When I was asked to find someone to look up to, follow and be inspired by in the Social Innovation field, those behind Maker Faire Africa
was an obvious place to start. As someone working in a job assisting makers, the emergence of Maker Faire within Africa is truly exciting for me. It was first held in Ghana in 2009 and the next one is planned for Kenya in August 2010.
At the top of the organizing team
for the event I found Emeka Okafor. He describes himself on his blogs Timbuktu Chronicles
and Africa Unchained
as a venture catalyst and entrepreneur, and it is that first term that immediately drew my attention.
The word catalyst
truly fits with Emeka, who was not only one of the organizers of Maker Faire Africa, but also the Director of TED Global 2007
that took place in Arusha,
Tanzania. He invited William Kamkwamba
to speak at the conference - whose recorded talk
totally blew me away when I watched it last year and helped me (and so many others) begin to understand what is possible with ingenuity and a maker's spirit.
I love how these projects have such a focus on enabling, inspiring and encouraging individuals and communities to create innovative solutions - and at the same time raise the profile of this movement internationally.
Long term, I hope to eventually attend Maker Faire Africa myself, and get to meet Emeka Okafor in person. For now, I have subscribed to both his blogs
, followed him on Twitter
, and let him know how inspiring I find his work through Facebook
- along with a Friend Request.
I look forward to following his work in the future, as well as reading back through his earlier blog posts to continue inspiring me and fueling my passion for Social Innovation.
[photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteafrican/3824154836