Maker Faire New York: Kelvin Doe

Maker Faire New York: Kelvin Doe

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.

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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.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook