Teen Innovator from Sierra Leone Wows MIT

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DJ Kelvin Doe of Sierra Leone (Paula Aguilera, MIT Media Lab)

How do you get from a culture that depends on aid to a culture that promotes innovation? The story of Kelvin Doe, a 16-year-old from the West African nation of Sierra Leone, offers hope.

Kelvin Doe and his family do not have access to many of the things that we take for granted, including a regular supply of electricity, but that did not stop him from discovering a way to create his own batteries, his own generator, and eventually his own community FM radio station made from equipment he created himself out of old electronic parts that he found in the trash.

In September, Doe traveled to the United States to participate in MIT’s Visiting Practitioners ProgramThe Takeaway talks with David Sengeh, a PhD student at MIT who arranged Doe's trip. Doe was a finalist in a contest Sengeh created to encourage young people in his native Sierra Leone to become innovators.

David Sengeh is currently raising money to encourage technological innovation in his home country of Sierra Leone.


David Sengeh

Produced by:

Elizabeth Ross

Comments [3]


I just wanted to say I think it's a great idea to encourage people to solve the problems that they have in their own communities. I think it's great that you are trying to motivate more kids to learn and help eachother. I wish all of the best and success to you both and your projects!!!

Dec. 13 2012 08:33 PM
vessel from detroit

great work David. SOOOOO inspiring. God bless you for initiating this work. Kelvin is an awesome young man and there are more where he comes from in Sierra Leone and the the continent in general. I would say that for american youth, and in my work with African American youth in general, the first step is to engage them consistently in conversations about innovation, technology and ask them questions about "what they would do if....". This can begin shifting their mindset from rampant consumerism to becoming creators and innovators. Keep up the good work, I hope to make a donation soon!

Dec. 12 2012 04:21 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Innovation comes from a desire to create what the imagination dreams up.

Dec. 12 2012 01:29 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.