It was in 2018, whilst watching a news documentary on Azizakpe, an island fishing community of Ada in the  Greater Accra Region of Ghana, that Rhoda Osei-Nkwantabisa (last name pronounced O-s-æ N-quan-ta-be-sah) got the inspiration for her thesis. Then a second year KNUST architecture student, she became fascinated with the story of this town which, over the last two decades, has been subject to floods due to climate change and has lost its economic livelihood. She immediately wanted to step in and change the narrative.

Growing up, Osei-Nkwantabisa, who lived between her grandmother’s residence in Tema, Greater Accra Region and her parents' in Brong Ahafo Region, was struck by the changing landscapes on her road trips to the Brong Ahafo. She recalls the stark differences between the well-planned communities of Tema and other parts of the country, which were less-structured and underserved, and wanting to get involved in the transformation of deprived areas. This interest led her to study architecture.

In 2022, four years on from the time Rhoda got to know about Azizakpe and now in her  Architecture design thesis year, she wondered how she could help this community she had fallen in love with. Her response - designing a well-planned Azizakpe that could adapt and thrive with changing seasons and climates.

Azizakpe, which literally translates to Dwarf Town, is over a century old, and is in the estuary of the Volta River where it enters the Atlantic Ocean. Primary vegetation here is coconut groves, mangrove and swamp forests. There are mythical stories about the town's origin, of being founded and inhabited by dwarfs, who gradually got driven out by the depletion of its forests.

Rhoda Osei-Nkwantabisa and her thesis model with Dr. Martin Larbi, one of her research supervisors.