In recent years, makerspaces have emerged as a powerful force for innovation and community building in cities worldwide. These shared workspaces provide access to tools, technology, and resources often out of reach for individuals and small organizations. They also serve as a hub for collaboration, experimentation, and skill-sharing.
But while the benefits of makerspaces are clear, they are not equally accessible to everyone. In many parts of the world, makerspaces are concentrated in urban areas and are often dominated by privileged groups. This creates a significant barrier for individuals and communities who need more resources or connections to access these spaces. The Africa Makerspace Network (AMN) is working to change this.
AMN is a network of makerspaces and innovation hubs across Africa committed to creating inclusive spaces for innovation, learning, and entrepreneurship. Their mission is to build a network of African makerspaces that are accessible and sustainable and connect them with the global maker movement. AMN was founded in 2019 by a group of makerspace leaders across the continent who participated in the first Africa Makerspace Gathering. Since then, it has grown to include more than 30 member spaces from 10 countries. These spaces range from small community-based workshops to large-scale innovation hubs.
One of the crucial goals of AMN is to provide support and resources for makerspaces in Africa. This includes sharing best practices, publishing magazines, connecting makerspaces to funding and mentorship opportunities, and providing training and capacity-building programs. AMN also advocates for policies and programs that promote the growth of makerspaces in Africa and increase access to these spaces for marginalized communities.
Another critical focus of AMN is to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing among makerspaces in Africa and worldwide. They organize regular events and workshops, both online and in-person, to bring makerspace leaders together and foster partnerships and collaborations. This helps to build a stronger community of makers and increase the impact of makerspaces across the continent. Through their work, AMN is helping build a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa. By creating accessible spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship, they empower individuals and communities to solve local challenges and create new opportunities. And by connecting makerspaces and the global maker movement, they are promoting cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.
As the world continues to grapple with complex social, economic, and environmental challenges, organizations like the African Makerspace Network are more crucial than ever. We at GIG believe we can build a more equitable and sustainable world for all by supporting and amplifying the voices of makers across Africa.