Afrigadget: Solving everyday problems with African ingenuity.


Bottle Opener

It’s amazing to see how people can make incredible improvements to everything around them often with very limited resources.  One blog that consistently appeals to people (especially other engineers) because of this is Afrigadget.  This blog highlights innovations in rural African communities, both by local people and outside inventors.  These innovations are often surprisingly simple but always technical, and never fail to impress.  Engineers of all types and from all locations can learn from the simplicity and creativity highlighted in this blog.

Some of my Favorites

A shopkeeper has recycled old sandals to hang the door to his shop.  This creates a sturdy mount that is hinged and spring-loaded by the flexible footwear to ensure the front door closes behind his customers.

Children have developed a method for making soccer balls out of plastic bags and other trash.  Not only does this facilitate an entertaining and healthy activity but it helps to clean up and recycle trash, highlighting the effectiveness of non-traditional forms of recycling.  Every little bit helps, even on a small scale like this.

This post’s story is my all time favorite for it’s relative simplicity and incredible potential.  Getting fresh water to remote communities is a tremendous problem all over the world.  So, someone developed an affordable water tank and put the pump inside a children’s merry-go-round.  Here’s a link to the international organization, Play Pumps.

These stories remind us of the effectiveness often achieved through simplicity and remind us of the good that can be accomplished when creative minds are applied to the right problems.  This blog was featured in Time’s “50 Best Websites 2008.”

Do you follow or author any blogs that would be interesting or useful to engineers and designers in manufacturing?  Share them in the comments below.  Contact me if you’d like me to review yours (

Category: Blogs, Interesting Stuff

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