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3 Ghanaian teenage girls get into Harvard, Yale and MIT

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With highly competitive admit rates of 4.59% for Harvard, 6.3% for Yale and 6.9% for MIT, young Katia Maame Dufie Osei and Afia Sarpong Frimpong (both of Wesley Girls’ High School) and Isabelle Quaye (Ghana International School) managed to find their way through thousands of applicants worldwide.

What all these girls have in common is that they scored higher than 99 percent of all test takers on the SAT in the world.

Harvard University, since its inception in 1636 recorded the lowest admit rate this year.

17- year old Katia Osei has been admitted together with 1,961 students out of 42,749 applicants.

Her outstanding performance in her SAT, WASSCE and numerous excellence awards in high school placed her as one of the few Ghanaian female students to be admitted to Harvard University over the past decade on a full scholarship.

Additionally, she was admitted to two other Ivy League schools – Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania.

With over 35,306 applicants, Afia Sarpong has been counted among the 2,229 students who were admitted into Yale University also with a full scholarship this year.

Afia also made a tremendous achievement in both her SAT, WASSCE and other high school academic records to be admitted into Amherst College as well.

Wesley Girls’ High School, Cape Coast, can boast of a place in the Harvard and Yale Class entering in August 2018.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is well known for its unrivalled engineering and technology training in the US. Isabelle Quaye, having a compelling record of accomplishment in her high school, national and international platforms, pulled it off among the few to secure her position in the most competitive US engineering colleges: MIT and California Institute of Technology.

She also made it to Princeton University, which is among the eight Ivy-league schools.

With the help of AFEX Test Prep an educational enrichment agency located at East Legon, Accra, with branches in Takoradi and Kumasi these young girls were adequately prepared to excel in their college preparations and they indefatigably made Ghana proud.

Some 34 other Ghanaian students also received full scholarships to prestigious USA universities through the assistance of AFEX Test Prep. The estimated scholarship amount is about $16.2 million over four years.

“Congratulations! I am delighted to inform you that you have been admitted into. . were words that flooded decision letters of these high school graduates who are ready to fly to the US for higher education.

Source: Citinewsroom.com

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‘Commodifying’ waste; a solution for Accra’s low-income areas

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In a recent article in Quartz, one of the main reasons identified for the poor state of waste management in Accra was the unaffordability of waste collection fees for residents in low-income areas. A number of recent studies support this claim, such as one carried out in Gbawe in 2014.

This predicament is particularly worrisome as majority of Accra’s inhabitants reside in these areas. Due to the high cost of living in the nation’s capital, many do not, or more likely, cannot prioritise appropriate disposal of municipal solid waste. Unsurprisingly, some of the worst cases of indiscriminate dumping of waste can be found in our low-income areas.

Furthermore, the affordability question also entrenches the culture of poor waste management attitudes endemic in the city. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that local authority stakeholders in Accra review the current fee-based communal waste collection approach utilized in low-income areas.

The Koliba Solution

As a child growing up in the Dansoman SNITT flats, one of the somewhat regular Saturday fixtures was a knock on the door by a Koliba merchant in search of used glass bottles to buy. These itinerant merchants are still quite popular in Accra. Mostly consisting of Sahelian migrants, they crisscross the city in search of used glass and plastic bottles. They purchase these items from households, eventually depositing them at collection points located in Accra’s zongos.

Here, the bottles are cleaned and sold for reuse by local bars, street food vendors and traditional vegetable oil processors. Through its commodification of waste materials, the Koliba business model offers a potential solution to the affordability question relating to waste collection in low-income areas in Accra.

The Target Material

It is well documented that the two most common types of waste generated in low-income urban areas in Ghana are organic waste and plastic waste, accounting on average for 60% and 15% of the weight of waste generated, respectively. The organic waste usually consists of food waste sourced from households and street food vendors; the plastic waste largely comprises thin film plastics used for sachet water and food packaging, as well high-density plastic bottles.

Of these two waste types, plastic waste is generally the preferred candidate for commodification. This is because there already exists a relatively well established informal plastic recovery sector in Ghana’s urban centres. Furthermore, though considerably of lesser weight when compared to that of organic waste, plastic waste is usually the largest fraction of municipal solid waste in terms of volume. Organic waste, however, is disadvantaged by its low value, as well as concerns over storage, decomposition and the associated odour nuisance.

Recovered plastic waste can be reprocessed into pellets for the local plastics manufacturing sector or exported. In some scenarios, plastic waste could also be used as a refuse derived fuel for powering the operations of factories, such as cement production plants.

The Plan

The successful incorporation of the Koliba Solution in Accra’s low-income areas will require certain key measures. Firstly, there would have to be an adoption of a free primary collection system for capturing and segregating the targeted waste material. It should be a low-tech, low-cost collection system. Borla taxis or informal waste collectors could potentially be used.

This low-cost collection approach has the added advantage of increasing public involvement in waste management.

Additionally, a sufficient number of bulking hubs will be needed whereby the captured waste will be graded and stored. To keep down the cost of developing new sites, current communal collection sites in low-income areas can be converted to accommodate the new system. The bulking hubs will also double as sale centres for the recovered waste materials. Here, they will be sold directly to end use markets, such as plastics re-processors, or indirectly through waste merchants.

The Carrot

The income generated through the sale of recovered plastic waste will be used for funding social services directly used by residents of the low-income areas where the waste is sourced. The selection of the beneficiary social services will require cooperation between the local authorities and residents.

Examples of beneficiary social services include neighbourhood public schools, street lights, and public toilets. Consequently, by linking measurable social welfare benefits to appropriate waste collection, local authorities can drastically reduce incidents of indiscriminate waste disposal. If proven to be successful, the Koliba solution could play a key role in fostering a conscientious lifestyle in relation to waste management.

The Koliba Solution also offers residents additional benefits through the capture of waste generated by non-residents that pass through the community. For example, communities that have bus stops or stations are likely to capture plastic waste from occupants of buses that pass through. Scenarios such as the above increase the income generation potential for the areas where the Koliba Solution will be implemented.

Known Unknowns

Though the Koliba Solution has merits that are worth considering, it also raises many questions that need to be addressed. For example, because the success of the solution relies on a consistent demand for recovered plastic waste, clarity will be needed on the number and types of potential end use market stakeholders in and around Accra, as well as their capacity to accept more waste materials.

Also, issues relating to the pricing of the recovered plastic waste materials will be essential to the long-term sustainability of the initiative. An appropriate pricing mechanism that accounts for operational costs and a reasonable margin for service operators will have to be developed. The prices set by the mechanism should also enable purchasers of the recovered waste materials to operate at a profit. The government can also aid in safeguarding the viability of informal reprocessors by subsidising their investment in more efficient recycling technologies.

Additionally, issues affecting price stability will have to be explored. In particular, the impact of falling oil prices on income generation from recovered plastic waste will have to be studied. This will aid in the development of counter measures to pre-empt a collapse in demand for recovered plastics due to a significant fall in the price of virgin plastics.

Also, engagement with residents will be essential to both garner support for the initiative and formulate an acceptable adoption scheme. This will involve identifying important community leaders to explain the Koliba Solution to residents, as well as solicit suggestions. Additionally, through these engagements the most effective media platforms for communicating the Koliba Solution to residents will be determined. This is particularly important as literacy rates tend to be lower in low-income areas. Furthermore, the public engagements should also include communications to residents on the amount of funds raised by the Koliba Solution and how it is being spent in the community.

 

By: Kweku Attafuah-Wadee
Assistant Waste Management Consultant at Wood plc
kwekuwadee@gmail.com

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Rawlings: The Deceit Of Western Propaganda

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Is the world not in a frame of mind to express gratitude to Putin and Russia for not firing back at those Western vessels?

I have spent many hours pondering over what to say to Macron and Theresa May. What to say to the knowledgeable statesmen and women of the world. What to say to the masses of this world whose ignorance and belief in the Western propaganda and deceit would have emboldened Macron, Theresa May and the blowman in the White House to do what they did Friday night.

I don’t know what I can say or do to make people wake up to the fact that Putin and Assad are innocent of the charges leveled against them.

What can I say to people around the world to make them realise that Macron, Theresa May and presumably Trump should all be aware that two other countries very much aligned to Britain, France and the US have been responsible for this gassing operation all this while.

If the masses of this world and the supposed intelligentsia cannot even see which two nations could very well be guilty of this gassing operation then they do not deserve the freedom and justice that is slowly but surely being curtailed by the savagery of capitalism.

The British have told this lie in a hysterical and passionate manner, while the French have told theirs in a cold and calculating manner.

If Theresa May, Macron, Trump, Boris Johnson, some selected personnel around them and their intelligence machinery are prepared to subject themselves to the polygraph test to prove to the world that they did not know that the allegations they were directing at Putin and Assad were false, and Putin and Assad to also prove their innocence which I believe in, I will spend the rest of my life apologizing to them (West) and wage a campaign telling the world what monsters Putin and Assad are.

If Assad the supposed monster were to be subjected to a polygraph test, I believe and I know that he will pass the test…his truth will pass the polygraph test. If Putin of Russia were to be subjected to a similar test, I believe and I know his truth will also pass the polygraph test. I also believe and know that if President Macron, Prime Minister Theresa May, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson were also subjected to the same test on a polygraph, their truth will fail the test and they know it. Assad and Putin are no saints but they definitely are not guilty of this monstrosity brewed in a Western pot.

Events of this kind have been staged many a time by warmongering nations and exploited for their own political ends.

Wars have broken out following the staging of these kinds of deceitful events. The last well known example was the one the US staged at the UN. By the time the truth had been established, America and her so-called allies had prosecuted the war against Iraq with its indefensible consequences.

On 11th April 2017, a similar staged gas attack was orchestrated right on the verge of a joint Assad/Putin victory in the Syrian conflict and the global outcry fed into Western agenda.

Almost to the date of the anniversary of this atrocious crime, it has been committed again when the Assad government has just about won the war.

The most recent attempt to stage and accuse Russia and more directly Putin was on British soil but was fortunately exposed by another British institution.

What other evidence did the world and its statesmen and women need to recognize the intentions of some of these Western nations? We all remained silent risking the probability of a World War.

Is the world so unaware of how close we came to the outbreak of war? We may therefore not be in the correct frame of mind to recognize the need to express our gratitude to God, Putin and Russia for the restraint they have exercised in this provocation. We must also congratulate the Russian and Syrian military for intercepting most of the recent missiles.

How could Theresa May, have fallen for this act? How could the capitalist West feel threatened and intimidated by a Russian leader who has earned the true respect, admiration and loyalty not only of his people, but the world at large?

The leadership of both China and Russia are providing the needed international stability while the US and her allies find their feet and their moral compass. The leadership of China and Russia appear to have adopted a sympathetic and supportive role to enable the West recover. In spite of this, the West and her allies are abusing human rights with downright impunity and insensitivity.

The cool-headedness of Putin as opposed to the desperation and sometimes hysterical behaviour of certain Western leaders has made a heroic figure of Putin well beyond his borders.

A fine opportunity to create a better and stable world based on freedom, justice and morality is being undermined, being rejected in what appears to be a desperate attempt to restore a Cold War climate. Can’t leaders of this world speak out?

For those of us in the developing world, we only need to remind ourselves of the powers that kept the brutal apartheid regime propped up for so long. A cursory glance at the fate of Palestinians and Yemenis should tell us the callous creature that the savagery of capitalism has turned out to be since the collapse of the bipolar authority.

America and her allies have over the years appeared determined to maintain a unipolar power no matter what it takes through incidents of unjust wars, wanton provocation, intimidation and casting of judgement without trial.

If integrity, truthfulness and justice must give way to falsehood and deceit to enable them control and rule the world, so be it and to hell with it. If the integrity of intelligence operatives and others can be subjected to polygraph tests to ascertain their integrity and truthfulness, what puts politicians and others above the truth in circumstances of this nature?

By: Jerry John Rawlings

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Agyepong, Jospong Group Win African Prestigious Awards

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The Executive Chairman and Founder of the Jospong Group of Companies, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has been awarded “The Prestige Man of the Year Award” at the maiden African Prestigious Awards held in Accra.

In addition, he also won an Honorary Award while some of his companies also received recognition for their achievements and impact on lives in Ghana and Africa. In all there were 24 meritorious and 27 Honorary awards to deserving individuals and companies in their contribution towards developing Africa.

The First Edition of the African Prestigious Awards was held in Accra, under the theme “Celebrating Achievers of Africa”, and is aimed at honouring and motivating individuals, institutions and countries on the continent to rise and build the continent.

Mr Emmanuel Gyau Addo, Executive Officer of EAD Group of Companies, organisers of the glamorous award ceremony said the award recognized and honoured 14 countries that are doing well in terms of economic development, four living heroes from these countries and finally African owned organisations under categories like Entertainment, Telecommunication, Media, Business & Finance as well as Oil and Gas.

He stated that there is a cause to write the story of Africa for the world to read instead of waiting for them to write negatives of our beloved continent. He appealed to the corporate world and other institutions to support the award so it can be expanded to touch more lives across Africa.

Mrs Sophia Lissah, Group Head, Communications who received the Honourary Prestige Man of the Year Award on behalf of Dr Agyepong, said the gesture will spur him on to continue to improve the lives of people which something he has set himself to do.

“The Executive Chairman is one of the great entrepreneurs of our time who believes in having local solutions as Ghanaians and Africans to our peculiar problems, he affirms that the continent has great potential and given the opportunity and the right support and enabling environment, Ghana and for that matter Africa can move beyond Aid as envisioned by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

Madam Lissah lauded the organisers of the event for the great vision which is not just targeted at Ghanaians but achievers and super achievers all over Africa including Heads of States.

Mr Edgar Arcos, the Chief Operating Officer of the Jospong Group commended the oganisers for the vison of appreciating Achievers in Ghana and for recognising the hard work and dedication of the team that works in the Oil and Gas Waste management space whose efforts won the award.

He believed this will motivate the team to do even more and urged other subsidiaries in the Group and other workers to work hard knowing that there is someone watching you and on the day of reckoning will reward you according to your works.

The night saw a number of African Head of State receiving Honorary Awards also had other awardees on the day included LAS Liberty School of Ghana, the brainchild of Mrs Cynthia Agyepong, OmniBank, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo-Founder and Leader of Kristo Asafo Church and the owner of KANTANKA automobiles, Tony Elumele of UBA and Founder of Tony Elumele foundation which gives support to young entrepreneurs across Africa; Evariste Akoumian and partners from La Cote d’Ivoire, founders of solar briefcase- SOLARPAK.

Others include Kwame Sefa Kayi of Peace FM, UTV as the best TV station, Joe Mettle, Rebecca Acheampong(Becca), Rev. Luch Natasha of Kenya, Bishop Sam Owusu, Apostle Francis Amoako-Attah, Apostle Fred Osei-Annin all of Ghana, and other internationally acclaimed actors among others.

 

Source: Starrfmonline.com

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