eastern region of Ghana.

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Video: ThinkBamboo Podcast with host JJ and guest Rabea Schürmann

Video Quick Links

[00:03] Establishing a bamboo training and development center in Ghana
[03:11] Building a training center for bamboo construction in Ghana with the help of university
[09:25] Establishment of a training and development center for creating a market for bamboo
[12:33] Building a durable and attractive bamboo structure is the next phase.
[18:16] Using sustainable materials like Earth and Bamboo to build houses in Ghana
[20:57] Bamboo discovered in Ghana sparked love and fascination for the material.
[26:20] Building storage and drying spaces for treated bamboo.
[29:00] A borehole was built to address the water supply challenges at the project site.
[34:13] Establishing a bamboo education center in Ghana is a long-term project.
[37:03] Bamboo has a growing market and potential for construction and ecotourism.
[42:03] The lack of bamboo supply is a major challenge in the industry.
[44:35] The growing interest and awareness in bamboo is exciting.

International development NPO collaborate and Establish a Bamboo Training Center in Ghana, Africa.

The Genesis: A Bamboo Project Takes Root

Rabea, based in Germany, shares the genesis of their project—a collaborative effort with other NGOs in Ghana. Together, they are striving to establish a Bamboo Training and Development Center. The goal? To bolster the bamboo sector in Ghana, promoting sustainability and local livelihoods.

Sustainable Bamboo Treatment: A Challenge Worth Overcoming

The journey kicks off with the setup of a Treatment Facility, where bamboo undergoes a sustainable treatment process involving BX salt (borax and boric acid salts mixed with water). Rabea acknowledges the challenge of sourcing these salts in Ghana but emphasizes their commitment to environmentally friendly methods.

Photo: Local available Bambusa vulgaris (green bamboo)
Photo: Local available Bambusa vulgaris (green bamboo)

Building Challenges: Navigating the Bamboo Construction Landscape

Constructing with bamboo in Ghana poses unique challenges due to a lack of local expertise. Rabea sheds light on their innovative approach—engaging a team of interdisciplinary students from the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Their collaborative efforts bring fresh perspectives and expertise to the construction project.

Local Bamboo, Global Impact: Choosing Sustainability

Despite the availability of more suitable bamboo varieties, the team opts for Bambusa vulgaris Vata, a local species, emphasizing the importance of using what’s readily accessible. This decision aligns with their mission to boost the bamboo sector and improve local livelihoods sustainably.

Beyond Construction: Fostering a Bamboo Ecosystem in Ghana

The project extends beyond construction, addressing the need for bamboo processing and product development. Rabea envisions a holistic approach, establishing a market for bamboo products and creating a platform for knowledge-sharing through workshops, seminars, and congresses.

Climate Challenges and Bamboo Solutions: Building for the Future

The discussion touches on the challenges of local building methods in Ghana’s humid climate. Bamboo, when combined with advanced techniques, emerges as a solution to common issues in traditional construction, providing durable and cost-effective alternatives.

The Power of Bamboo: A Catalyst for Positive Change

Rabea reflects on her personal journey with bamboo, ignited during her visit to Ghana in 2012. The versatile applications of bamboo spark excitement, presenting numerous avenues for sustainable development.

Bamboo Training Center in the Eastern region of Ghana of GROW Colourful Ghana e.V
Photo: Bamboo Training Center in the Eastern region of Ghana of GROW Colourful Ghana e.V

Collaboration and Implementation: Bridging Continents for a Common Goal

Collaboration emerges as a cornerstone of the project’s success. Working with various organizations and institutions, including universities, the team navigates challenges seamlessly. Rabea highlights the importance of partnerships in implementing projects in a foreign context.

Working with various organizations
Working with various organizations

Towards Financial Sustainability: Generating Revenue with Bamboo

Addressing financial sustainability, Rabea discusses the organization’s focus on generating revenue through bamboo treatment. They aim to produce treated bamboo locally, tapping into the demand for eco-friendly construction materials.

Planting Seeds for the Future: Bamboo Farming in Ghana

The conversation touches on the potential for bamboo farming on a large scale in Ghana. Rabea envisions a future where sustainable farming practices are embraced, creating a robust bamboo industry driven by local demand and awareness.

A Bamboo Training & Development Center in Ghana
A Bamboo Training & Development Center in Ghana

Spreading the Bamboo Movement: A Podcast Contribution

As the podcast draws to a close, Rabea acknowledges the power of platforms like ThinkBamboo in spreading awareness. The conversation becomes a valuable contribution to the global discourse on bamboo, inspiring others to embark on similar journeys.

In conclusion, GROW Colourful Ghana e.V. is not merely constructing buildings—it is nurturing a sustainable bamboo ecosystem, fostering positive change, and empowering local communities for a brighter future.