A Fab Lab in Burkina Faso?

Humanitarians form our own community. We eat together, talk together, drink (sometimes entirely too much) together. As in any community, there are hierarchies. Part of the hierarchy is traditional – do you work for a prestigious organisation? How many people do you manage? Do you have a big budget? But in addition, there is a humanitarian-specific hierarchy related to the difficulty of a posting. South Sudan is high on this list– not only are you supporting vast numbers of displaced people, but you are doing so without electricity, running water, internet. Jordan is comparatively easier – the caseload is huge, but you go home to a hot shower and Facebook. Greece – easier still. After all, it’s in Europe.

Tdh implemented a FabLab in Greece. It was successful. Terrific. But how robust is the concept when you try to apply it to countries that are higher up on the hierarchy? Will it survive lack of infrastructure? Will people come if they are not literate? Will it be useful to youth who have nothing?

The second phase of Tdh’s pilot is to implement a humanitarian FabLab at an artisanal gold mine in Burkina Faso. This context rates pretty high on the humanitarian hierarchy. Infrastructure is poor, and while there isn’t any conflict, people who work in artisanal gold mines are constantly moving as multinationals buy up concessions, close artisanal sites and start formally exploiting mines.

Continue reading A Fab Lab in Burkina Faso?