Science Camp - The Iraqi Maker Space

By Aymen Salman, for The Station. Re-published with permission by Iraq Business News.

As the impact of the health and economic crisis ravages, the world start-ups are trying to overcome the economic difficulties they face; these projects face an existential threat that has damaged many companies around the world.

Despite the pessimistic circumstances, we can find many start-ups trying to adapt to the new reality by opening up to new activities or providing new services.

One of those projects is Science Camp (The Iraqi Maker Space), which is the Iraqi version of the Global Maker Movement. The maker space is a space and community of "makers" that provides an optimum environment for tech-innovation and entrepreneurship.

Science Camp was founded in 2013 by Nawres Arif in Basra, to recreate Iraqi society from technological, economic and cultural aspects. Science Camp's community consists of innovators working in different fields.

The infrastructure and the friendly maker culture has made Science Camp, a unique space for innovators and "out of the box thinkers" to share new ideas freely and test it practically. It's the first and only Iraqi Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) 1 on the global Fab Labs map. Since the first wave of COVID-19 that hit Iraq, the Science Camp team started to think of how to use their makerspace to support the Iraqi health sector by keeping up with the needs of those at the frontline.

This assistance has come in the form of producing, designing, testing, and distributing more than 10,000 face shields freely for medical staff in Basra and other 6 cities in Iraq. They have also supported locals making more than 17,000 face shields in Tikrit in collaboration with Tikrit University. They have also shared their designs with 6 countries until now.

In addition, the team at Science Camp in an attempt to maintain jobs in the local private sector (particularly local water factories), Science Camp has successfully 3D-printed spare parts to be used in the local water factories as a replacement for the imported parts, which are unavailable because of supply chain difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. In the meantime, they are reverse engineering those parts and using the maker movement's digital fabrication & 3D printing.

Science Camp has given everyone a great example of how to adapt to quick changes, and how to turn obstacles into opportunities. With their efforts and ambition, they definitely will play a tremendous role in empowering the youth of Basra.

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