Students outside library

VIU Tourism and Recreation students receive research awards

Jocelyne Fournier and Megan Fortune conducted research in Ghana, West Africa, to help communities build strong environmental programming in their schools.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Tourism and Recreation students are helping junior high schools in Ghana, West Africa strengthen their environmental programming so youth in the region can gain knowledge to help protect sensitive ecosystems and save endangered hippos. 

VIU students Jocelyne Fournier and Megan Fortune worked with teachers and students living within the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, which stretches 40 kilometres along the Black Volta River and is home to one of the two remaining hippopotamus populations in Ghana. The sanctuary, a community-based initiative, is owned and managed by the Traditional Chiefs and people of the Wechiau Traditional Area. There are 17 communities that reside within the sanctuary. 

The students conducted their research prior to the COVID-19 pandemic through the VIU Ghana Research and Study Tour, which is a month-long field school offered through VIU’s World Leisure Centre of Excellence. It focuses on sustainable tourism development in rural and remote communities in Ghana. Participants also get a chance to apply their learning, develop cross-cultural research skills, and engage in impactful research.

Aggie Weighill, a VIU Recreation and Tourism Professor and leader of the study tour, says the field school helps change participants’ world views and gives them a global perspective.

To read the full story, please visit

Related Posts