The impact of a new rural 'Makerspace' in Nigeria

Rural Reporters

This article was originally published by Rural Reporters

AFON, NIGERIA – One year ago, Prikkle Academy team landed their foot in a community called Afon, in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria, to look into how to mobilize the potential of rural communities for sustainable social good.

What happened a year after has blown every imagination out of steam and has strengthened Prikkle Academy’s belief that the future of millions of youths living in rural communities can get brighter and their awesome dreams can begin to happen.

For the first four months, the team engaged youths that desired to make their community better, that were already thinking of ways to reduce unemployment, get more people into school, and give more people the freedom to create local solutions to local problems.

international development education innovation in Nigeria for early childhood developmentAfter the three months of running different exercises, the team identified 200+ local skills, gifts, and talents among just 13 youths.

For the first time, these youths realized that all that need to start their curious dreams were already wrapped inside of them. To unleash is the next logical step.

Before going forward to unleash, the team with the youths decided to take a step to the right. They asked, “now that we have the skills and knowledge that can help us solve small and big problems in this community, do we have the assets and resources in this community that can seamlessly make our discovery turn into solution?”

They walked the breadth and length of the community to find the resources that they often overlooked. Some of the things they found included:

  • Dump site – they saw it as a potential for getting scraps and the soil for fertilizer
  • Bamboos and fats tress – they considered it as potential for creating innovative wood products
  • Streams – they saw it as a potential for creating exciting Agriculture projects
  • Household waste – they saw some of it as a potential to generate electricity and cooking energy.

Then, importantly, they found “Government Abandoned buildings,” while they thought about what they could do with this, it suddenly hit them that they turn one of it into a maker-space.

international development education innovation in Nigeria for early childhood developmentBy the way, but what is a makerspace? A makerspace is a place where people can find the tools and resources that they need, in an open and free-to-fail-and- finally-succeed-atmosphere, to turn the ideas in their head into personal and community solution.

So, in September 2017, after some engagements and approval to use the abandoned building by the local government, we opened up the makerspace. It was presented as a center where the youths from within (and outside) the community can come to during the day, no matter their tribe, language, level of formal or informal education, status and ability, and create whatever they feel like creating.

Prikkle Academy has come to stay in redefining education from the rural communities, by inspiring the creative spirit and raising community builders from the rural communities.

You can read more about Prikkle Academy’s work at www.prikkleacademy.org.

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Photo Credits: Prikkle Academy

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