Maker Faire Africa 2010..The spirit of do it Yourself..

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The Maker Faire is a celebration of do-it-yourself culture. Yes  “Do it yourself “,  perfectly and remain committed to the course.  In attendance on the first day of the event ware the inventors, hobbyists, artists, engineers, software developers,  entrepreneurs, the handy men and women…the jua kali. Looking at the faces, and seeing the real  passion of these people and the love they have for their products and services made me proud of the direction Africa is taking with younger generation. The very aim of the Maker Faire and the coincidence that it began on the day when Kenya was literally being reborn at Uhuru park should be something to be remembered for a very long time.

I spent the day trying to sample some of the great work being done out there.. I started at the ChildCount stand

Child Count

ChildCount+ is an mHealth platform developed  by the Millennium Villages Project aimed at empowering communities to improve child survival and maternal health.  ChildCount+ (CC+) uses  Sms text messages to facilitate and coordinate the activities of community based health care providers, usually community health care workers.

I was happy to find  my friend Moses Katembo (@mkatembu) on the stand explaining on how the CC+ works. According to Moses the aim is to keep up to date the information about new born kids up to 5 years. Health workers through the use of  sms system are able to monitor the general health of the  kids in areas they are in charge of.

I commend them for the great job they are doing  with sms platform to save lives in the rural villages.

Moses Katembo

Moses Katembo

Child Count Team

ChildCount+ Team

ChildCount+ Team

Next stop..

Map Kibera..Voice Of Kibera

Kibera has generated a lot of interest and discussions worldwide. At  some point it was like being turned to tourists destination in Kenya. The question is, people talk a lot about Kibera but do they have any  plan for the area? Talking about tourists destination for a moment, what exactly are  the visitors looking for, human suffering or ..?Anyway someone  thought of not talking but doing something. Map Kibera in collaboration with Ushahidi platform are used to crowd source for the events in real time in Kibera . The map generated show exact hot spots , cold spots, happy spots and even celebration spots. People are encouraged to send sms to short code 3002 for any event taking place at Kibera area.  Be it violence, riots, railway uprooting, katiba celebration, name it.

Voices Of Kibera

Voices Of Kibera

Voices of Kibera is a Map Kibera project. It is a news organization which enable people in Kibera to report on what is happening on real time. “Report on what is happening NOW in Kibera” Report on:

  • Events and opportunities
  • Violence and trouble
  • Local News about anything : Health, sports, schools, safety, civic education..name it
  • Personal commentary and opinion
Helping Hand

Helping Hand

Get more about them here

Then i met the talking book!!!

The Talking  Book

I love technology and this is something. Education made easy. The gadget being held by the gentleman on the picture below is really talking. With it you can have all the audio learning books and lessons.

Mr.Abkul Orto

Mr.Abkul Orto

The gadget  has rechargeable battery which can last 80 to 120 hours. The best part of it is that  the battery can be charged using solar energy or panel.  The rural areas and  in particular, the places classified as hardship areas where the teachers are not willing to be posted to can benefit a lot from this. According to Mr. Abkul Orto they are already using it successfully in rural areas in Ghana.

The Talking Book

The Talking Book

You remember back in primary when you used to go for radio lessons from KBC ? This is a better learning tool with gadget to enhance the voice of the speaker. Even the people with deep accent can record the lessons and the listeners would just be fine..

Slum Code Group

Slumcode is a youth organization that aims to reach the under served by facilitating opportunities for partnership, networking and growth.  Mostly operate in slum areas hence the name.

Slum Coe Group

Slum Code Group

How is this achieved?

1. Through annual event called The Grand Slumfest. It is annual event that presents the innovators in low income communities chance and space to show case their products or services just like Maker Faire. A day to display, network and spread the great ideas.

2. Through Slum Media. The concept is about capturing the issues and stories related to social empowerment. The targets are single mothers and young women. The organization realized that few people pay attention to the news and may not know of the existing business opportunities. This is the forum to tell the women about the ideas for businesses, how they can access credit facilities, and what it take to be successful in business

3. Through Mtoto Palace.  It is a child support program focusing on identifying, nurturing and developing the child’s potentials. To start with the target group are the children between the ages of 10 to 14 years.  It is done through training, reading clubs, educational tours, exchange programs

Slum Code Stand

Slum Code Stand

Whive.com stand

Whive.com

Whive.com

A Kenyan Mobile based social media developed in the different Kenyan local languages. John Karanja aimed at taking the social media to the people of the grass root. At the same time you can be able to reach over 10,000 Kenyans through the sms  for only ksh.1.87  per person. Here is John Karanja’s thoughts on Maker Faire and his project

GetH2O

It is a mobile  based game about building houses, living, working, fetching water legally and even illegally. Just know that if you do it illegally nobody wins the game..and you are stuck in some sort of a rat race.

Mobile based Game

Mobile based Game

It experimentally teaches players about the dynamics of resource management, cooperation and mutual support. This is not just a normal game..it is a serious stuff

GetH2O

GetH2O

The game can be downloaded directly to the phone or via PC at the GetH2O site geth2ogmae.com.  On a serious note to mobile web developers they are looking for someone to translate their gaming platform to other languages.

GetH2O Team

GetH2O Team

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Team

Firefox Team

They too are in town. Many people around are using Mozilla Firefox including yours truly. Once in a while the Firefox does disappoint me by either taking all the memories or  crashing.

Kwamena Appiah

Kwamena Appiah

Kwamena Appiah explained to me that there is version Firefox 4. It is still at beta stage but it is right on  the way . It is quite light and the users should be prepared for better and long lasting experience. Great to hear that.

FutureChallenges (Futurechallenges.org)

The crew

The crew

No stand here but it is the organization which  my friend  @MacJordan from Ghana work for.  Nice chat with the crew about the new Constitution and what it means for the future Kenya.

@MacJordaN

@MacJordaN

Finally i cornered @whiteafrican, Emeka Okafor and Linet Kwamboka for quick interviews about Maker Faire and how they made it possible.. More on that coming later

All the pictures are here

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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