Dr Ebenezer Amankwaa

Dr Ebenezer Amankwaa

Ghana

University of Ghana

Geography and Resource Development

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Work and Research

Dr Ebenezer F. Amankwaa is an urban geographer and a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana. He holds a PhD in Geography (Urban Studies), an MPhil in Environmental Science and a BA in Geography and Resource Development from the University of Ghana. He is an Affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), has previously worked as a Research Fellow at the United Nations University – Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), a Fellow of the Bosch Pan-African College on Sustainable Cities, and is a member of the African Urban Planning Research Network. His research interest spans across the fields of social, economic and development geography with specific focus on water, sanitation, and energy infrastructure; informality, mobility

Fields Of Expertise

Environmental sustainability
Inclusive development
Climate education

ADAPTING TO EXTREME HEAT

Recurrent and extreme weather events in Ghana have greatly affected poor urban residents’ health and well-being and severely limited access to social and physical infrastructure, including education.

Prolonged periods of excessive heat exacerbate structural vulnerabilities, chronicity and inequalities. This disproportionately affects the well-being of the urban poor, including teaching and learning in basic schools. Yet there is little knowledge available of how school children adapt to extreme heat and how the coping mechanisms they adopt in their day-to-day experience can be co-developed and integrated into action-oriented teaching and learning to enhance preparedness and resilience and improve well-being.

 

If we add the Covid-19 pandemic with its risk of infection and morbidity the result is that the poor people’s freedom of movement and young people’s ability to access educational spaces and adhere to the hygiene protocols is substantively disrupted, resulting in further adverse effects on their wellbeing.

 

Dr Ebenezer Forkuo Amankwaa’s FAR-LeaF research project is titled: Analyzing Dynamic Adaptation strategies of the urban Poor To extreme heat to improve well-being (ADAPT). He is an urban geographer and lecturer at the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. ADAPT aims to develop new conceptual and empirical understandings of how young people and the urban poor experience and adapt to extreme heat at the nexus of demographic shifts, climate change, and Covid-19. The original knowledge the research will generate is relevant beyond Ghana to the Global South and can shape urban policy more broadly.

 

Extreme heat is an often hidden, yet chronic threat, exacerbating vulnerabilities and inequalities. If you add to the already precarious existence of the urban poor to the extent and severity of overheating in formal and informal buildings in the Ghanaian cities of Accra and Tamale, you get a recipe for disaster: the indoor temperatures in low-income housing can be on average 10 degrees Celsius higher than those recorded at nearby weather stations. Conditions are predicted to become even more severe in the future, generating acute and chronic stress, particularly amongst the poor.

The thermal comfort of school children and Covid-19 will be examined as separate but equally pressing issues in the target communities because while a causal relationship is not being claimed, they both make life difficult for young people and are likely to cause adverse outcomes, he says.

Data will be collected through temperature and relative humidity monitoring and a decolonial storytelling method which is on par with the country’s strong oral tradition. Around 10 schools will be monitored, and 100 thermal comfort surveys will be conducted. Four storytelling workshops, interviews with thirty poor people of different backgrounds and focus groups will record dynamic experiences and strategies. A stakeholder workshop will bring together school children, teachers, poor residents, policymakers, and opinion leaders to stimulate discussion of climate change, pandemic vulnerability and adaptation of young people and poor urban residents.

 

School events will be arranged with selected basic and high schools to enable the techniques and strategies developed for adapting to extreme heat to be well-democratized with younger people in mind.