2017 Fall Semester Newsletter.


Welcome back from the Christmas break. We, at the D:Lab want to wish you a very happy new year! Our very best for 2018!

We have a lot in store for you this semester including the following: the first ever blockchain hackathon in Ghana to explore supply chain solutions; initiatives in vertical farming, cosmopolitan farming for diversity and inclusion and other farming activities, some with Arduino-based technologies; a health kiosk for checking your vitals before going to the hospital; a Maker Skills sessions for design making which also serves to expose non-engineering students to the tools in the various engineering labs on campus to build cool things; a fellows program where students and faculty come to design-think & -make their ideas to implementation; a TV-like content generation platform which allows students to learn by teaching concepts to the camera; and many more. See some of our projects here


Learn more here

The following are some of our activities from last semester which will also give you a sense of how to engage with and support us in our work.

Ashesi D:Lab Content Series  led by Isatou Jallow

For the second part of the fall semester 2017 the content series program took a different approach.  We shifted from focusing heavily on physical audience to an online platform. This meant that the presenters made videos which were posted on the D:Lab YouTube channel.

This was aimed at engaging more with our online users, thus widen the horizon of D:Lab’s reach. We successfully held 3 presentations which included students from various year groups with different majors.  Some of the topics that students presented on were research reframing and card sorting. Moving on, we look forward to having more exciting presentations from students especially the freshmen upon successfully completing FDE 1. We will also explore the idea of allowing presenters to come with their own topics which might not necessarily be from the normal topics in FDE coursework. This will enhance the value of the presentation output.  

Ashesi D:Lab Opportunity Desk led by Zoe Tagboto & Yayra Azaglo

Last semester, D:Lab launched a new initiative, the D:Lab Opportunity Desk. The Opportunity Desk assembles the various outside-project opportunities that come to the D:Lab into a pipeline to enable the lab to provide guidance and support for students participating on those projects. In the past D:Lab students have worked with other students from Brown and Dartmouth university students as well as participate in global competitions. This year, there are projects such as the one on financial management tools with MIT D-Lab and many design-related competitions that the D:Lab student teams will need support with. For one of the Opportunity Desk Sessions, Abigail Oppong ’21 presented on the WEGE International Prize Competition at a short information session to inform the Ashesi community about WEGE and create a team to compete in the contest.

Ashesi Design Lab Fellows led by Yoofi Brown-Pobee

The D:Lab Fellows Program workshop ran every Wednesday from 2:40pm to 4:10pm in the Design Lab. This, the D:Lab has had six exciting workshops for its Fellows. In our first workshop, we hosted Comfort Appiah’s project Nouriture de la Maison as well as the D:Lab Farm Modelling team. Next, D:Lab Fellows Program Lead, Yoofi Brown-Pobee, spoke about what it means to be a D:Lab Fellow. Yoofi shared stories from his own experiences in the Fellows Program including the Burro Deep Dives and Ashesi Dartmouth Engineering Project he has lead and participated in at the D:Lab as well as the INCEDI conference he was invited to present at. In our final workshop for the half semester, the D:Lab had a workshop for its 6 New Fellows. Samuel Owusu-Acheaw ’21, Owusu-Banahene Osei ’21, Mathew Ndekudugu ’21, Rosemary Anku ’20, Theresa Chidembo ’20 and Pearl Abbam ’19 presented projects they are currently working on.

After the mid-semester, we had Samuel Owusu Acheaw ‘20, and Abbam ‘19. Samuel, with the help of the Ashesi Community, delve deeper into the minds of the marginalized in society to better understand their stories and line of thinking to effectively design solutions for them. He used persona creation to do this. Pearl had a database crash course designed for her to help her create a database to track and record the details of books and children who come to the community library she created. Our next workshop had Rosemary Mettle-Anku ‘20 work on a storyboard she had created for an event to improve the healthcare of children in Berekuso. We also had Theresa Chidembo ‘20 present to us the amazing and creative toys she made with recyclable material with her team. Finally, we had a “Co-designing the Fellows Workshop Session” where we, along with the fellows, took account of what worked well during the semester and what did not work well and created a requirement document for the workshop next semester. In this way we will improve the quality of D:Lab workshops going forward. Do check out our workshop’s next semester to experience what it entails.

D:Lab Maker Skills Session led by Fauziya Mudasir

Fall semester 2017, Maker Skills Session began with a trip down the new state-of-the-art engineering mechanical workshop to tour and get introduced to the new machines and tools we had at our disposal. Nicholas Tabi, the lab coordinator, showed us how the machines and tools worked. We had two freshmen leada session where they made a prototype of a heat and cold jacket for warm and cool temperatures. We printed some fun paraphernalia with the 3D-printers in the engineering lab. We ended the semester with recruiting interested students to work on building a health kiosk for checking vitals before seeing a doctor.

D:Lab Farm Modelling led by Derry Wanye and Nutifafa Amedior

We cleared almost an acre of the 2-acre land to be used for the various farm projects (about 5 individual projects). We have engaged CarryGo farms, a start-up vertical farming company, to guide us in setting up the structures for a 5000-bottle farming installation. They will also teach our students in developing and managing the growth matter used to cultivate the vegetables and spices. We are appealing to members of the Ashesi community, to help us in raising about a 1,000 of 1.5-litre or other bigger bottles towards our 5000-bottle installation. So participate in the challenge and win cool D:Lab prizes.

Of particular mention is the Tuungane Farm powered by the Ashesi D:Lab Farm Modelling Project. It is our great pleasure to congratulate Tuungane for winning ODIP support or their cosmopolitan farm project idea. We expect Tuungane to thrive as Purity Musau and Margaret Odero will be in the company of about 5 other farm project leads. We really believe that the Farm Modelling project will be an avenue that draws young people from various parts of the continent to agriculture – the lifeline of our existence!

D:Lab support for the Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE) and the Ashesi Venture Accelerator (AVA) led by Carol Armah and Winston Best-Ezeani

The Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE) and the Ashesi Venture Accelerator (AVA) need coaches to help the project teams and the ventures develop and test their concepts. FDE for instance uses about 30 coaches every year and these coaches need to be supported. AVA, which is still in development will also need experienced coaches. As a result, the D:Lab provides support to the FDE and AVA coaches and coaching leads to develop the process and program for coaching.

Thank you and looking forward to working with you.

View/Download some of the pictures taken during the sessions:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm64tkqf     https://flic.kr/s/aHsm8Bz8pU     https://flic.kr/s/aHsm64xch3    https://flic.kr/s/aHsm58vyQi  https://www.flickr.com/gp/ashesidlab/7U15Bz

We are excited about our progress this semester as we have a new team that is getting acquainted with the operations of the lab and are quickly making great strides. We are looking forward to the rest of the semester after the break.

On behalf of the D:Lab Work Study/Management Interns Team

  1. Isatou Jallow – Content Series
  2. Yoofi Brown-Pobee – Fellows Program and Hackathons
  3. Fauziya Mudasir – Maker Skills Sessions
  4. Yayra Azaglo – Blogging and Reporting & Farm Modelling
  5. Zoe Tagboto – Blogging and Reporting & Research
  6. Nutifafa Amedior – Farm Modelling
  7. Cynthia Muhonja – Hackathons
  8. Wayne Gakuo – Media
  9. Carol Armah – FDE and AVA Coaching Programs
  10. Winston Best-Ezeani – AVA Programs

Supervisor and D:Lab Founding Lead: Dr. Gordon Adomdza

Chief Maker: DK Osseo-Asare

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