Prof. Divine Kwaku Ahadzie of Kwame Nkrumah University wins the Emerald 2020 Real Impact Awards 2020

The Emerald Real Impact Awards
The Emerald Real Impact Awards

The Emerald Real Impact Awards celebrate researchers and faculty members that have made a commitment to research impact and are striving to make a concrete difference to society, culture, our environment and the economy. The showcase book tells their stories of commitment and the practical steps they are taking to make a difference in the real world.

The Real Impact Awards celebrate the individuals and teams that have made a significant commitment to research impact in 2020.

The Emerald Real Impact Awards 2020 is awarded to Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie, Centre for Settlements Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Ghana is at risk of a housing and environmental crisis. The population growth rate is currently 2.2% per year and over 60% of urban households live in one-room accommodation in an average household size of five. Flooding issues are also a concern due to increasing human activities, poor waste management practices and a lack of community action for flood risk management.

Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, is well placed to address these issues. He brings over 20 years of experience in teaching and research in project management, urban construction practice and skills development, as well as community-based flood risk management. His ongoing work is driven by the urge to see Ghana take proactive steps towards addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 11 (inclusivity, sustainable and resilient cities). His ongoing work in this area has earned him the Real Impact Award for Driving the impact agenda.

By drawing upon participatory and knowledge co-producing research techniques, Professor Ahadzie’s work has fostered active and ongoing engagement in local communities affected by inadequate housing and wastewater management and the persistent threat of flooding. In addition to publishing his findings in academic journals, he communicates his work to wider communities by adapting it into media-friendly articles. This in turn has led to greater public awareness on the concept of housing and its implications for environmental sustainability in Ghana.

The far-reaching implications of Professor Ahadzie’s work have resulted in both the media and local communities asking the right questions and demanding more from those in positions of leadership. In addition, political parties are now being urged to make clear statements on policy directions for sustainable housing solutions for the country, and for the first time, the provision of adequate housing became a national discourse in the run-up to Ghana’s general election in December 2020.