(A review, overview and email from Kwamena Appiah-Kubi, the Mozilla team lead for Maker Faire Africa)

Maker Faire Africa 2009: Mozilla

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!

Kwamena Appiah-Kubi
KNUST
College of Science
Department of Computer Science
Computer Science 4
Kumasi – Ghana

There’s are some great pictures put up by Miquel of Maneno about Afrobotics, the initiative that was launched at Maker Faire Africa by a number of Ghanian engineers, business people and programmers.

Afrobotics goal:

“inspire African university students to be science, engineering, and technology leaders, by enabling them in innovative team-based competitions that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire entrepreneurial risk-taking, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership”

If you’re looking for any pictures of Maker Faire Africa, we have a Flickr group that has pictures. Keep updated on the newest images from the event, where a number of us are updating it multiple times throughout the day.

And Maker Faire Africa Begins!

[The Maker Faire Africa team at a press conference]

Here are some of the media and blogs that have been writing about Maker Faire Africa:

AfricaNews: Maker Faire Africa kicks off

BikeJuju: Maker Faire Africa features bicycle-related inventors, projects

The Ghanaian Chronicle via AllAfrica: Maker Faire Africa underway in Accra

Core77: Maker Faire Africa is on!

Wired: Maker Faire Africa

Mental Floss: Preview: Maker Faire Africa

Kent’s Diary: Maker Faire Africa kicks off in Ghana

ICT4D.at:
Afrika Maker Faire Accra, Friday: Introduction and sessions 1st part
Maker Faire Africa, Accra, Friday: sessions 2nd part

More Than 900 Expect To Participate In The 3-Day Event August 14 – 16.
In Accra, Ghana

Sponsors and supports continue to join as the excitement builds around Maker Faire Africa (MFA) later this week. Held August 14 – 16 in Accra, Ghana, MFA will bring together ingenuity and invention from across the continent. Focused on 4 key innovation areas, MFA is poised to show the world a different face of Africa, where partnership, creativity, and innovation come together to create products and designs that can be used around the world.

“Maker Faire Africa aims to stoke the fires of innovation, catalyze the seeds of ingenuity, and amplify the pace of invention, wonder and curiosity amongst the young and young at heart,” said Emeka Okafor organizer of MFA and director of TEDAfrica. “We intend to dial back the negative reinforcement that pervades the continent in matters of career choice and conformity and will give center stage to the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things.”

A key part of MFA is the support they have received from sponsors around the globe. Through their support and vision MFA will deliver on the promise of premier event in Africa. “By sponsoring and co-organising the Maker Fair Africa we are helping to showcase role model makers and put the spotlight on innovation as the way forward for Africa,” said Emer Beamer head of Butterfly Works Learning Lab. “These Makers are the people who build the future and in all Butterfly Works projects, our goal is to enable and support this creativity every step of the way.” Sponsors include:

American Society of Mechanical Engineers – founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, today’s ASME promotes the art, science & practice of mechanical & multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences around the globe.

AndSpace Labs – founded by Andspace Consulting, AndSpace Labs collaborates with the public to co-create tools, perspectives, and relationships to help society meet the challenges of tomorrow using foresight and design thinking.

BusyInternet – founded in Ghana in 2001 with a unique mission to provide both commercial services as well as social and economic development with a range of events, training, debates, as well as a growing community of IT entrepreneurs.

Butterfly Works – an inspiration-driven social solution and design agency. The products and services of Butterfly Works range from consumer social product design and distribution to digital and mobile educational materials and learning environments.

ecoband – provides comprehensive, flexible and cost effective satellite and fiber optic-based solutions for Internet backbone connectivity as well as broadband wireless last-mile solutions. For the ECOWAS countries of West Africa.

The International Development Design Summit – MIT’s IDDS is a month-long collaboration that brings together people from around the globe to build technologies for communities in the developing world. The program is the brainchild of MIT Senior Lecturer and D-Lab founder Amy Smith, a past winner of the MacArthur “genius” grant.

Internet Research – a private research enterprise incorporated in the Republic of Ghana focusing on engineering, consulting and education in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT)

Inveneo – a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to get tools of information and communications technology (ICT) – computing, Internet access, and telephony – to the more than 2 billion people living in rural and underserved areas of the developing world.

Moving Windmills – based on the award-winning short film of the same name, Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story is a feature-length documentary that shares the touching tale of a boy whose imagination and ingenuity inspired a family, a village and a nation.

Mozilla – The Mozilla project is a global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. We have worked together since 1998 to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone.

MFA has also attracted a host of industry thought leaders, bloggers and news organizations who are dedicated to building the future of Africa including Amy Smith, Founder of MIT’s D-Lab, Africa News, AshokaTech, Emeka Okafor of TEDAfrica and Timbuktu Chronicles, Erik Hersman of Afrigadget, Global Development Commons, Henry Barnor of Afrobotics, Mark Grimes, founder of Ned.com, Nii Simmonds of Nubian Cheetah, Next Billion, and TechBridgeWorld,

“This is long overdue and I am thrilled to see an African event based on innovative solutions to problems developed by local participants,“ said Grimes. “Maker Faire Africa represents the best of grassroots efforts, localization, innovation, and ingenuity when it comes to the continent by focusing on its own unique challenges and tremendous opportunities.”

For more information about MFA visit www.makerfaireafrica.com

Media Contacts
Ghana
Emeka Okafor or
Nii Simmonds
+233 248576430
emeka.okafor@gmail.com
nas146@yahoo.com

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.