When I started working as a FabLab member and then as a FabLab manager, I never thought that it will be such a great experience in term of leadership, professional and personal development.
My journey as an “African Fablaber” started 4 years ago as a volunteer with an NGO in Lomé (Togo). I used to share my time and experiences by providing basic computer trainings to students, kids and everyone in the neighborhood that needed it or just curious about it.
When I discovered digital fabrication machines like 3D printers and everything that can be realized with it (in the African context), I decided to specialize and master it ”perfectly” in order to share and disseminate my knowledge within my community. Indeed, my experiences with Fablabs in West Africa, Europe and US showed that it can promote local economic development, strengthen social cohesion and capacity buildings of local communities.
With Defko Ap Niep in Dakar (Senegal), we initiated many programs to bring hands-on-learning system to local schools. We started pilot-projects and we are impressed by the power of learning-by-doing because in just half an hour, 8 years old students were able to solder electric circuits.
They could also design 3D models and print it out by themselves. Most of them have never used computers before nor have soldered electronic components because IT or electronic classes are not available in their school programs.
That is the power of Hands-on-learning and I am looking forward to share more experiences very soon.