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African Entrerpreneur Making Wooden Outlet Strips

by Paul Strauss
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Here in the U.S. and in much of the Western world, we take many of the little things for granted. For instance, if you want a power strip, you just head down to your local Best Buy or other mega-chain store and buy one. But in some parts of the world, even relatively small stuff like that is out of the reach of many households and neighborhood businesses.

wooden_outlet_strip

While it’s an unusual concept, it’s not a surprise that one young entrepreneur in the Kiandutu slums of Kenya has decided to build his own power strips. Amos Njoroge really wanted to be a professional an electrical engineer, but lacked the resources to go to school and earn a degree. Instead, he decided to take his self-taught skills and set up a small assembly line where he churns out wooden power strips that he sells in his neighborhood. I love how he calls his tiny start-up “Gigantic Electronics.” Think big, Amos. Think, big.

Like me, your first reaction was probably that a wooden outlet strip is probably not the safest way to distribute electricity – especially in damp environments. But as long as it remains dry, wood is nearly as good of an insulator as plastic or ceramic, so I don’t think it’s dramatically more of a shock hazard. They are painting them with something in the video, so that might help seal out the moisture too. On the other hand, my scientific instincts tell me a wood outlet strip is way more of a fire risk than a plastic one, but that’s just me.

On the other hand, this self-taught skill and spirit of ingenuity is helping Njoroge and his co-workers make a living in one of the poorest parts of the world, while at the same time providing his community with a product that’s in demand. Hopefully, any fears about safety will be unwarranted, and Amos will continue to see success in his budding endeavor.

[via Afrigadget via Reddit]

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