Designing Their Own Future

I am from Sierra Leone and I love inventing.

Kelvin Doe,15, is “DJ Focus” to his loyal listening public in Sierra Leone.

This young D.J. knows what he’s talking about – Kelvin is an engineering whiz who goes through dustbins to find the broken electronic parts  other people discard.  He uses these to create batteries, generators and transmitters for solving problems in his community.

The fm radio station he built with a team of his peers gives voice to the youth of his community.  People text into the show, which broadcasts news, music and debates on local issues, all coordinated enthusiastically by DJ Focus himself.

His mentor, David Sengeh, runs an innovation camp where Sierra Leonean youth are challenged to think about the toughest problems in their environments and solve them. David believes that there are many potential Kelvins who, given the opportunity, will create the futures they want to live in.

Kelvin has two major goals – to provide for his family and to promote inventions.  He’s hoping someday to build a windmill, like Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba, now famously known as the “boy who harnessed the wind“.

Kelvin Doe, young inventor from Sierra Leone

Kelvin Doe. Photo Credit: Paula Aguilera, MIT Media Lab

Also learning by doing, are four girls in Nigeria, all under 16.  Akindele Abiola, Duro-Aina Adebola, Bello Eniola and Faleke Oluwatoyin showed off their urine-powered generator this November at Maker Faire Africa, an event which draws practical innovators with workable solutions for immediate problems.

Their prototype produces 6 hours of electricity per each liter of urine!

The girls have attracted deserved attention worldwide recently for demonstrating the potential for creating value from an abundant resource.

Nigerian girls and their invention

Photo Credit: Maker Faire Africa

What You Can Do

Support Innovate Salone, a program to empower secondary school students in Sierra Leone in creative problem-solving.

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  1. […] knows where those habits could take you? Check out our post from last year about a 15-year-old radio whizz from Sierra Leone. You might also remember the three Nigerian girls featured in the same post, who designed a […]

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