Grants from the German government and universities are helping a Seventh-day Adventist University in Ghana become one of the most conservation-conscious universities in West Africa, school officials said.
Valley View University, home to some 3,000 students, has received 1.3 million Euros (US$1.78 million) for campus conservation projects, including a wastewater recycling to fuel conversion system, rainwater harvesting and storage, tree planting and a new study center for environmental science.
"This center will create opportunities for interaction between local as well as international experts in the field of ecology," said Seth A. Laryea, president of Valley View, during a February 23 ceremony to dedicate the Baobab Centre for Ecological Studies. On hand were project partners from Germany, Ghanaian ministers of state, students and faculty.
Helge Wendenburg of Germany's Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said he hoped "to illustrate that not only here at Valley View University but also as a whole, German-Ghanaian cooperation in the field of climate protection is on a good track."
The university's conservation efforts were given a boost some six years ago when the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research provided a grant for the development of the university's plan to become an "eco-friendly" campus.
The Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, German is collaborating with the university to plant 10,000 trees on campus and in the surrounding community, as well as the preservation of existing tree species native to the area.
The Ecological Engineering Society is undertaking rainwater harvesting and storage while the University of Natural Resources and Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria is responsible for the water treatment.
In another project, dry toilets are reducing water usage and human waste is used to produce bio gas to supplement the liquid petroleum gas used for cooking in the university's cafeteria.
Sherry Ayitey, Ghana's Minister of Environment, praised Valley View University for its determination to showcase and disseminate conservation initiatives and promised to work with the university in replicating initiatives for other institutions.
Valley View became Ghana's first accredited private university in 1995 and the country's first charted private university in 2006. The university is located in a rural setting some 20 miles northeast of Accra, Ghana's capital city.