I am about to embark on what will most likely be a surreal and life-changing experience. This pre-evaluation is justified. For one full month I will be living on the outskirts of the world’s largest e-waste dump, Agbogbloshie, commonly known as Old Fadama. Population: over 80,000.
The world’s largest e-waste dump. This has yet to sunk in.
At the time of writing, my feelings are a growing mix of terror and anxiety. But I’m also excited, and I won’t be going unprepared. I have been waiting for this since I was first approached by a fellow student back in the autumn of 2012, who had done a legal internship with the school’s pro bono society. After learning about the history of Agbogbloshie and experiencing the culture and living conditions of its citizens, as well as witnessing first-hand the aftermath of electrical fires, he came back to London with an idea.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign led by a team of students from an east London university the idea had come to life and Energy for Old Fadama was established: a social enterprise that seeks to provide a safe source of electricity for the residents of Old Fadama.
This blog will cover my work as part of the EFOF team as I travel to Old Fadama work to inspect the recent installment of 32 solar panels in community centres, schools, churches, mosques and a police station; analyze the current results and effects by conducting surveys; and assess opportunities for further electrification.
Furthermore, I will be volunteering at the Fadama Legal Assistance Program, a local advice center that provides a mediation and dispute resolution service for residents of Old Fadama as well as conducting other work, including compiling information on areas of Ghanaian law and holding human rights law presentations.
And of course, I’ll be updating readers with insights into daily life as I [struggle?] to adapt to Ghanaian life. I reckon it will be fine, but I’ve been constantly told to ‘enjoy the culture shock’. Of course I can’t know what it will be like until I get there, and the fantasies I have built in my head are at great risk of being shattered upon arrival. Time will tell I guess.
I’ll try to update this blog as often as I can, aiming at a minimum of one post every three days. You can ask me questions by either commenting here or tweeting me at @AxelCMN – I’ll make sure to answer every question.
Wish me luck!