In Design Observer Meena Kadri Interviews Emeka Okafor about Maker Faire Africa:

Meena Kadri
Maker Faire Africa is dubbed a celebration of African ingenuity, innovation and invention. What is the nature of the celebration?

Emeka Okafor
Many DIY-types — designers, inventors, hackers and tinkerers — in Africa work in isolation, so part of the celebration is about bringing them together to enhance, cross-pollinate and provide insights into the wider impact of their innovations on society. Taking the focus away from extractive ventures, we instead focus on those that are doing, making and producing. Globally there is a re-examination of manufacturing, production and design that is moving past the classical industrial sense and pointing to more distributed forms of production. Moving beyond mere celebration, there is also an interest in the interchange between these emerging global dynamics and local inspiration in Africa. This speaks to a far-reaching conversation in which the questions are posed: “How do we regain our creativity? How do we redefine what we mean by a society that is advanced?”

More here

The lists of people looking for matches is now up on the site, HERE, Sorry to all that it took a little while. Please browse the lists, especially  - but not only  - those from Ghana and see if you ‘match’ with someone there.

Match a Maker is a great way of  helping each other, you can offer someone advice on design or technologies for example and perhaps gain advice or help on funding or mentorship. There are so many ways to ‘match’

At the live event in Ghana,  lots of matches were made, for example: a man working on biocarburant found a mentor to further develop his business model, an inventor needing AutoCad skills was linked with the FabLab in Ghana, a shea butter maker was linked with a fabricator for a new machine to do same, a local children’s community organisation was linked to FM radio sender makers and  a Ugandan man was linked to a mentor for developing his bicycle driven medical care service.

Now we want to continue this momentum online. So see if you can help ‘match’ people to take inventing and making to the next step.
We are also working on a fully fledged platform to support the same types of matching but then globally. We envisage liking this to a ‘Whuffie‘ type approach to reward people who match others. You can help us design and build this full platform, if you have suggestion are are willing to volunteer time to get this platform up,  running and connected please mail us

Patrica Temma Bio and friend - Emer's match @makerfairafrica

Patrica Temma Bio and friend - Emer's match @makerfairafrica

Pat Delany inventor of the MultiMachine who we were so lucky to have at MFA09 talks about “the really big things that happened” at the event. As if that was not enough he shrugged off the abortive takeoff his departing Delta flight experienced:

Pat Delany (L) makes a point at MFA09

Pat Delany (L) makes a point at MFA09

Should be home by now but plane had engine trouble on takeoff.Better here than over the ocean in a 2 engine plane! Really big things have happened.A trade school will probably expand to other parts of the country and take the MM with it.An MIT lab is going to make and test the drill.People are going to make a “jungle” drill to make bolt holes to plank a bridge with wood that is so tough that nails just bounce off.Maker Faire Africa is sponsoring a country wide MultiMachine building contest.
A Nigerian venture capital guy is going to make my penetrating oil.I have been invited to join an American Association of Mechanical Engineers developing country group and maybe make a couple of speeches.And really big deal..I have started a program to provide African welders with better eye protection than the sun glasses they normally use. They often lose much of their sight after just a few years. The goal is to get the rod makers to provide filtering glass with boxes of rods. As it is now they are blinding their customers

Way to go Pat! Sourced from the MultiMachine user group

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BugLabs has created the ultimate high-tech hacker device, which they call “modular, open source hardware”. After talking to Peter Semmelheck, CEO of BugLabs, he was very excited about the idea of some Ghanaian programmers taking a crack at his device.

(I really hope they include the BUGbee 802.15.4 radio module with the kit they’re sending, since the WiFi and 3G modules don’t look like they’re available yet.)

BUGvonHippel Module

We had done this once before, in Kenya at Barcamp Nairobi, an it was a resounding success for everyone. Some of the ideas thought up were:

  • Pothole mapper
  • A shopping price comparison tool
  • Stolen vehicle tracker
  • Extortion cop monitor

I’ll bring the Bug for anyone who wants to get started on it before MFA starts on around Aug 10th. If you’re interested in being one of the first people to have a hands-on with the new device, let me know in the comments or via the contact form.

Getting Started

Developers, get started here and the SDK is here. You can also see some other community created Bug apps here.

IDDS Logo

KUMASI GHANA MAY 25 2009: Over 70 participants representing 21 countries meet in Ghana July 8th,
2009 to kick off the third annual International Development Design Summit (IDDS).

IDDS aims to produce innovative, affordable, scalable technologies to meet the very real needs of the 2.6
billion people earning less than $2-a-day. Participants receive a crash course in developing appropriate
technology and then break into small teams, each receiving a different design challenge to solve a specific
problem faced daily by people around the world. Unlike most academic conferences, this summit
emphasizes the development of prototypes, not just papers and proceedings. Unlike technology workshops, IDDS is about creative processes, as well as products.

IDDS 2009 uniquely embodies the spirit of co-creation by collaborating with local mechanics, entrepreneurs and potential end users. At various points, participants will travel to surrounding rural villages and interact closely with community partners. The aim is to develop the creative capacity within the communities themselves, enabling the members to become active creators of technology, rather than merely passive recipients.

The 2009 participant roster reflects diverse backgrounds and skills sets: a woman from Sierra Leone
teaching welding to girls, a Brazilian artist using industrial waste in her work, and a solar energy technician
from India, to name a few. By creating this global network, IDDS hopes to empower individuals and their
communities to tackle the tough problems that reside in the developing world.

IDDS is the brain child of Massachusetts Institute of Technology senior lecturer and MacArthur “Genius
Grant” award winner Amy Smith. The summit runs through August 12th, 2009. Finished prototypes will be
showcased at Maker Faire Africa, a celebration of African ingenuity, innovation and invention hosted by
AfriGadget in Accra, Ghana from August 14th-16th.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SUMMIT, VISIT THE 2009 BLOG OR IDDS HOMEPAGE.

While the Maker Faire does concentrate on innovation and technology, we are in fact keen to showcase all kinds of African makers, creators, inventors, designers and artists. At the Fair in August we expect a great cross section of makers, media and technologies from local and international hand.
Adding flair to the selection of innovators already coming are two media makers both from Ghana.
The first is Nana Kofi Acquah a photographer (nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com) whose work spans high end fashion and product photography to gritty street documentary work. He is currently busy with a series covering ‘Ghanian makers’ which he will show in August.

Talking and cooking, by Nana Kofi Acquah

Talking and cooking, by Nana Kofi Acquah

Also showcasing will be Africa Interactive (www.africa-interactive.net)
a fast growing multimedia agency in Africa, with 600 local reporters in 38 African countries. They cover stories from an African persepctive through their network of reporters who are always on hand to make a mobile report. They have done work for large international companies and local and international ngos. The team from the Ghana based office will represent them and their work.

Really simple reporting from Africa interactive

Simple video reporting from Africa interactive