Afrika Maker Faire Accra, Friday: Introduction and sessions 1st part

Notes from the Maker Faire Africa 2009 in Accra, Ghana from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th August.

Follow the MFA09 aggregator on Maneno.

MFA09 program available here.


Welcome speech

Nii Simmonds

The event was a journey and a collective effort

People that came here are

  • makers
  • engineers
  • academics
  • people that understand – Africa really needs to take off


Emeka Okafor

This is a networking opportunity, especially for Africans

The event is about

  • energizing
  • amplifying
  • elevating
  • disseminating

what already already appears, fostering entrepreneurship, but also having fun


Makers Show & Tell

William Kamkwamba – created a windmill producing electricity on his own in rural Malawi

  • movie: moving windmills
  • you have to start with a first step
  • hopefully we come up with finding out about innovations as great until Sunday

Where did the idea come from?

  • 2001 – hunger in Malawi, no money for going on to school
  • -> reading books to keep up with colleagues, especially diagrams
  • picture of windmill
  • got stuff from the scrap place and just started building one
  • Later – applying knowledge acquired from travel to the US – building a bigger windmill to pump water

What happens if something breaks?

  • Williams cousin knows how to repair stuff
  • more people want to learn it, one already built an own working windmill

Where do the things come from?

  • most things are locally available

What’s next?

  • short term: teaching people
  • long term: commercial company


IDDS – refridgerator team

Notes from IDDS final presentation

How was working with the community?

  • was the greates part, many ideas/advice, great feedback
  • they tried stuff out and helped in testing -> fostered innovation

Which design principles?

  • Direct feedback by endusers
  • Co-creation
  • Letting users see and try it – exploring & improving


Pat – multi machine

Nowadays everything has to be built using a machine tool – which are very expensive

Multi machine:

  • device which is easy to build
  • combines several machine tools
  • using old (from 1830s) technology
  • anybody can build it

There are no actual plans but there is a DVD with instruction -> which is handed out for free

Feedback of people?

  • it’s built all over the world
  • the machine can be used for virtually anything
  • now working on a treadle mechanism

Q & A

William: what were the difficulties with the first prototype?

  • didn’t convince the community, only the family
  • had to get the old bicycle of his father

Pat: which website?

  • Yahoo group: multimachine newsgroup

IDDS team: where is everything documented?


William: things that didn’t work and had to be redone?

  • couple of things: eg bicycle chain went off all the time

William: what are the costs for a windmill and how many people does it serve?

  • about 50$, Williams family can live from it & it is used for charging mobile phones

General advice:

  • Pat: Persistence is vital
  • IDDS team: Sometimes the problem has to be reformulated


Amy Smith – founder of IDDS, D-Lab

Involving everybody in a design activity

5 water sachets -> build something from it!

Various solutions of the teams

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Afrika Maker Faire Accra, Friday: Introduction and sessions 1st part
was published on 14.08.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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  1. Maker Faire Africa in the News | Maker Faire Africa Says:

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