Since January 2021, we have brought you the achievements and successes of MCW Global through various articles.
This time, we will illustrate the incredible impact of the Alumni Ventures Fund (AVF) by interviewing Daniel Kwaku Owusu from Ghana, one of AVF’s 21 recipients, who is currently implementing the Household Aquaponics project.
AVF offers graduates of the international Young Leaders Access Program an opportunity to turn their vision plans into tangible community-based projects with a start-up grant of up to $5,000 and a year of professional mentorship.
Daniel’s project contributes to food security through innovative household aquaponics establishment as an alternative livelihood and climate adaptation strategy. It uses locally available materials and promotes household adoption of aquaponics (fish and vegetable culture) in a recirculation system as a climate adaptation strategy and alternative livelihood support in urban and peri-urban areas.
In this piece, Daniel highlights the positive impact of the support gained from MCW Global in helping his community and being a young changemaker.
Read on for more insights on how winning support from MCW Global to advance the project and the launching of the website helped him and not only to create even better things for the community.
Achieving an Aspiration Thanks to MCW Global
As a young leader, he has always dreamed of contributing to developing the country’s agriculture sector while conserving the environment and promoting effective climate change adaptation strategies.
In this regard, piloting the household aquaponics initiative is an ideal call to assist his society and uplift many households to have alternative livelihood sources.
“The AVF came at the right time in the progressive stage of the household aquaponics project as it has constructively advanced the project in my community,” he initially says.
“Getting the needed support enabled the project to welcome more graduate volunteers to take charge of different aspects of the project including marketing, setup establishment and delivery of live and smoked fish and produce to buyers,” Daniel adds.
[Leadership as an Action Rather than a Position: How MCW Global Cultivates the Meaning of Leadership for its Alumni]
So far, the Fund has made it possible to establish a subsidized setup for five households in the Ashanti region, for two men, one woman, and two youth households.
Creating Opportunities for other Young People
We can look at several things to see the progress of the Household Aquaponics project.
Daniel further shares that the sludge or discharge (seven days’ complete discharge) from the aquaponics system was taken to the Department of Fisheries and Watershed Management laboratory for analysis.
The results obtained depicted an excellent nutrient source as organic fertilizer for plants with one successful experiment on a half-acreage of land on one of the experimental sites in Brofoyeduma, Kumasi-Ashanti.
[Supporting MCW Global is More Than Supporting a Single Organization; It Means Empowering Communities]
The laboratory analysis and subsequent piloting research of the discharge as organic liquid fertilizer was made possible with the support of the AVF from MCW Global, he reminds us.
Finally, the AVF has helped the project secure space and a delivery motorcycle to market the produce from the aquaponics system in established households.
It also helped youth to be involved in sustainable agriculture.
“Currently, apart from the initial aquaponics team, two new SHS graduates have been employed by two of our clients to manage the aquaponics systems in their house, and three young people have also been employed by the project to deliver marketing services by grilling the catfish and delivering orders to clients.”
Additionally, the team has been working on having a complete hatchery setup to ensure subsidized fingerlings production for household aquaponics adopters in urban and peri-urban centers.
“The team has also been developing comprehensive tutorials and training materials for youth, Junior and Senior High school students concerning aquaponics development in Ghana and Africa at large.”
Appreciating the Valuable Role of MCW Global
He sees himself as a favored leader with a broader network of diverse people willing to support and coordinate his projects.
But, when showing appreciation MCW Global’s place remains irreplaceable.
“Foremost, I am highly grateful to MCW Global for the opportunity to have a professional project mentor on the aquaponics initiative.”
Getting an experienced mentor from MCW Global has helped him effectively incorporate different activities into the project. Including the organic fertilizer laboratory analysis, alternative biological feed development (black soldier fly), team management, and financial flow management.
“The support from MCW Global has encouraged the adoption of peri-urban and urban agriculture development, the effective online presence of the project, youth empowerment, and household food security regarding the household aquaponics establishment.” he underlines.
He thanks MCW Global for impacting his leadership skills and making it possible for other households to get the needed alternative income stream and spurring youth entrepreneurship.
“My team, beneficiaries, and the youth of Ghana are grateful for the MCW Global’s contributions to the development of agriculture in the country.”
Thanks to the support of MCW Global, he developed an online platform for the project, which has improved the online presence of the household aquaponics initiative. It has several valuable features for clients and enthusiastic people within the value chain of the household aquaponics initiative.
The features include Artificial Intelligence (AI) in water quality identification, AI in catfish disease identification https://aquaponics.gleanx.org/Catfish-diseases.html, the online aquaponics training platform, marketing materials, job opportunity announcements, and some basic statistics of the current state of the aquaponics project.
By: Gresë Sermaxhaj