You may have been wondering, “What has Prikkle Academy makerspace been up to during during coronavirus pandemic?” This article will give you the answers.

The world has been hit in all directions by the deadly Covid-19 virus.

It stopped businesses, events were cancelled, religious centres were shut down and people got stuck in homes, towns, cities and countries.

In Nigeria, schools are locked and there is no date of resumption in view. Different interventions have been introduced, from the Government, International bodies, civil society organizations and individuals.

At Prikkle Academy, our makerspace is opened to everyone with a skill, an idea, talent and knowledge all year round.

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, we have put in place different programs to help in-school (and out-of-schools) students to keep learning while staying safe.

It all started here – our participants at the makerspace in Afon Community (Kwara State), made a short video in an indigenous language (Yoruba), about the importance of staying safe during the pandemic and to keep learning.

Some of the initiatives that we executed at the makerspace include:

Literacy and Numeracy Mini-Class at the Makerspace

Jamiu Balogun took our participants (8 to 15 years old) on topics in English and Mathematics.

In mathematics, they touched on understanding binary numbers and statistic. At the end of the lesson, they were able to collaborate, solving the topics by themselves.

They got additional exercises to work on at home with other children (to improve peer-to-peer-learning).

This proved to work well, as they weren’t under any pressure to ‘pass’, it was more about having fun learning and sharing the knowledge with others.

To find out the knowledge of the children in literacy – English Language – Jamiu asked one of the participants, “What part of speech is the word “fight”.

After a long pause she answered, “I don’t know”

He took his time to explain, using real-time examples, then he shared with them the parts of speech. He shared with them short texts to read that can improve fluency and comprehension.

Creative Projects And Prikkle Makerspace Online Contest

The mind can imagine, the heart can care and the hands must create. The participants had more time and space to collaborate and create projects that matter to them.

At the makerspace, we believe that everyone is born a maker and that with the right tools, community and people, anyone can create social solutions.

Any participant is free to choose the project they want to work on, we believe self-motivation is one of the ingredients to great success.

We offer them the tools and the mentoring that they need to start and finish their projects. A website to check out includes CoderDojo, HelloRuby and Instructables.

Some of the projects are:

Set of stools – made from cassia tree and nails: as social distancing is a must, there was a need to create more chairs, for all the participants to sit and work comfortably at the makerspace.

Participants at Prikkle Academy Academy Makerspace create projects
Wooden Stool, made from locally sourced materials and built by students without prior furniture experience

A picturesque artificial tree:

The tree was made out of metals, clay and plastic bottles. The participants used twenty-three (23) bottles for making the tree leaves, clay for the bark of the tree and the metals for the roots and base for strength and to stand by itself.

Participants at Prikkle Academy Academy Makerspace create projects
In the process of making the tree

Bags – made from traditional dresses (Ankara). Many homes have unused clothes in their home, what if we can turn, by repurposing, all these clothes into useful items?

Some of our participants at the makerspace like, Halimah and Sara worked on this project.

Participants at Prikkle Academy Academy Makerspace create projects
Sara, in the process of making a bag.
Participants at Prikkle Academy Academy Makerspace create projects
Project Completed: The final result of the bag

Bangles and caps:

New participants like Ashia and Waliu got excited by looking at with what others had created. They decided to start by creating beautiful hand bands and caps from ropes and cartons, respectively.

Participants creating projects from locally-sources materials
In the process of making hand bands from ropes
Participants creating caps from trash material
In the process of making caps from cartons and paper

ICT Mini-Sessions – Prikkle Academy Makerspace

The electricity in the community is unstable. Thankfully, we received a donation from the team to upgrade our solar system. Now, we can power more laptops, for some participants to start learning computer basics.

We received a donation of 1 Solar Battery and 1 Solar Panel.

In 6 weeks, we had a total nine (9) ICT sessions and they have been able to learn the basics – learning how to open, save and retrieve a new document, then moving gradually into working with tables in Microsoft word.

ICT Classes with Prikkle Academy Makerspace Participants
ICT mini-class with the participants

We shared with them research skills, starting with ‘how to find creative projects on youtube and other DIY website’.

‘What if they can share their projects with the world, right from the grassroots where they live?’

That’s what we did. Some of them signed up on Instructables and published their first project. Now, they can join the contest in the nearest future.

ICT Mini-class

As an organization, we learned from the coronavirus pandemic across the world and our participants have improved in many ways.

Some of the lessons are:

  • Don’t wait! Get prepared for the day of war and it should be done in the time of peace
  • Don’t stick to just one knowledge, learn several things that will help you solve 1 problem.
  • Collaboration is no longer a buzz word, it is essential to move faster towards success.
  • Failure isn’t permanent, it is only for a time as a lesson for something that doesn’t need to be repeated.

To share your skills with our participants, as a volunteer, please click here > I want to volunteer for Prikkle Academy.

The work we do to help the gifts of young people blossom from rural communities requires different resources. We need financial, technical, social, economic and environment support.

To donate and help us continue this work, please click here > I want to donate to Prikkle Academy

Written by Jamiu Balogun