In Ghana, a makerspace in a garbage dump

 The Agbogbloshie garbage dump, in the suburbs of Accra in Ghana. © Marlenenapoli CC0

Agbogbloshie is a suburb of Accra, the capital of Ghana, infamous throughout the world for its huge garbage dump—the biggest in West Africa. In the middle of hills of plastic, electronic waste, mechanical carcasses and all kinds of objects, a true community life is organizing itself. Families living in the dump work there: women, men and children spend their days sorting plastic items by color, brand, transporting materials on rickshaws, searching with bare hands for the rare gem. Companies order from the few people in charge; salvage and wild sorting create employment. Behind the huge rubbish field hides a real business, where everything is negotiated and where the slightest residue has some value.

In order to accompany the structuring of this particularly precarious district, a makerspace is seeing the light of day right in the middle of the dump. We were able to come close to the blue container, open on all sides, where one is beginning to imagine projects to improve the life conditions of the families of Agbogbloshie, that will also allow to create added value from rubbish. For the moment, several pieces of furniture are being assembled, from barrels, tinkered drawers. Upcycling against a backdrop of a garbage dump. On the initiative of the makerspace, a Ghanaian architect and several people in charge of collection within the dump, who know very well all the young who work there, help out.

This project benefits from support from the American Rockefeller foundation, that has since 2013, in partnership with the World bank, granted 3.8 million dollars (3.5 million euros) to the Ghanaian government for the development of projects in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. The donation of the Rockefeller foundation follows on from the EGhana project, that received 5 million dollars (4.6 million euros) from the World bank.

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