Meet the new data science leaders of Africa: Zindi ambassadors are ready to change the world
Zindi ambassadors are the fuel to our community, they help spread data science and Zindi to their communities in universities, community groups, and workplaces all over Africa. We have recently grown our ambassador program to more than 120 ambassadors from 20 African countries.
“My role as a Zindi country ambassador in Nigeria has really impacted my life, says Gideon George. “I have attended a lot of events that have helped me grow in my career, and I am proud of the community I have created.”
This week, we caught up with Oswald Ngendakumana, Joan Kabura, Dianah Nimusiima and Justin Hankem, four new ambassadors who are filled with passion and ready to grow their data science communities with Zindi.
Joan Kabura, Kenya
Joan Kabura refers to herself as a student of life; a daughter, sister and aunt. She was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.
“I quickly realised that I was not going to be a doctor as those around me envisioned, having tinkered with electronics as a child, I knew I wanted to be in the technology space.”
Her passion for machine learning and AI motivated her to apply to be a Zindi ambassador. She was fascinated by how Zindi helped her grow as an individual. This was her motivation to spread the Zindi gospel.
She has a lot planned for her community at the Nyeri-based university.
“I plan to create awareness of the Zindi platform, create a space for those not inclined to coding, and introduce them to tools that are not coding-intense like PowerBI. I also want to introduce computer vision sessions for deep learning.”
Joan sees a lot of potential in the future of AI in Africa and forecasts explosive growth in this field.
“We interact with Siri, Alexa, and Zuri on our phones, and all these are forms of AI. It’s not a question of when AI will arrive in Africa, but a question of how far it will go.”
The larger Zindi community has helped her grow as a data scientist, and she hopes that this community will help change many lives through her ambassador work.
“I envision Zindi as being a hub where companies and students looking to learn meet and engage. I see it as a tool for bridging the gap between the market and school.”
Justin Hankem, Togo
Meet Hankem Youmbi Justin from Lomé, Togo, an Electrical Engineer, specialising in robotics and AI. Hankem is also an entrepreneur and an MBA residency at an incubation Energy Generation where he is developing an agriculture project agri-future.io, a hi-tech startup that is developing drone and artificial intelligence solutions to shift Africa from traditional agriculture to precision agriculture. In addition, he is a project manager at the Digital School of the TIDD community (Technologies and Innovations for Sustainable Development) where they offer training in artificial intelligence, robotics and embedded systems.
He is passionate about data science and likes to share his knowledge.
“I have a lot planned for the Zindi community in Togo, including face-to-face training seminars.”
AI in Africa is still underdeveloped, and Hansem believes that will change as governments are adopting data policies and with many young people learning data science online, through the Zindi platform coursework.
“I foresee growth in AI and ML in Africa, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Togo in particular. Artificial intelligence is still very underdeveloped here, compared to the rest of the world. Great efforts still need to be made in Togo, especially with the inclusion of digital transformation and the digital economy in its 2020–2025 roadmap.”
Dianah Nimusiima, Uganda
Dianah Nimusiima is a student at Bishop Stuart University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Computer Studies. She is passionate about data science and community transformation through technology. She was motivated to become a Zindi ambassador to help her gain more knowledge about data science and share the acquired knowledge with her community.
“I believe that this amazing Zindi community will help me grow and also in turn help my community. I have seen many people grow at Zindi, and I believe I will be one of them.”
She believes AI will help in shaping humanity for greater innovation, especially in Africa where AI is not very developed.
Oswald Ngendakumana, Burundi
Meet Oswald Ngendakumana from Burundi, a data scientist who sees himself as one of the new generation of Africans who are well-versed in next-generation technology.
“ I believe that data science is what will solve the many issues we have in Africa. But to achieve this dream, there is a growing need for data skills and literacy.”
As Zindi’s first ambassador in Burundi, Oswald has big plans for the data science community in the small country.
“ As a Zindi ambassador, I will make sure I connect with other young Burundians to share knowledge and create events where we can interact with experts. I look forward to Zindi being a more interactive platform, where all Africans can meet more often and exchange ideas.”