RIFE International collaborated with the University of Maryland Robert H Smith School of Business under the Global Consulting Practicum to undertake a sustainable energy program for schools in Ghana, West Africa.
The goal of this collaboration was to perform a pre-feasibility study as part of RIFE’s effort to help schools implement energy conservation measures through energy efficiency and renewable energy, which would reduce their cost of energy. This subsequently lowers operating expenses and ultimately provides access to education in Ghana. This will subsequently lower operating expenses for these schools and ultimately aid in providing access to education in Ghana.
This collaboration was made possible through the Maryland Department of Commerce and supported by the Centers for International Business and Research, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education, which provides this grant to only 17 business schools across the United States.
In March 2018, UMD graduate students Osei Boakye-Yiadom and Elizabeth Dow were tasked “to do primary research, findings validation, and program assessment” in Ghana, according to Marina Augoustidis, a representative of the Center for Global Business at UMD.
Data collection will come from the Ghana Ministry of Education, two sample academic institutions in Accra, and RIFE’s Ghana office, which provided in-country support and project management to the students.
“The primary goal of this Global Consulting Practicum is for our students to gain real-world international business consulting experiences with a real-world client,” according to Augoustidis.
The experience was equally rewarding for RIFE International. Speaking on the Practicum, RIFE CEO Kwabena Osei-Sarpong described how successful the trip had also been to the company.
“While in Ghana, we were able to meet our goals for kickstarting a sustainable energy program for educational institutions, as well as revamp our market strategy with the incorporation of real-time energy monitoring technologies for buildings, which would give us a better chance of accessibility with regards to commercial buildings and solve even more problems,” Osei-Sarpong said.
At the conclusion of the Practicum, RIFE introduced and installed an energy monitoring device for Ashesi University, a private university that offers courses in engineering, information technology, and business. The device tracks and records energy consumption and time of use in buildings. It “is the first step in modeling energy conservation measures for their facilities.”
“I came to understand that many…commercial building managers and owners are looking for new ways to cut down on energy costs and…are welcoming to solutions that help them save money” Osei-Sarpong said.
Osei-Sarpong concluded, “The ability of the UMD students to establish a great relationship with the pilot schools, as well as the [Ghana] Ministry of Education, in communicating the goals of for our sustainable energy program for educational institutions while creating awareness of energy efficiency…was very impressive,”
During this period, RIFE also started an energy efficient building construction project with a high school in Ghana that’s managed by a non-profit organization.