Co-leads Dr. Yasmine Abbas, Director of Pan Urban Intelligence, and DK Osseo-Asare, Principal of Low Design Office, received a Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge Award for the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, “in support of the design, testing and implementation of a physical and digital platform that would enable young e-waste workers in Ghana to collaboratively create tools to transform e-waste materials and recyclable goods into products that could be sold for higher value.”
Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) is a collaborative project to upgrade the quality of life and environment at Agbogbloshie, the largest e-waste processing site in Ghana and the “worst polluted” place on Earth for 2013, according to Green Cross Switzerland and the Blacksmith Institute.
AMP contends that (domains of) architecture and electronics have converged. At such a moment — if we can make open, democratic and collective the capability of manipulating materials from the level of chemistry up, by means of digital technology — we can move beyond the notion of “e-waste”. Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE or 3E), old or new, constitute a vital stream of raw material for the global production chain. In particular, while there is fundamental overlap with the elemental “stuff” of digital space, it is equally important to note that the majority of EEE materials are generally recyclable such as plastics, steel, aluminum, copper, or other specialized or high-value materials.
The project seeks to create an alternate convention that links Agbogbloshie’s e-waste, scrap & recycling industry with the technical know-how and social entrepreneurial framework to itself remake the landscape, over time. The approach is to design and build locally a knowledge database and set of tools for e-waste processing and digital fabrication. The intention is to empower informal sector e-waste workers and their peer groups to rehabilitate the environment of Agbogbloshie and to help green the community’s current recycling practices. The short-term goal is to design and build a makerspace for the hyper-local context of Agbogbloshie, together with an open-source technology platform to support its operation. The long-term goal is to transform Agbogbloshie’s e-waste and scrap industry into a network for more advanced materials processing and small-scale distributed manufacturing.
Participants in AMP work collectively to make & gain exposure to new horizons of digital fabrication, with potential for contributing to youth employment and advancement of Ghana’s maker community. To develop AMP, makers conduct a series of maker workshops (qamp or “camps”), ranging from design research to fieldwork, community outreach and workshops with stakeholders for e-waste dismantling, materials processing and prototyping solutions.
Refer to the project website for more information: Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform