Towards Brown Gold: Ghana

Wa, the most urbanised town in the Upper West Region, faces significant sanitation challenges, along with many other towns in Ghana. These challenges are worsened by a lack of government action and planning, and embedded socio-cultural and gendered practices.

Private companies and city authorities collect faecal sludge from septic tanks and other containments to dispose of at designated landfill.  Some farmers pay for the faecal sludge to be dumped on their farms to use as fertiliser. Even though this is illegal, it shows a recognition for potential of waste as brown gold.

Towards Brown Gold brings together an interdisciplinary team working with the local community, government officials and local organisations. Our research looks at opportunities to recover and reuse faecal sludge. Circularity offers an opportunity to introduce new approaches and support safety and sustainability along waste-to-food system value chains. Our approach also prioritises the need to ensure equity.

Research partner

We are working with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Wa.

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Project details

start date
1 April 2020
end date
1 September 2023


About this project



Image of Ben O’Donovan-Iland

Ben O’Donovan-Iland

Communications and Impact Officer

Image of Janine Shaw

Janine Shaw

Senior Project Support Officer

Image of Lyla Mehta

Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Image of Shilpi Srivastava

Shilpi Srivastava

Research Fellow

Image of Tanvi Bhatkal

Tanvi Bhatkal

Postdoctoral Researcher