[Note: Pictures will be on the Maker Faire Africa Flickr group. All images by AfriGadget are CC-by licensed for anyone to use anywhere they like.]
This morning at Maker Faire Africa, after a short introduction by Nii Simmonds and Emeka Okafor, the team (MFA sponsors) from AndSpace Labs have been moderating a “show and tell” by some of the Makers (which is what we’re calling those who are demo’ing at the event).
William Kamkwamba: Windmills
First up was William Kamkwamba, who is really seen as a success story of this type of microentrepreneur or innovator in Africa. His windmills and the story behind it are an inspiration for many here, especially the aspiring makers with good ideas and their first prototypes. There is now a book, a documentary and a foundation all set up around the inspired story of windmills from Malawi.
The crowd LOVES William. The Africans are so inspired by him due to it being done on his own without a bunch of outside help. This means from the expats who do a lot of good work of course, which is a good point. How much more exciting is it to see home-grown ingenuity and innovation making it big than it is if it’s imported in from overseas?
The International Develpment Design Summit has been going on for the last 4 weeks in Kumasi, Ghana. Two members of the team came up to talk about one of the devices that they created from local materials, that will be here at the show as well. It’s a device that allows you to store your food so that it doesn’t spoil as quickly. To see more of the IDDS work, here are the final presentations from earlier this week.
Pat Delaney: Multimachine
“You can have no industrial progress without machine tools.” He’s here to show how you can start from nothing except a pipe with three holes in it and an old/broken engine block, and create a universal machine tool. His is called the Multimachine. Due to weight constraints he couldn’t bring a complete machine, so he brought the rudimentary drills and 200 DVDs full of instructions to the event.
Finally, Pat makes a call for someone to create cheaply and widely available welding glasses. Why? Because so many people in Africa are using sunglasses to weld, but it ruins your eyes in 3-4 years and you can’t weld anymore. This is terrible due to it taking 10 years to become a master welder.
Dominic Wanjihia is from Kenya, and he’s here at Maker Faire Africa in Ghana because of the innovative designs and solutions that he comes up with for problems that ordinary Africans face. We had profiled one of his earlier inventions, an evapocooler for camel milk in Somalia, last year.
He’s been in Accra this last week working in the timber yards in Makola building a food dryer and a food cooler to show at the event. Both of them use air, and the dryer takes advantage of the heat from the sun. More detailed posts will be coming on them, but here’s a few shots of him and the carpenters building the devices.
Maker Faire Africa (MFA) is a new event celebrating the innovation, ingenuity and invention within Africa – happening August 13-15 of this year in Accra, Ghana.
We came at this event from a specific angle – we mixed the types of individuals who show up on AfriGadget and Timbuktu Chronicles, and the ethos of the greater MAKE community, all with the blessings of the good folks at Maker Faire. The dates were chosen to coincide with Amy Smith’s and MIT’s International Development and Design Summit (IDDS), which will run for 3 weeks before MFA, also in Ghana.
As Emeka puts it:
The aim of a Maker Faire-like event is to create a space on the continent where Afrigadget-type innovations, inventions and initiatives can be sought, identified, brought to life, supported, amplified, propagated, etc. Maker Faire Africa asks the question, “What happens when you put the drivers of ingenious concepts from Mali with those from Ghana and Kenya, and add resources to the mix?”
How You can Support MFA
First off, help spread the word! Let people know where and when it will be. Share the link to the site, grab a badge, blog it.
Second, help us find sponsors. If you know an organization or individual who would like to support this amazing event, put us in touch with them. It could be monetary, or it could be donating some cool gadgets, gear, tools or devices for people to hack on while there. (example idea: we’d love to get some LEGO Mindstorm kits for the local high schools).
Third, come. If you have the time and ability, we’d love to have you, your ideas and your gadgets at MFA.
In my role as founder of AfriGadget, I’m part of the organizing team to put together Maker Faire Africa, joined by my an excellent group of people including:
Want to get involved yourself? Get in touch!