UCL Grand Challenges


Developing Education Technology (Ed-Tech) in Rural Ghana

UCL staff and students work in collaboration with Young at Heart Ghana to develop digital hub networks for multiple villages in eastern Ghana

Arial shot of african village

1 September 2022


Grant: Grand Challenges Special Initiatives—UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement
Year awarded: 2022-23
Amount awarded: £10,000 


  • Dr Michael Woodrow, UCL Engineering
  • Dr Josephine Marie Godwyll, Young At Heart Ghana

Young at Heart (YAH) Ghana is a charity that seeks to bring education technology to every child in Ghana. During the first phase of their work, YAH developed a 'lab and library on wheels' - a mobile cart full of digital gadgets and e-learning resources that could be wheeled into rural classrooms in Ghana. The next phase was to develop an e-learning mobile app to leverage the widespread use of mobile phones in the country to engage students in science and maths. The next phase of the work involves developing local area networks to act as digital hubs for each village and connect mobile devices to the internet – this is where the project plugs in. 

Developing Education Technology (Ed-Tech) in Rural Ghana proposes to work with YAH, and students and academics from the Faculty of Engineering (including Civil Engineering and the Computer Science Department) to develop a local hub network in multiple villages in eastern Ghana. Staff and students at UCL assisted in developing the overall strategy, closely liaising with the team in Ghana to gather accurate data on-site data, completing modelling and simulations as necessary. The UCL team then develops technology in response to the defined challenges that is appropriate for the context, and travel to Ghana to assist in implementation of the technology as well as gather essential information to allow continuation of the project next year.  

Community engagement and ownership are seen as essential for long-term sustainability of the initiative. The project fostered strong collaboration between YAH and UCL, which has resulted in bridging the cultural gap, preserving cross-cultural and knowledge experience. UCL students had the opportunity to both learn and unlearn about Ghana, and as a result, students could plan and solve problems with insights from the developing world.  

UCL students and academics also supported YAH's "Skills for Her" initiative by developing online training material, and participating in synchronous online workshops, hackathons and tutorials. The team, whilst working on engineering-related activities, also got to teach in YAH adopted schools. These schools are in partnership with YAH to promote Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). Most importantly, students in the YAH adopted schools were motivated to learn and excel in their academics in order to also impact society. 

The project spurred the creation of further partnerships with Indiana University in the USA and Hogeschool van Amsterdam in the Netherlands. There are plans to continue the relationship between the UCL ID Hub and YAH Ghana. One aim is to develop the work that has been done with YAH into student MSc and PhD projects worthy of publishing.

Impacts and Outputs

  • Development and delivery of education technology 
  • Long-term collaboration with YAH and partner institutions 
  • Direct community engagement (teaching and learning)