Increasing Awareness about Air Quality through Open Data

Report by Ewoenam Kukah (DiV) & Gameli Adzaho

Air quality is a growing public health concern in fast developing and urbanising communities, contributing to about 7 million deaths globally every year. In Ghana, some estimates hold that poor air quality contributes to 17000 deaths per year. It is also recognised as one of the fastest rising causes of ill health. Unfortunately because poor air quality is often invisible, its danger to our wellbeing could be missed. Monitoring and sharing information about air pollution in an area over  time could help governments, community groups, and citizens identify ‘trouble spots’ and collaboratively work out solutions to improve local air quality. The tech community can also contribute to this effort, by building tools and information resources, as well as being part of the dialogue, to create sustainable change in our communities.

In May 2018, the Accra OpenAQ Workshop brought together a community of local and international individuals and organisations working towards the goal of better air quality in Ghana. One key output of this two-day engagement was a Community Statement on Air Quality in Ghana which highlights some challenges of air quality in Ghana as well as opportunities for positive impact, one of which includes collection and access to better data on air quality. 

As part of the Next Einstein Forum Africa Science Week 2018, Global Lab Network and Developers in Vogue partnered to organize a Datathon (data science hackathon) which challenged participants to use open data to explore air quality in Accra. It was held at the Workshed in Spintex, Accra on Saturday, 29th September 2018. Participants were grouped into teams and tasked to analyse research data on air quality to produce outputs that could draw the attention of the government and the public to ‘air inequality’ in Accra. This included data visualisations/infographics, maps, predictive models and app and website prototypes.

Before the datathon, the NEF Ambassador to Ghana, Peter Asare-Nuamah, gave an overview of NEF and its goal of transforming science in Africa. Africa Science Week is one of its initiatives aimed at popularising science on the continent. Gameli Adzaho of Global Lab then presented the challenge, by giving an overview of air quality and examples of how to fight ‘air inequality’ with open data.


The following individuals graciously volunteered to be judges for the event:

  1. Dr. Jamal Abdullai – Head of Department, Computer Science Department, University of Ghana.
  2. Gameli Adzaho       – Founder, Global Lab Network
  3. Darlington Akogo   – Founder, minoHealth
  4. Richard Bempong   – Co-founder, the Workshed


There were 15 groups of four or five members. The teams and their projects are as follows:

Team Alpha Integrating the air quality index of locations into apps like Uber and Google maps
Team Breezy An app that notifies users of changes in air quality through app notifications and SMS
EmavData*   A database that uses machine learning to track trends in air quality
Zigma   Constant monitoring of slums which are linked to poor air quality
Data Rangers   Use of social media campaign to fight air pollution
O2 An API to know the levels of air quality by sending a short code and location of interest
C++   Sensors that collect air quality information and send a broadcast message to those in the area of low air quality
Team Komplex   A dashboard containing a display of air quality data in a graphical form.   
Team Revo   Social media and TV notification of levels of air quality  
Team Bheed   A web map showing a location distribution of air quality and associated data including a routing feature.
Team Naa2MT*   An automatic prediction template to help the EPA predict air pollution in any location.
Team Smocy   A graph showing the air quality levels and linking those levels to causes based on the locations.
Data Ginie   Visualizing the least and highest levels of air quality using Tableau, ANOVA and R.
ECSR   An Excel based analysis solution with interactive visualization showing the ‘intensity distribution’ of air quality levels. 

Out of these incredibly innovative teams, Emav Data, Team Naa2MT and Team Alpha placed 1st to 3rd respectively.  All victorious teams received cash prizes and certificates for their outstanding solutions.

NEF Ambassador Peter Asare-Nuamah presents certificate to one of the winners


The programme went really well and many of the participants openly expressed their delight. However, there were some suggestions on how we can improve the programme for future events:

  1. Have fewer groups with a larger number of members in order not to have an unusually long event.
  2. Have a longer time period for the Datathon, eg, two days, so that the participants will have more time to work on the problem statement.


Thank you to Next Einstein Forum Africa Science Week for the opportunity to host this event. We’re equally grateful to Open AQ, who offered guidance and gave us access to data on their platform, and Dr Pallavi Pant of Air South Asia for supporting our preparation through the Open Data and Air Quality Toolkit.

Group picture of some of the participants and organisers

Engaging Young Innovators in Kumasi with Innovation Clinic

Report by Sandra Ahiataku

Mr Foster Ofosu of Ideas2Market Foundation leads participants to explore innovation in depth

The second edition of Innovation Clinic was held in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region. The event was a collaboration between Idea2Market Foundation, Global Lab Network and Kumasi Hive. It was held on 24 February 2018 at the event space of Kumasi Hive in the evening.

About 32 participants including entrepreneurs, lecturers, and students attended the programme. It was structured as an engaging dialogue curated by Mr Foster Ofosu of Idea2Market. Interspersed with the conversations were entertainment sessions incuding poetry performance by Peter Akanko of Kente Master and music by guitarist Daniel Yirenkyi Junior.

The main speaker, Mr Foster Ofosu, led an open and interactive discussion, which was fun and worth listening to. He emphasised taking note of the barriers to innovation and developing strategies to overcome them. Some definitions of innovation offered by participants included ‘applying imagination’, ‘reworking an old solution’, ‘solving a problem’, etc. Foster stressed the need for prospective innovators to focus on the needs of the end-user and come up with solutions they would be willing to pay for. His presentation was followed by a question and answer session. A key discussion point that came up was how the environment tends to limit female innovators.

There was a refreshment session during which food and drinks were served, and participants networked among themselves.

Feedback gathered from attendees indicated that the session was exciting and interactive. The event was mostly patronised by students which created the opportunity for them to be familiarised with the latest trends in innovation. In the future, it would be great to reach out to more people from different backgrounds to enrich the conversation with their diverse insights.

Joy News and Luv FM covered the event, and interviewed selected attendees, organisers and the speaker after the programme.

The Kumasi edition of Innovation Clinic was successful thanks to the contributions and enthusiasm of the participants, and the hard work put in by the partners namely Kumasi Hive, Idea2Market Foundation, and Global Lab Network.

Sandra Ahiataku is a Business Associate at Kumasi Hive. She is a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a degree in Computer Science.

Breaking the Barriers Innovatively with Innovation Clinic

Report by Harry Akligoh

Innovation Clinic is an informal gathering of stakeholders in the innovation space in Ghana. It brings together innovators to discuss ways of enhancing the deployment of scientific and indigenous innovations. It also serves as a conduit for promoting the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Ghana. The clinical approach allows for a response to demand-driven needs of young innovators and entrepreneurs.

On January 12, 2018, at iSpace Foundation in Labone, Accra, the first Innovation Clinic gathered about 30 participants, comprising lawyers, scientists, STEM enthusiasts, engineers, developers, social entrepreneurs and students. Three thematic areas were explored: knowledge exchange, thinking, and system.


The event was heralded by rich Ghanaian music amidst drinks and networking. In his welcome remarks, Gameli Adzaho of Global Lab Network shared about the community and its partnership with Idea2Market Foundation to convene a science, engineering, technology and business gathering to deepen the culture of innovation in Ghana.

Melodius traditional music at Innovation Clinic

Knowledge Exchange

Foster Ofosu, CEO of Idea2Market and host, set the ball rolling by highlighting the purpose of the gathering. He further initiated a discussion on what participants were doing innovatively as entrepreneurs. A number of innovations across education, agriculture, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and youth development were shared. Ato Ulzen-Appiah of GhanaThink Foundation spoke about his work mobilizing and utilizing the talents of youths in Ghana through the Barcamp, Junior Camp and Ghana Volunteers programs respectively. Harry Akligoh also shared on Practical Science Initiative’s work mentoring and inspiring females in STEM in Ghana, and bridging the practical science education gap in rural basic schools in the Volta region. Finally, Peter Awin of CowTribe, who came all the way from Tamale, shared how he and his team were innovating by providing veterinary services to cow farmers in the Northern region utilizing technology.

Peter sharing more about his innovation, CowTribe

Thinking – A mindset of revolution

Foster shared an illustration he uses to teach how entrepreneurs think differently. The illustration sparked turns discussions which culminated into Q&As. The session ended with a live call with Akosua Bame, co-host, on ‘the mindset revolution’. Akosua in her delivery underscored the importance of the mind and the need to learn, unlearn and relearn in other to harness the power of the mind in solving problems innovatively.

Foster emphasising a key point during the interaction

Systems – Keys to Innovation

How well do African systems influence innovation? Can we boast of any business that is striving because of a good system? The session raised several questions as a way of keeping participants thinking. In response to some of the questions raised, Darlington Akogo of MinoHealth, made several contributions and cited scenarios of how good and bad systems can influence innovation and development.

Ato and Nii Nai enjoying a tete-a-tete

The event ended in grand style with lots to eat and drink with a great innovation themed spoken word performance by Makafui Awuku followed by rich Ghanaian music.

Harry Sefoga Akligoh is a Medical Laboratory Scientist in the Volta Regional Hospital, Ho, Ghana. He is also the Founder of Practical Science Initiative, an organization focused on motivating and mentoring more African women into science. He graduated from the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science. Harry is a passionate and driven individual who is ready to apply his knowledge in medical laboratory science to develop low cost diagnostic solutions to infectious diseases common in Africa. He is a member of the Global Shapers Community, Ho hub.

Join Global Lab as Media Coordinator

Global Lab Network is on the lookout for a brilliant individual passionate about science communication to join our team as Media Coordinator. Your services are needed to help us promote the inaugural Africa Open Science and Hardware Summit.


This role will expose the successful candidate to the world of open science, leading to various exciting opportunities in the growing field. Check out the job description below and apply if interested!

Volunteer Media Coordinator at Global Lab Network

Follow Global Lab across social media to be updated on future opportunities:



Junior Achievement Launches Ghana Company Program

logo(1)Junior Achievement’s flagship programme, the Company Program, is aimed at at “delivering an introductory and practical entrepreneurship education to high school students.” The programme was re-launched on Thursday 26 October at JA Africa Ghana office located at East Legon in Accra. Global Lab was represented at the ceremony by Anthony Addae, and he sends the report below.

The CEO of JA Africa, Elizabeth Bintliff in her welcome address gave an overview of JA Ghana and the objectives of the Company Program. She mentioned that the launch is to rejuvenate the programme which has been dormant for two years. Four schools in Accra  namely Accra Academy, Labone Senior High, St Mary’s Senior High, and Alpha Beta School, would be participating in this phase of the programme.

The Company Program video was then screened. It was a short video showcasing finalists and projects from previous phases of the programme.

In his remarks, JA Ghana Board Chair, John Armah, emphasised that the programme could contribute creating an alternative route to job creation and employment through its focus on entrepreneurship.

A JA Ghana Alumnus, Emmanuel Nyame, testified on how the JA experience transformed him from a high school student of Accra Academy to an entrepreneur.

Vera Adu-Amaning, of Adu-Amani Klodin, disclosed how she kickstarted her well-known clothing brand on Facebook as a student, and how she makes money from it without a physical shop.

After word of thanks, the event closed officially, but there was a brief social networking oppportunity.  I interacted with a few people who were happy to hear about Global Lab and our activities, so I directed them to our Facebook page. Among them was the Program Manager of JA Ghana, Abeiku Greene, who looks forward to future collaborations. Other known groups/organisations that were present included Kumasi Hive, GhScientic and Innovate Ghana.

Anthony Addae is a Computer Engineering graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He completed his national service at the Computer Engineering Department, KNUST, where he was a Teaching Assistant. He is interested in computer programming, networking, and intelligent systems.

Discussing Urban Sustainability at Accra Hub of Global People Summit

Global Lab partnered with Impact Hub Accra to organise the Accra Hub of Global People Summit, the first-ever global online summit exploring social innovation, disruptive technology, film and media, and the power of mobilizing networks to address some of the most challenging issues of our time.


It was held on 22nd September and speakers streamed in live from different locations around the world. The theme was CONNECTING THE WORLD FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, and it explored how to make ‘making the world a better place’ a reality. Our event took place at Impact Hub Accra, a local innovation space hosting many start-ups.

The summit discussed the importance of the SDGs, outlined practical ways to make social impact, and highlighted the role of strategic partnerships, financing and engagements to bring about global change.

Our esteemed moderator and panellists leading the conversation on urban sustainability

Aside following the global discourse online, we put together an interactive panel discussion titled ‘Exploring Urban Sustainability’. The panel was moderatored by Dr Thomas Tagoe of GhScientific and panellists were Cordie Aziz of Environment360 and Ama Frimpomaa Adjei Ayim of Heels and Boots International. Some of the questions discussed were:

  1. What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of the city of Accra?

  2. What do you consider to be the three most important or pressing challenges of Accra? Who is affected by these challenges and how are they affected?

  3. How does your initiative address them? Which SDGs are you targeting?

  4. Are there other solutions, local or abroad, that can amplify your impact?

  5. What are the greatest challenges you face in your line of work and what can be done to resolve them?

  6. What should government be doing to drive urban development?

  7. How can young people contribute meaningful to the attainment of the SDGs?

  8. Give us a vision of your ideal Accra

We used Storify to collect social media posts made by participants, which summed up the discussions.

The panellists discharged themselves brilliantly and deeply enriched our understanding of some of the greatest challenges and opportunities of Ghana’s capital, Accra. What remains to be done is to mobilise all key stakeholders and work together to improve the quality of life of the city. We loook forward to being part of similar conversations on sustainability. You can join our Facebook Community, or engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we explore this topic more.

Why Global Lab Network Exists

Our raison d’etre


We live in a world that is constantly changing, which presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities different from other eras. Africa’s experiences are at once similar to and different from the global picture. On country and local local levels too diversity abounds in the human condition abounds. Consequently, our approaches to harness opportunities and solve problems must constantly evolve and be suited to given circumstances.

In solving today’s problems and creating opportunities, new ideas are needed. These ideas will only emerge under the right conditions. Global Lab Ghana appreciates this. We strive to create a thriving open science and innovation community in Ghana based on learning, friendship, and service. Welcome on board!