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.
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.
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.
Matt Berg over at BuildAfrica blog has an interesting story of Mr Acheampong, a local entrepreneur who makes money by charging people’s mobile phones. He uses a homemade C-cell battery setup to do this (see below):
“Mr. Acheampong, one of the Abusuapanin Community Leader’s in Bonsaaso village, use’s 4 C dry cell batteries to charge mobile phones. The four 1.5V batteries in series adds up to 6V which is similar to the 5.5V that most cell phones require (amperage varies). The set of batteries cost 1 Ghana Cedi and he is able to charge four phones before needing to replace the batteries. This compares to the 1 Cedi cost of charging a phone at the local cell tower.”
However, Matt points out how inefficient this type of setup is. There are new low-cost options including the Tough Stuff Solar Panel coming in at around $20 retail.
Maker Faire Africa is an event happening next summer in Ghana. It needs a logo though, and for the designers who read this, it’s your chance to win a quick $250. Jump on over to THE CONTEST to get started.
(Not a designer? Pass this on to someone who is, and feel free to leave your comments on which designs you like/don’t like.)
What is Maker Faire Africa?
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?”
This logo will be used on the redesigned website, print materials and t-shirts.
How it Works
A couple months back I tested out 99designs.com for logo creation, and was incredibly impressed with how easy it was to get going and for designers to take part in quick project work. The contest is open for 7 days (Dec 25th – Christmas), and anyone can go register as a designer to submit an entry.
Once you’ve registered and submitted a design, we’ll be leaving feedback on what direction to take it, and we’ll rate them using their 5-star system. You can submit as many entries as you like. Make sure you read the creative brief before you go too far. We realize that one of the main problems with any contest like this is Africa is payment to the winner. We’ll be creative in making sure that if the winner does come from anywhere in Africa, you’ll get paid.
Who is behind it?
The organizing team is made up of Emeka (Timbuktu Chronicles), Mark (Ned.com), Amy Smith (MIT IDDS), Lars (MIT), Nii (Nubian Cheetah), Erik (AfriGadget), and Juliana (Afromusing). It is in the very early stages of organization, and we’ve each contributed some money to get the logo created.
O’Reilly, along with the guys at Maker Faire have given us their blessing to use the name.
Hash at Afrigadget reports on the plans for a Maker Faire-Africa 2009:
The focus here is not on high-tech, but on manufacturing. Specifically, fabrication, the type of small and unorganized businesses that pop up wherever an entrepreneur is found on the African continent. It gets exciting when you think about gathering some of the real innovators from this sector into one place where they can learn from each other and spread their knowledge from one part of the continent to another…[continue reading]