Löwgren’s project, which she will oversee this summer, is slated to bring significant opportunity to the 250 students of Sakyikrom United Primary School (SUPS) who currently study with no electricity at all.

“This project will emphasize the importance of the school within the Sakyikrom community, which can help parents and students prioritize education and thus improve the students’ chances of enrolling in higher education or finding meaningful employment,” Löwgren said. “Of the many benefits relating to maintaining peace, education is a primary one. Investing in schools benefits an entire community.”

In Ghana, 50% of the rural population and most schools lack access to electricity. With her Projects for Peace grant, Sara Löwgren ’20 aims to change that.In Ghana, 50% of the rural population and most schools lack access to electricity. With her Projects for Peace grant, Sara Löwgren ’20 aims to change that.Projects for Peace is an initiative for all students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program partner schools (and a few other institutions) to design grassroots projects – anywhere in the world – which promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties.  The program was created in 2007 through the generosity of Kathryn W. Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist who died in 2013 at 106 years of age.


Löwgren, who studies environmental sciences, climate change and climate policy at College of the Atlantic, is an excellent choice for the Award, and her work in Ghana will make a real difference on the ground, College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92 said.

“Sara has a long-standing interest in sustainability and finding solutions for problems at the local level, and we are very proud to have her receive a 2017 Projects for Peace award,” Collins said. “Her project resonates well with the goals of the Initiative and with COA’s human ecology mission.”

Löwgren, who is from Jönköping Län, Sweden, became familiar with SUPS during a trip with her high school, United World College Red Cross, in Norway, when she co-led a humanitarian group that helped the school fix their roof. Löwgren learned at the time that another pressing need, and one of the main dreams of school leaders, was to bring sustainable energy to SUPS.

College of the Atlantic student Sara Löwgren ’20 has been awarded a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to bring renewable energy to an impoverished elementary school in Ghana.College of the Atlantic student Sara Löwgren ’20 has been awarded a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to bring renewable energy to an impoverished elementary school in Ghana. Credit:  Ana María Zabala ’20

While the town the school is located in is tied to the national electric grid, the cost of power is so high that many homes and businesses, including the school, cannot afford it. After brainstorming with the teachers of the school, Löwgren and school leaders concluded that installing solar panels would be the best way to help SUPS transition from an underserved school into a more sustainable and modern one. The project will also provide LED light bulbs and computer tablets for student use.

Löwgren’s project contributes to peace and sustainable development in the Sakyikrom community in Ghana by encouraging environmental sustainability in the school and the community, improving the classroom and teaching environment, giving the pupils a fair chance to compete for higher education, and emphasizing the importance of education in the community, according to Project materials.

Sara Löwgren ’20 first became familiar with the Sakyikrom United Primary School in Ghana, the subject of her sustainable energy project, when she co-led a humanitarian group that helped the school fix their roof.Sara Löwgren ’20 first became familiar with the Sakyikrom United Primary School in Ghana, the subject of her sustainable energy project, when she co-led a humanitarian group that helped the school fix their roof.In Ghana, 50% of the rural population and most schools lack access to electricity. At SUPS, and most other schools, students and teachers can only work during bright hours, and the school lacks any information and communication technology infrastructure (ICT), Löwgren said. In the long run, both the limited number of study hours and the absence of ICT classes limit the academic results of the students and thus perpetuate the rural-urban divide, she said.

Löwgren will go to Ghana this summer, in the middle of August, to execute the project, and she has already started planning with the school’s officials. Once she arrives, she will host a meeting with community members to discuss her project with them and secure their support. Throughout the effort, Löwgren  will be in the school and community sharing information about renewable energy, collecting opinions and feedback, documenting the project, and ensuring the solar power system is working smoothly. She will also stay in close contact to monitor results.