Introducing Africa’s Best: Meet the 2014 Young Africans Committed to Excellence (YACE)

Alex Opoku June 26, 2014


2) David Moinina Sengeh

Age: 27
Nationality: Sierra Leonean
Education: Harvard University | MIT| PH.D Candidate, Biomechatronics
Current Title: President and Co-founder, Global Minimum Inc.
Presentation Topic: Youth and Innovation

David Moinina Sengeh, a civil war survivor, is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab. His research in the Biomechatronics Group focuses on the design of comfortable prosthetic sockets and wearable interfaces. This work is at the intersection of medical imaging, material science, human anatomy, computer-aided design, and manufacturing. David is on the Forbes “30 Under 30 in Technology” for 2013, a 2014 TED Fellow, on the Wired Smart List 2013, winner of the Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize, and has garnered other awards. He is the President and co-founder of the international NGO Global Minimum Inc. (GMin), whose main project is Innovate Challenges, the first-ever competition created to foster a culture of innovation among high-school students in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and South Africa. GMin was one of three winners out of 1,000 nominees for the Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Awards in 2013.


Sengeh experimenting with his prosthetic designs.

Face2Face Africa: What specific challenges, be they social, governmental, or logistical, has Gmin faced in attempting to harness the creativity and savvy of Africa’s youth?

David Sengeh: Many cultures expect to see youth but not to hear from them. They expect youth to complain perhaps of the status quo but not really do much about it. Our work in GMin is against that ideology as we enable youth to question things around them, take the initiative to develop solutions firsthand to challenges they face and speak up. Whether it is from youth themselves, their family, or formal learning institutions, it is hard to break that culture. However, it is important to show youth and others around them that the answers often are in front of their eyes once they decide to solve local challenges.

F2FA: What do you love most about Africa?

DS: I love that I am never a stranger in many African countries. Be it Guinea, Zambia, Kenya, or Namibia — the air feels fresh and I feel at home.

F2FA: What is your vision for Africa, and as a member of the next generation, what are you doing to ensure this vision becomes a reality?

DS: I can already see an Africa where today’s youth particularly are not satisfied with the status quo and thus they develop new businesses, create technologies that save the lives of their parents, and invest in the future of learning for their children. Locally developed solutions is one I invest in personally. The prosthetic research that I do is to provide comfortable sockets for people all around the world, and the work by GMin, which enables youth to be leaders who tinker and problem solve, are some things that keep me occupied as part of this mission.


Sengeh with his mentee Kelvin Doe, the 15-year-old Sierra Leonean who built a radio station from scrap materials

Join David and learn more about his story at the United Nations on Friday, July 25th. Click here to register.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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