WoeLab empowers young innovators in Togo

By : Melchior Koba

Date : lundi, 06 novembre 2023 16:23

Woelab is a visionary organization at the heart of African innovation. Under the leadership of Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, the center has quickly emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of technology and as a support for young innovators.

Established in August 2012, WoeLab serves as a technology hub that fosters, trains, incubates, and accelerates startup initiatives across Africa. Situated in Lomé, Togo, and launched as a component of the HubCité initiative by the L'Africaine d'architecture platform, this fabrication laboratory was founded by Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou (photo, left), a young independent researcher, architect, and anthropologist from Togo.

Beyond being just a laboratory, WoeLab serves as an inclusive, collaborative space for fostering creativity, an incubator for startups, and an informal training ground. Within its premises, about thirty young individuals craft an array of devices using components gathered from trash cans. One of WoeLab's most remarkable achievements is the W.Afate 3D Printer, Africa's first 100% recycled open-source 3D printer. Several units of that 3D printer have already been sold.

The laboratory provides free support for the center's artisans in their technological projects and introduces them to digital manufacturing. Additionally, it hosts educational initiatives for youth, including the "3DprintAfrica Educative" program, which aims to educate them on designing systems compatible with 3D printers and creating practical objects for their surroundings.

WoeLab positions itself as a realm of "technological democracy," where everyone can innovate and contribute to the advancement of human knowledge while honoring the environment and local culture.

The diversity of its programs is also a major asset for young people. It has developed projects solving a number of urban problems, such as waste management (SCoPE), food and energy resources (Urbanattic), and digital currency (Sys'Woe).

The fablab was noticed by NASA in 2013 and finished in the top 30 (out of over 700 projects worldwide) of finalists in the "Special Challenge" organized each year by the US space agency. It boasts 1,300 m² of coworking space and has already trained over 500 fellows. The center is home to 12 start-ups and has organized 200 free public events. It is supported by 30 active partners worldwide

Melchior Koba


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