Mozilla at Maker Faire Africa
(A review, overview and email from Kwamena Appiah-Kubi, the Mozilla team lead for Maker Faire Africa)
Maker Faire Africa was interesting and exciting. My weekend couldn’t have been better spent. I met a lot of like minded people and and saw a lot of interesting things made locally I had never heard of. I also got the opportunity to met people I had only heard or read about like Henry Barnor and Erik Hersman, it was wonderful meeting them and all the other guys.
The following is a recap the 3 days event.
MFA day 1
Day 1 was launch of Maker Faire Africa, with a series of talks about the purpose and inspiration behind the Faire. Some key makers were introduced followed by a number of talk sessions by the makers. I was really inspired by William Kamkwamba session to be determined and self-motivated. Every maker that registered got a copy of Make magazine.
MFA day 2
Day 2 commenced exhibitions. MFA hosted several makers from windmill builders to cycle powered saws as well as guys from the tech industry such as low powered computer manufactures and crowdsourcing agencies. Mozilla’s desk attracted a lot of participants, from fans to swag seekers. Henry Addo (ushahidi.com), Miquel (maneno.org) and myself collaborated in a workshop (turned discussion) about localization. We discussed issues hindering localization efforts in Africa, and what policies are and need to be put in place to promote localization. It was an eye opener, hearing the participants’ concerns and sharing ideas. We shared packaged Mozilla swag after the discussion, it included a t-shirt, wrist bands, buttons and stickers.
The second workshop (also turned discussion) was lead by Erik Hersman who launched into a discussion about what he saw as a lack of communication and cohesion within the Ghanaian programming community (original topic was mapping on mobiles and web).
I had 2 guys man the stand, 2 interact with makers and participants and myself and another attend the workshop.
MFA day 3
The third day started slow considering it was a Sunday. The program line up had to be rescheduled. There were a number of simultaneous workshops of which we attended 2; mobile applications development by Henry Addo, and building SMS applications web development for low bandwidth regions by Miquel, Brian Herbert (Esoko) and Wayan Vota (Inveneo) .
Participants who expressed interest to be part of the Mozilla community had their contact taken, I will get back to them to find their interests then move them on from there. To round up the event there was a panel discussion with MFA organizers to evaluate the progress of the event and the future of the faire.
Maker Faire Africa is scheduled for Kenya next year, date and time will be communicated later. Awards were given to makers who’s exhibits were considered to be true representation of what maker faire ought to be, the first going to three guys from Accra Polytechnic for building an FM radio transmitter. I handed over the table cloth to Henry Barnor at the close of the program.
It was indeed interesting an weekend. My team and i are grateful to have such an opportunity to be part of the program representing Mozilla, thanks a million!
College of Science
Department of Computer Science
Computer Science 4
Kumasi – Ghana