Mention Africa and many of us westerners immediately conjure up images of war, famine, and genocide. But Sierra Leone’s 16-year-old Kelvin Doe is conjuring up something something altogether different.

Kelvin, AKA DJ Focus, helped create a DIY youth radio station made from discarded consumer electronics salvaged from local garbage bins. He designed his own generator to power the station’s amplifier and other components. The station’s 12-volt generator is made from a home-made battery which in turn is  charged by broken DVD players. In his spare time, Kelvin DJs at kids’ birthday parties.

Kelvin is coming to Maker Faire New York from Africa to participate in the “Meet the Young Makers” panel discussion Sunday, Sept. 30, at noon. If you want to renew your faith in humanity and the young maker spirit this is the event for you.

Kelvin is one of the finalists in the inaugural Innovate Salone 2012 high school invention challenge in Sierra Leone organized by Global Minimum. He presented his work on Maker Camp this past summer. In addition to his appearance at Maker Faire,  Kelvin will also be a resident practitioner with the MIT International Development Initiative. And, oh yeah. He will also be a guest presenter at Harvard School of Engineering.

Global Minimum’s mission is to “nurture and harvest the creative and innovative minds of Sierra Leoneans through design and implementation.”  Innovate Salone is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Sierra Leone through “the collaborative integration of scientific, socio-cultural, technological and entrepreneurial innovations.”

Given what Kelvin has accomplished, it sounds like Global Minimum and Innovate Salone are succeeding.

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

  • agogo22

    Reblogged this on msamba.

  • Capt. Price

    Wow. I wish i lived in Africa and could scavenge from bins to source parts. Here in the UK you’d get arrested for that. I wonder if Harvard ever knew about the remote control van I made when I was 6? Probably not.
    Perhaps I should move to Africa? By the looks of Luton, there can’t be many people left in Africa, so getting a job shouldn’t be too hard.

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  • JOhwell

    My name is Johwell St-Cilien. MY partner Chad Harper and I created an after school program called “Kids Helping Kids a Hip Hop experience”.In this program we celebrate everyday heros and innovators through art.
    Last week Kelvin Doe was our Hero and his story inspired our Kids on so many levels.
    Here is the piece they created in his honor.
    please feel free to give us feed back and our kids would be so encouraged to hear back from Kelvin himself.
    peace and much love.

    and Here is the behind the scene of that same video.

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