Kelvin Doe is only 15-years-old, with no official schooling; however, when he saw the widespread lack of electrical power in his hometown, he created his own battery to power his household. He also saw that young people like himself in Sierra Leone needed a voice and a place to express themselves, so he named himself DJ Focus and created his own FM radio transmitter and started a radio station from his home. Only a few weeks after we heard about the four teenage girls from Lagos that created a urine-operated generator, we hear about another incredibly smart teen reverse-engineering old pieces of technology to build a generator from scratch that powers his radio transmitter – uhmazing.

Kelvin’s countryman, David Sengeh, a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT), gave Kelvin the opportunity of a lifetime by making it possible for him to be invited as a visiting practitioner (the youngest to date) at MIT’s International Development Program. For 3 weeks in September, Kelvin was exposed to a world that he has only ever dreamed off, but he handled it with the  same ease and curiosity as he did the old scraps of technology that he reversed-engineered. Kelvin and the girls from Lagos are making a strong statement about today’s Africa and the outlook that young people have about Africa’s future: it’s theirs and they’re facing it head-on. Watch Kelvin’s story below.



5 Replies to "Sierra Leone’s Teen Tech Genius"
gambit83 says:
November 22, 2012 at 4:45 am

Brilliant, this news feature should be, given more coverage, hopefully the Guardian, will expose this, and let the world know, there is true talent, outside the western world :)

Cokanutz says:
November 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Love it. Keep expelling the myth that Africans are of inferior intelligence

    Yoleine Tamari says:
    November 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    ‘Now, here a child with almost nothing, and yet, makes something out of scratch’ “Brilliant”!
    Not our typical brat here in the western world. Most of them don’t value nothing. “Except” the new Nike, the new ipod, you name it. Shallow, Vain, Sad.

    I cry like a child watching this. We have so much here. Yet wasted so much as well.
    I’ll be part donor as his new project for wind-mill.

    By the way,do any one know if there’s such project for Haiti??

Barbara KIperman says:
November 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Wonderful, positive story! Keep them coming!

Esther says:
December 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Aid is needed in Africa, but it is only a short term solution. We need to give the communities tools to develop themselves and education. Encouraging them to solve their own problems with whichever resources the may find is a great idea. Good work! And Kelvin is great.

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