We start talking about the fablabs, makerspaces and hackerspaces network in Africa and the need for meaningful maker projects. Jay is living now in Cairo and he was telling me how bad the air quality is there and then we start reading all these articles about number of deaths caused by poor air quality around the world (China, Mexico, Egypt, etc).
We decided to work on this and create a detective kit that could be build by makers from these countries. Like this they can monitor air quality and see exactly what kind of air pollution they are confronted with (CO2, dust, CO) so they can better target the solutions.
Ever since we have been testing and experimenting a couple of prototypes and we decided to build our kit on a bourduino shield so makers can re-use the parts for many other projects and therefore reduce the cost.
Luckily enough Jay hosted the ‘Global Innovation Lounge’, a gathering of 20+ Maker hubs from all over the world: Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines and 19 hubs from all over Africa (Cameroon, iLab from Liberia, iHub from Kenya, etc).
This was the perfect opportunity to build the Air quality kit with all these inspiring changemakers and to talk about the future of making with kids and young people in their countries.
In the second day we presented our case studies and challenges from Brazil, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Cambodia and Romania and raised the question: how can we enable kids to solve the biggest challenges of their communities? The response was touching: all attendants, students, entrepreneurs, makers, parents came to express their desire to contribute.
n the third day we start making the kit so everyone learn to solder and assemble the boarduino. One of the teams actually managed to finish the kit in one hour!
In the evening we all had dinner together and discovered common traditions between our countries and how much music is bringing us together. We also all realized we are all connectors that hope to enable local prosperity and empower communities.
I really feel like the connections created with this occasion are just the beginning of a beautiful collaboration project so hopefully in the future we will enable more and more young people to build a better tomorrow for their local communities and create beautiful things!