Makers Assemble! and Fight Covid-19 in Ghana – Interview with Lyndon McJohnson and Edward Akani

Makers Assemble was an initiative to better leverage digital innovations in the fight against COVID-19. Launched in June 2020, the collaborative project connects various ecosystem players in Ghana. The goal was to maximise the support of local innovators and accelerate the production of their solutions related to the pandemic. It was implemented by Ghana Tech Lab, supported by Make-IT in Africa.

With success: The 3D-printed face shields have even received official approval as medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority.

We’ve talked to Lyndon McJohnson and Edward Akani – the Makers Assemble Project Supervisor in order to reflect on how the initiative became a success and what happened after the initiatives’ conclusion.

How did you decide which areas needed solutions and which were they?

We started with a bootcamp to gather innovators and identify areas that needed solutions. At the end of the bootcamp we agreed to make the followin: Face shields, Respirators, Hand washing buckets, thermometer guns and Ventilators replaced with ICU bed due to approval issues.

How did you come up with this solution? What was your inspiration? Did you already have contact with the topic before?

We set out to solve some of the most pressing concerns that were raised by the outbreak of Corona. We selected 20 innovators and grouped them into 5 teams and tasked them to come up with 5 solutions for the identified problems that arose with the corona outbreak. The topic was very new to us which made the idea design process the more fun.

How did you experience the participation in the bootcamp and production phase? What did you learn? 

The bootcamp was very exciting as it involved people from various diverse backgrounds. I also learnt that we are very intelligent, and we, as Ghanaians, can build things if we put our minds to it.

What has happened since the conclusion of the initiative? How have the developed prototypes progressed?

We are having communications with GIZ, keeping in touch with the makers from this past implementation, with hopes of building an ecosystem around the initiative. We are also finalizing a report of the program to share with GIZ. We also intend to follow up on the ministries to follow on where our innovations reached in order to be able to provide support whenever the need arises.

Links

ACCRA | Makers Assemble! Ghana Tech Lab unites digital warriors in the COVID-19 fight – Make-IT in Africa (make-it-initiative.org)

20 Ghanaian Makers Team Up To Innovate Against COVID-19 In The Makers Assemble Initiative (digitaltimes.africa)

MITWiA_Factsheet-Gesamtprojekt_Q3_v0.3.pdf (make-it-initiative.org)

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