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Precision Africa (COVID Mali) Update- September 2020

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Building responsive rather than reactive communities, providing the necessary tools and engineered solutions in our makerspace starting in Bamako, Mali.

Our consortium in our makerspace, Bamako

As we work towards a self-sustaining future for West Africa and in particular, Mali, we wanted to provide a few updates on our end. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mali has had an overwhelming political and security situation on their hands. On August 18, a group of mutinous soldiers captured and removed President Keita, the Prime Minister Maïga, and other members of his administration- including Keita's son, Karim. This removal came after years of scrutiny against Keita's administration against corruption and mismanagement of the ever-deteriorating security situation in central and northern Mali, with the continuous increase of terrorist threats in the region. Keita's downfall came after months of protests from Malians disgruntled with the lack of opportunities- particularly during the COVID era- which the country continues to face. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) acts as a mediation group to transition power established by the mutant soldiers into a new administration, but this establishment has yet to come. Now more than ever is a time to invest in Mali. Education, creation of jobs, engineering capabilities, and innovation are all preventive measures to reducing the spread of violence, terrorism, factionism, and insecurity. In the U.S., we are living in an unprecedented time as COVID-19 continues to change our everyday lives in so many ways. We must not forget that Mali too is facing extraordinary times. Our consortium of engineers and designers will not succumb to idleness or hopelessness in the face of adversity. Kabako Ventilator: Despite various obstacles, our group (and in particular Seck Dolo, Malik Kassogue, Bakary Coulibaly, and Hank DeBey) have managed to build and develop multiple versions of the Kabako Ventilator. This non-invasive, negative pressure ventilator is modeled off of a design from a research group in Perth, Australia. Hank continues to maintain contact with this group to learn best practices to apply to our ventilator. Last week, our team and RobotsMali representatives attended a meeting at the Centre Malien de Promotion de la Propriété Industrielle (CEMAPI) to discuss patent opportunities for this design. ORTM, the local radio station, was present and documented our work in this video. To understand more how negative pressure ventilators are already used in medical settings, read more about Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation.

COVID Mali is excited to announce that we will officially change our name to "Precision Africa" (Précision Africa). As we continue to grow our team and begin the incorporation process, we realize that our efforts extend past the COVID-19 pandemic and short-term crises. We move forward in our efforts to strengthen resilient communities rather than reactive ones. By rebranding ourselves, Precision Africa will become more accessible and available to those in need and in pursuit of machine shop tools and services. As we work to make engineered solutions and makerspaces more accessible in West Africa, Precision Africa is devoted to pioneering and shaping these goals starting with Mali.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

Finally, we must acknowledge our gratitude to you all and everyone who has supported Precision Africa. Last week, we shipped over $1,000 worth of supplies with a friend and colleague, Tapo, who is affiliated with our partner RobotsMali. We would have not been able to procure and send these items, including a new 3D Ender Creality Printer, a WiFi router, electronic parts, 3D-printing filament, and many other makerspace tools, without your help. After much time and thoughtful consideration, these items were purchased based on the most pressing needs and priorities in our atelier (workshop). Take a look for yourself to see what other items are on this list. Precision Africa is so excited to increase our 3D printing capacity, connectivity stability, and other engineering capabilities with all the parts which you have helped us receive.

We also want to give a huge shoutout to RobotsMali for helping with the logistics of this shipment as well as PharmaWorks for donating 500 acrylic sheets and 500 face shields. These items are expected to reach Bamako in late October or early November.

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