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
Emeka Okafor or
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.)
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.
We’ve been asked by a number of people if they could sponsor Maker Faire Africa as individuals. Amounts that range from $25 to $100. This is a good idea, and in line with the type of event that this is. Committee member Mark Grimes, founder of Ned.com, is in charge of all the funds, and he will be using a PayPal account to receive those personal sponsorships until we have a better way to handle it.
[UPDATE: Mark has created a widget that allows anyone to sponsor MFA on the main page.]
There’s a whole page and a PDF download of information for those interested in sponsoring Maker Faire Africa. It basically breaks down like this:
Panthera Leo (lion) Package ($7,500)
Everything in Loxodonta Africana and Gazella Rufifrons packages plus:
- 10 VIP conference passes
- 2 sponsored workshops with product demos
- 1 page advertisement in conference guide
- Use of conference mailing list within 6 months of event
- Banner placement at entrance and in auditorium
- Keynote address sponsorship message
- Guest article on Maker Faire Africa web site
- Logo on conference bag
Loxodonta Africana (elephant) Package ($1,500)
Everything in the Gazella Rufifrons package plus:
- Exhibitor space
- 4 VIP conference passes
- Mention in email broadcasts
- Included in news releases
- 1/2 page advertisement in conference guide
- Goodies in conference bag
Gazella Rufifrons (gazelle) Package ($250)
- 100 word listing and logo in conference guide
- 100 word listing on web site
- Placing of material on literature table
- Logo on t-shirt, shirts free to attendees
Maker Faire Africa logo winner:
The final logo was chosen because of how versatile it was for MFA. Maker Faire Africa represents a lot of different types of people, pastimes and projects. Having the imagery be more than just one type of gadget or practice seemed like a better fit. The four different colored icons could be used for multiple types of branding purposes.
We almost chose the windmill because of the story it tells. What it really is is a silhouette of William’s Windmill, a story that has garnered a lot of attention due to the youth and ingenuity of William Kamkwamba. It’s a little rough around the edges, just like the windmill – but it works, has meaning and tells the story of so many other inventors, tinkerers and micro-entrepreneurs across a vast and complicated continent.
This last week we’ve been running a competition to create the Maker Faire Africa logo over at 99designs. It’s been a lot of fun, with a lot of great entries. Here are just the top rated ones, the 3 with check marks are the finalists.
From Joost – thanks Joost!
It’s great how a seedling idea can take root! Specifically, I’ve been a big fan and supporter of both the IDDS – the International Development Design Summits, which have been organized by Amy Smith and colleagues at MIT for the past two summers – and the growing set of Maker Faire‘s — orchestrated by the maestros at Make‘zine! So when my colleague Lars Torres, who runs the MIT IDEAS Competition, told me of emergent plans for a Maker Faire Africa – proposed by Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles – I immediately suggested coinciding the timing of the event with the finale of IDDS 2009 which will be in Kumasi, Ghana at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Well, it’s bubbling up, and will most probably happen! (It’s not yet a done-deal, but surely the folks at Make will love it!) Check out AfriGadget‘s supportive post –Maker Faire: Africa 2009!
No, it’s not scheduled to happen yet, or anywhere near it, but we’re heartened by this discussion on Afrigadget and Ned forums about the possibility of holding a Maker Faire in Africa next year. The amount of clever, locally appropriate innovation that gets profiled on blogs like Afrigadget leave us continually impressed, and also frustrated that more attention isn’t paid, or more capital and distribution channels made available.
The domestic Maker Faires that have been going on in the US for the past few years have featured a combination of whimsy, hi-tech, development, and hobbyist work. An African Maker Faire though, according to the post, would focus on fabrication, asking, “What happens when you put the drivers of ingenious concepts from Mali with those from Ghana and Kenya, and add resources to the mix?”
Although specifics are lacking, interest appears high, and an organizing team for the effort will be meeting next summer at Nkrumah University in Ghana as part of the International Development Design Summit. Best of luck, guys — we’re fascinated.