MIT Space Enabled Research Team is in West Africa

In 2017, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab established the Space Enabled Research Group with the aim of Advancing justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space. The research group which is led by Dr. Danielle Wood is in Ghana and Benin Republic, meeting with representatives of start up companies, government agencies and universities to explore research collaborations.

The visit will last for two weeks

In Benin Republic, Dr. Danielle Wood and the Space Enabled Research Group is hosted by the Green Keeper Africa, an eco-technology company that is focused on transforming the invasive water hyacinth plant into products that absorb oil-based waste. The water hyacinth grows quickly and dominates waterways, harming the growth of local plant and animal species and preventing people from traveling along rivers and streams. Space Enabled and Green Keeper Africa are starting a dialog to explore ways to improve the control of invasive plant species such as the water hyacinth using satellite-based earth observation and positioning technologies.

GREEN KEEPER AFRICA was created in 2014 by David GNONLONFOUN and Fohla MOUFTAOU. The company designs, manufactures and sells 100% organic absorbents for professionals to control the leakage of pollutants. The environmental technologies developed are intended for the local and international market. They offers virtuous solutions and products thanks to the socio-economic and environmental impacts generated by its activity. The company’s flagship products are absorbent fiber for the control of oil pollution (GKSORB®) and soil remediation solutions. Absorbents are made from water hyacinth.

Next Stop is the National Centre for Remote Sensing and Ecological Monitoring (CENATEL), a centre responsible for the management of climatic changes, reforestation and the protection of natural and forest resources under the Nation’s Ministry of the Environment. CENATEL aims at ecological monitoring through the production, dissemination and centralization of data and information relating to environment and natural resources for better management.

Dr. Danielle Wood of MIT Space Enabled Research Group with researchers at the National Center for Remote Sensing and Ecological Monitoring (CENATEL) in Cotonou, Benin

The team also visited the University of Abomey-Calavi in Cotonou while giving a public talk on space for development presenting opportunities for future research using space technology for development

With the University President

The team also visited the US Ambassador to Benin (Ms Lucy Tamlyn) and Kundi Africa, an organization that does great work to support African entrepreneurs in marketing, energy, agriculture, tourism, environment & hospitality.

In Ghana;

The team was welcomed by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Director of the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute. Hosted by the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute which works on the areas of satellite earth observation, satellite engineering and radio astronomy, the research team will discuss possible research collaboration and GSSTI efforts towards solving developmental problems with Space technologies

Dr. Danielle Wood flanked by Ghana Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng,Deputy Minister, Hon. Patricia Appiagyei and the Director of Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre (GSSTC), Professor Dickson Adomako

About Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre (GSSTC)

The Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre (GSSTC) is an arm (Institution) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), a public (national) research and academic (postgraduate and doctoral) institution which was established on January 01, 2011. The Centre, which is the brain-child of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), is currently housed in the premises of the Commission’s Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, Atomic Campus. The primary focus of the Centre is to coordinate, undertake, spearhead, steer and manage all space science (including Astronomy) programmes, projects and research activities in the country.

Space in Africa will keep you updated on the progress of the visit.

About Space Enabled Research Group
The Space Enabled group advances justice and development by improving designs for complex systems. Our designs are enabled by space capabilities such as earth observation, microgravity, and systems engineering. We design in collaboration with communities that are improving their use of complex systems in public service sectors such as environment, public health, education, and law enforcement. Our research follows a four-step cycle of observation, explanation, co-design, and evaluation of complex systems, using methods from engineering and social science. At each step, we learn from our partner communities – especially from the poor, racial minorities, displaced peoples, forced laborers, and indigenous peoples – as they pursue greater empowerment through improved public services.