Call for Summer Internships

Are you interested in technology? Do you like making things? Does environmental pollution bother you? Have you ever imagined the future as something awesome?

Are you a student or recent graduate in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, planning, architecture and design, or environment and natural resources?

Apply today to be a part of this year’s AMP QAMP, a three-week camp for young makers in Accra.

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Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) is a collaborative project to upgrade the quality of life and environment at Agbogbloshie, the largest e-waste ecosystem in Ghana. AMP is an experiment in design innovation and youth-led M&D (makers & development). 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 rehabilitate the environment of Agbogbloshie and to help green the community’s current recycling practices. We believe this can happen through the site’s transformation into a network for more advanced materials processing and small-scale distributed manufacturing. AMP as a open-source project seeks to create an alternate convention that partners e-waste, scrap and recycling industry with the technical know-how and social entrepreneurial framework to remake the landscape themselves, over time.

AMP contends that (domains of) architecture and electronics have converged. At such a moment—if we capitalize on this opportunity to 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. Not only are such 3E-materials in reality the physical building blocks of electronic landscapes and digital space, but many are also recyclable, i.e. plastics, steel, aluminium, copper, glass or other valuable materials. If successful, AMP will amplify the economic potential of Agbogbloshie and Ghana’s makers.

AMP QAMP is a series of informal maker “camps” to build the future of Agbogbloshie. The primary session of QAMP for 2014 runs from the 1st to the 20th of July in Accra, Ghana.

Participants will work collaboratively as part the AMP makers collective to address key aspects of building an ecology of makers in and around the Agbogbloshie e-waste stream, from the ground up. We are interested in young people who are proactive, intellectually curious, open-minded, imaginative, detail-oriented and able to work in teams.

If interested, please submit a cover letter to qampnet@gmail.com by June 30th including the following information: Area of Specialization / Course of Study (year of graduation); Digital Media and Graphics Software (with level of proficiency); CAD/CAM and 3D Modeling Software (with level of proficiency); Programming Languages (with level of proficiency); and Fabrication Experience (sewing, cabinetry, furniture-making, jewellery, glass-blowing, welding, circuit board etching, breadboarding, etc.) Short-listed candidates will be scheduled for in-person interviews starting the week of June 23, 2014.

Archibots: Re-making Agbogbloshie (intro session)

The first session of the Archibots workshop came off as scheduled on the May 30th 2014. The event was well attended by people from various disciplinary backgrounds. There were engineers, architects, CAD technicians, business men & women and lecturers as well as from various nationalities, such as Spain and the Netherlands. This was the introductory session for Archibots, a design workshop to prototype architecture robots for Agbogbloshie.  As part of the event, all three collaborating organizations (tap, AMP and MESH) made presentations on what they do. AMP co-lead DK Osseo-Asare, introduced participants to Agbogbloshie E-waste circuitry, which is the context for the architecture robots to be designed and the key design concepts as far as AMP is concerned. Some of the videos that were selected to provide inspiration for participants can be found here . The team is eagerly awaiting the next phase which is the design session scheduled for June 7th 2014 at Hub Accra. This promises to be just as exciting as the May 30th event. Thanks to our friend and ally, media partners MESH Ghana for compiling footage of the event, which can be found at Archibots: Remaking Agbogbloshie.

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STEAM workshop

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For the past few months, the AMP team has engaged e-waste workers within Agbogbloshie. This time, on Saturday the 26th of April, the team organized its latest workshop intended to initiate the conversation with the STEAM world, who form a critical part of the AMP platform. Eventually, these professionals will come together with the e-waste workers and makers in Agbogbloshie to form the AMP makers collective. The knowledge that these professionals bring to the Agbogbloshie site will be useful for achieving AMP targets such as empowering makers to handle e-waste according to best practices and enabling makers to upcycle e-waste into value-added products.

The agenda was to:

  • Introduce AMP to the STEAM world, and invite them to apply for summer internships.
  • Engage students in hands-on projects that involved building a paper spectroscope, dis-assembly of a microwave oven, a printer and a fan.

The workshop took place at the lower lecture hall of the Physics department in the University of Ghana, Legon. Students from the host physics department, as well as chemistry, computer science and psychology students attended. There were also students from the architecture department of the Central University College. In all, there were 50 participants.

The workshop started with an introduction of the AMP team, followed by an interactive session, during which members of the AMP team engaged in conversation with the students.

After the interaction and lecture, participants were divided into four groups and made to work on the various projects. Each team documented the brand, the year of manufacture, and all other information they considered relevant. They were required to state to the best of their knowledge, which components were in the equipment and to what other uses these could be put.

We discovered that students from the physics department in particular had a fundamental awareness of the nature and uses of parts, as well as how these contributed to the total functioning of the equipment. After this session each team presented its findings to the larger group of participants.

Upon the completion of the workshop, participants by way of evaluation, passed on comments such as:

The program was insightful and inspirational. I am very happy I came and met other brilliant students and how they agitated minds to think critically. A great experience that will stay with me a long time.

A successful workshop in my opinion. I learned a lot and I am happy to know that such great ideas are being implemented. As I leave, my mind is racing through ways I can contribute to this positive revolution.

See photos on Flickr : STEAM Photos

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Spectrascope test model
Spectrascope test model

 

AMP workshop – dis-assembly of a refrigerator

Refrigerators are among the most dismantled electronic equipment in Agbogbloshie if not the most dismantled. This is evidenced by the large numbers of the post-dis-assembly debris found all over the Agbogbloshie landscape. Data from Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS), Government of Ghana, on the import of EEE (all products) was obtained for the period 2006 to 2009. The records indicate that for the 4-year period, a total of 3,763,100 units of EEE were imported and refrigerators recorded the highest in 2009. They are used especially for the purposes of storing personal belongings and tools (see photos).

On the 5th of April 2014, the AMP team was onsite at Agbogbloshie for a refrigerator dismantling workshop. This workshop was a critical first, in a series of e-waste worker centered workshops that would be held in Agbogbloshie. The main purpose of these is to gain a deeper understanding of the process involved in the dis-assembly at Agbogbloshie, the tools involved, material components of equipment, and their prices at Agbogbloshie. Quite apart from this, they would enable us tailor the EEE manual, to suit the information needs of the e-waste workers and maker community in Agbogbloshie as well as interested STEAM workers.

The day before the workshop, Emmanuel, our design associate, aided by Mohammed, an e-waste worker, purchased a refrigerator.

The workshop was held in a space owned by Rauf. This was because, the team realized, it was going to be a more efficient use of its time to have it here, where there is already some degree of shelter, rather that erect a new one on the AMP site. In Agbogbloshie, the harsh noon day solar conditions, can make the high levels of pollution feel considerably worse. Hence the initial decision to build a new temporary shelter.

Zack (an e-waste worker) started by taking apart the doors, then the compressor, fan and all other components in the lower recesses of the fridge. Following this, he detached the outermost body, which is made out of steel. After these, he proceeded to remove the evaporator fan, evaporator coils and other components in the freezer section (See image Workshop photos). Now all that was left was a large open chest, comprised essentially of polyurethane foam (which he proceeded to remove next) and the plastic inner lining of the refrigerator. In the final stage, the doors were dismantled, by unscrewing and detaching their inner plastic components from the steel outer casing. All the dismantled parts were then photographed (see Parts of a refrigerator).

Subsequently, Andrew (from Afrimakers) made a video, in which Zack shared his knowledge in the local dialect (Dagomba) and English, on the dismantling process. This would be the first of many such local dialect explanatory videos.

Here a few discoveries that were made

  1. The  process of dismantling refrigerators in Agbogbloshie is not directed towards potential reuse of parts. Thus far, the orientation is towards breaking it all down to its basic material for smelting. Hence very little care is taken in the process:
  2. The items were weighed and the prices were as follows
  • Steel: 61 kilograms (Equivalent to 18 GHC)
  • Copper: 4 pounds  (Equivalent to 24 GHC)
  • Aluminium : 5 pounds (Equivalent to 5 GHC)
  • Timer: 3-5 GHC
  1. The fridge was bought for 100GH cedis, twice more than the price of its dismantled parts.
  2. During the opening/dismantling of the compressor, Zack inhaled without bother, the freezer gas that was emitted. This gas is non-toxic to human beings however inhaling directly could be dangerous and could settle in the lungs and cause adverse effects.

The day ended with a barbeque on the AMP site (see AMP barbecue). In line with the dictates of Islam, the goat was prayed over and slaughtered by an Imam at the market and transported to the site, where some e-waste workers (2 in number, supported by several others-about 6 others) aided in its preparation. When it was all done, a number of the e-waste workers came over for the feast and this helped the team bond with a number of them.

 

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