by Neenah Payne, Activist Post
The 2012 video “15-Yr-Old Kelvin Doe Wows M.I.T.” says Kelvin Doe is a 15-year-old engineering whiz from Sierra Leone. Kelvin taught himself to do very intricate things with very few resources. Kelvin created a battery to power homes because the electricity is Sierra Leone is available just once week!
Kelvin also made his own FM radio transmitter. Completely self-taught, he created a radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker “DJ Focus.” He scours trash bins for spare parts to build batteries and transmitters. He created a generator to supply current to the radio station to allow people to be informed about issues affecting the community and the nation.
David Sengeh is a Ph.D. student from Sierra Leone at M.I.T. Media Lab where researchers have unlimited creative freedom. David explained that Sierra Leone and other African countries have received aid for many years. However, he does not believe that is helpful because the aid does not encourage Africans to design their own future. David said that to facilitate a steep growth in national development, Africa needs a host of young people who can think creatively to solve Africa’s problems. What is needed is a movement to inspire young Africans to create solutions in their areas.
Sengeh runs a Summer Innovation Camp in Sierra Leone where he challenges students to think about the toughest problems in their communities and to come up with solutions. Kelvin’s team applied to build and FM radio station for community empowerment. Now, Kelvin DJs every day and people listen to his radio station religiously! They text the show and he reads the texts. It’s very inspirational
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