Togbe Ghana has many strings to his bow. He is an afro-reggae and dancehall musician, a personal fitness trainer, and the winner of multiple awards including 2020 Ghana Best Beach Clean winner, 2020 Ghana Sanitation Personality of the Year, and 2021 Ghana Environmental Personality of the Year.
But most importantly, Togbe is the founder and CEO of Let’s Go Clean The Beach, a beach clean project based out of Accra where he lives. Rob, our head of operations and partnerships caught up with him here:
Q. How did Let’s Go Clean The Beach Start?
Let’s Go Clean The Beach started with the composition of the song Keep Ghana Clean. After that we began renting tools and paying people on the beach front to help me clean the beaches. To fund the beach cleans and to raise money to record Keep Ghana Clean I used the money I earned from training people in the gym. I also began going door to door to raise funds to provide food and refreshments to incentivise more volunteers to join me.
Q. What has your partnership with the Beach Collective enabled you to do?
The most important part of my partnership with the Beach Collective is that it allows me to reliably pay workers on a weekly basis. It also allows me to cover the costs of logistics, food and refreshments to everyone who comes to our beach cleans.
The Beach Collective was also kind enough to sponsor the making of a music video for Keep Ghana Clean to raise awareness in the press and in the media of the importance of keeping our beach fronts clean.
Q. Why do you think music is a powerful way to create change?
Music is food for the soul. Everyone loves music and the more we listen to it the more its message reaches all of us.
Q. When did you first realise that we needed to take better care of our oceans?
In 2019 we had a bad incident of flooding in our community and many people died just because of bad littering and blocked gutters. That’s when I decided to write the Keep Ghana Clean song.
Q. How aware of climate change is the average person in your country?
A lot of people in Ghana know about climate change but very few have the money to factor it into their daily lives. Instead of making sustainable choices people end up taking shortcuts which have a negative impact on nature.
If we want to raise more awareness we need to educate our communities but also take care of the basic things like providing waste bins and arranging recycling pickups. At the moment, recycling facilities are privately owned and are very far away from the communities themselves. People would have to get in their car to even use them and most people don’t own cars. The best that we can hope for is that people use waste bins in their homes and later pay someone to pick them up. But most often rubbish is simply dumped in the street, in the gutters or on the beach.
Q. How do people react when they see you cleaning beaches?
Most people are shocked. They ask: “Why are you doing a job which the government should be doing?” Others come to the beach to swim or play soccer and so they don’t want to help – but they don’t realise that if we weren’t there cleaning the beaches then there wouldn’t be a beach to play soccer on! Others just sit and don’t seem to care at all.
Q. If you had $10,000 of funding what would you do?
I would buy a plot of land for building a sorting centre and a recycling factory and then buy a used van and start door to door collection of plastics. I would also like to expand the cleans to more beaches in Ghana.
Q. What inspires you to continue your work?
I want to be part of the effort to achieve SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation. I want to protect planet earth and humanity.