This summer I am interning with an organization known as AISE-Twende, an innovation center in Arusha, Tanzania. I spent the first week becoming familiar with AISE-Twende, their current ongoing projects, and the resources available. Twende is an exciting place with a lot of passionate, resourceful people. My job is to come up with an electrical project that I can teach people how to build. I did a lot of research online for simple do-it-yourself projects, and found a tutorial on how to make a solar USB charger.
My boss, Debbie, told me about the location of a small electronics store in town that sold resistors and capacitors, and even microcontrollers. I went over to investigate what they had, and discovered that there were no .1µF capacitors, or even anything close. This is the problem that many people face in Africa… not lack of ideas, but lack of supplies and resources to make them happen.
In addition to looking up potential projects, I talked to some of Debbie’s friends from electrical and computer related fields. I met someone from Arusha Technical College, who agreed to help source some of the components I need for the summer. I’ve also been looking into places where Twende can order more resources from China and Dubai for longer term ventures. I got my hands on some old electrical junk to take apart, which will likely have some useful pieces that I can use to create a Frankenstein circuit from old parts. I think that there should be more recycling of electronic waste, there are so many useful pieces that end up in the landfill that could be used in new circuits and pieces. Teaching people how to salvage pieces from old junk might make for a good workshop as well.
(left to right) Ad, Brandon and Tristan hard at work at Twende