Malawi Data Science Bootcamp 2021 concluded with 2 successful weeks. It was the first of its kind in Malawi: For a whole week, regional experts, young talents and international guests met around the subject of Data Science.
In the lead-up to the Data Science Bootcamp, a week of tutorials in Python and Data Science took place, the Python Week of Code.
This website is now archived: You can find all the original contents, and we have added a recap of the event, which you can read below ⬇️.
Organizers: Look-back at 2021
The organizing team is proud to have conducted a successful event and very thankful to all the facilitators that came out to make this happen through two weeks of intense activity. Both events had greater participation demand than seats available, and we want to thank everyone who sent in a registration.
Week 1: Python Week of Code had 74 registrations and we were able to finally fit 49 participants. 3 people were teaching, and an additional 2 people helped to coach.
Week 2: Malawi Data Science Bootcamp had exactly 100 registrations and we were able to finally fit 55 participants, with 10 facilitators splitting the 5 days.
Scroll further down for photos from both weeks
Big support for another event
We did a post-evaluation with the Week 2 participants and the responses were overwhelming. 100% of respondents said that the contents had been relevant to their professional work, and 97% said that that the bootcamp either met their expectations with 3% “maybe”. We did see that the hybrid format with some remote facilitators had a negative impact on the engagement and interaction, with at least 16% of participants lacking participation to some degree. We want to thank everyone who responded, as there were a lot of great inputs that we will take with us for future events.
Continue engaging participants for sustainability
I am thinking that for this event to be vibrant I think there is a need to increase the intake.
Yes we should meet regularly
We should meet every year and reguraly to improve our network
Days should be increased to at least a month
this should be a routine at least three or four times per year
You may consider including projects that participants (i.e. in groups) can continue working on after the training. These should be projects that may even lead to publications.
Adjust the period for the bootcamp as it has shown that the one week is not enough
is there any possibility of having it annually?
Next time it should be two to four weeks
Make more of these. As a country, Malawi needs a network of such talented individuals interacting towards common goals.
During both events, all participants were given access to a common chat platform, a self-hosted Matrix instance. This worked quite well, a total of 71 participants signed up. Because the platform was new to most, people had to spend some time becoming familiar and in some cases also fetching an Android client. A self-hosted platform gave us free hands to safely share photos and exercises, but in the future we should seek to capitalize more on having our own instance. The Matrix instance is still up and running, such that participants can continue to network (please feel free!) and for future events to continue.
The COVID pandemic put a considerable strain on organizing. We moved our dates several times and had many discussions related to restrictions of travel which was preventing abroad participation, both for facilitators and participants. COVID regretfully became the direct reason for 4 facilitators' cancellations, 3 of which would have traveled from abroad. Although we see that the engagement took a hit from the fatigue of perhaps 1-2 too many remote lectures, we also gained valuable experience from the setup and feel optimistic that it can be made use of in the future.
The venue worked very well and was temporarily equipped with extra broadband. Participants and facilitators were able to engage during breaks and the end of the event featured a social dinner, which most chose to attend. We were very happy to see the energy to gather and share beyond the scheduled lectures and tutorials.
We organized this event through 37+ online meetings. The meetings coordinated structure, program, grant proposals, budgets, communication, website and more. We had a great experience through these meetings, many of which occurred in a fixed weekly series. In a future scenario, we could expect to repeat this.
A digital infrastructure was also setup in order to manage registration and mass-communication with participants. During this, we had a lot of problems with emailing: Firstly, our email host (a paid service) refused to let us send out emails to 40+ people simultaneously and suspended our account. We then tried other providers but faced a similar series of odd verification processes that halted our efforts. Finally, we decided to setup our own (free) SMTP instance and a self-made form for emailing participants with information leading up to the event. This whole setup remains intact for a future event.
We have learned much from this and are eager to repeat our experiences and share with others. If you are interested in participating in a future organizing group, you are most welcome to write us firstname.lastname@example.org describing your motivation and previous experiences in event organizing or data science.
Photos: Week 1
Photos: Week 2
When and where
- Week 1: October 18-22 Python Week of Code - Program »
- Week 2: October 25-29 Data Science Bootcamp - Program »
Events will take place at Mzuzu University’s new Open Distance Learning facility in Lilongwe, Malawi. Accommodation will be offered in the nearby surroundings, making it a comfortable, fun and productive stay for everyone involved.
📢 January 20th 2022 - Website archived, next event? 📢
This website is now archived. At the top of this front page is a statement from the organizers, look both backwards at 2021 and forwards to its successor.
📢 November 5th 2021 - A successful Bootcamp 📢
We wish to thank everyone involved in making this a successful and memorable event. The organizing team is gathering feedback from all participants and facilitators. You may find moments of the two weeks captured on our Twitter account and we hope that everyone involved will wish to continue to stay in touch on our social platforms - any reflections are also most welcome to be shared with us on email@example.com
We will return with a report-back and a to share a vision for more Data Science and Python community events in Malawi.
📢 October 11th 2021 - Program taking shape 📢
We have started to add entries to the programs. Please see the two menu items above in the main menu 🆙
📢 October 9th 2021 - Updates from organizers 📢
We have had a number of small online meetings with facilitators, and a final program for the whole event is almost ready.
And just 9 days left now before Python Week of Code kicks off! We are very excited! If you are experienced with Python and interested in assisting us, please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
📢 August 24th 2021 - Python Week of Code program 📢
The headlines of the program for the Python Week of Code have been decided and are announced further down and in our Call for Partipation. Everything is well underway. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
📢 July 30th 2021 - Registration (Week 1) for Python Week of Code OPEN 📢
We are happy to announce that the registration for Python Week of Code is open, following the conclusion of the registration for Week 2.
📢 June 30th 2021 - Registrations (Week 2) are closed 📢
In the coming weeks, we are sending out responses to everyone who have registered. We have received just over 100 registrations. Thanks to everyone for your support!
📢 June 11th 2021 - Adjustment in registration process 📢
Registration will close on June 30th. We have already received many requests, big thanks to everyone for this support. Once all requests are processed, we will send out invitations to apply for scholarship. We expect this to be around mid-July.
People who have already registered will receive a confirmation by email within the next week.
📢 May 10th 2021 - Today, registrations have opened 📢
📢 May 9th 2021 - Facilitators for Week 2 have been announced 📢
To stay updated, follow us on Twitter: @mwdatabootcamp
Akuzike Banda is an Assistant Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Malawi. Her area of expertise is Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Currently she is finalizing a Master of Science in Bioinformatics with Kamuzu University for Health Sciences (KUHES). Her research study …Read more »
Amelia Taylor (PhD) is a lecturer in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) – former University of Malawi, The Polytechnic. She teaches Artificial Intelligence, Computational Intelligence and programming modules. In addition, she teaches and supervises MSc …Read more »
Jessica is a mathematician, coder and an educator. She is the lead of Python Namibia Society and a global Python community volunteer.
She is a PyLadies Global Council Executive currently co-leading the Resources Team and Community Liaison.Read more »
Maria Maistro studied initially Mathematics (BSc, University of Padua, 2011; MSc, University of Padua, 2014) and then Computer Science (PhD, University of Padua, 2018). She is a tenure track assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen (DIKU). Prior to this, …Read more »
Michael Zimba studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering (BSc (distinction), University of Malawi, 2005); Information Theory, Coding and Cryptography (MSc (distinction), Mzuzu University, 2009); and Computer Science and Technology ( PhD (Doctor of Engineering), Hunan University, 2012). He is a …Read more »
Rachel is Senior Director at the United Nations Foundation. She leads Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning for development projects and Digital Transformation work in Africa.
She established Malawi’s first technology and Innovation hub, mHub in 2014. The hub provides digital …Read more »
Richard J Munthali
Dr. Richard Munthali is a Statistician at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI), Wits University and an independent data scientist/analyst consultant. He completed a PhD in Bioinformatics from University of the Witwatersrand in 2017. Dr Munthali’s PhD research focused on …Read more »
Ralph Tambala is a Lecturer of Computer Science at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST). He loves coding, appreciates art and enjoys a good read. His research interests include Data Science, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.Read more »
Tiwonge Msulira Banda
Tiwonge Msulira Banda has over 14 years’ experience in ICT4D project management. He is responsible for projects and administration at UbuntuNet Alliance, the regional research and education network for Eastern and Southern Africa. He is an experienced machine learning developer, data analyst and …Read more »
Winnie Wezi Mkandawire
Winnie Wezi Mkandawire is an interdisciplinary research-oriented free-lancing early career Bioinformatician/Data Scientist; a recipient of young researcher’s membership award for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020; and a member of women in Data Science and women in Machine …Read more »
Wiza Msuku is data lake team lead at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, he is responsible for the Ministry of Health Central data repository for the HIV program and related programs throughout the data management life cycle of both structured and unstructured data.
He leads a team with a …Read more »
Organizers and hosts
Reuben Moyo is a lecturer and Head of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department at Mzuzu University. He holds a Master’s degree (MEng) in Information and Communication Engineering which was obtained from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in China. He also has a …Read more »
Stanley Ndebvu is a Centre Manager of Youth Productivity, Innovation and Business Incubation Center at Mzuzu University. A computer scientist by professional and a Lecturer in ICT Department at Mzuzu University. He is the coordinator of projects in the ICT department and a coordinator of Technology …Read more »
Week 1: Python Week of Code
The Python Week of Code happens October 18-22 (Monday-Friday) and will be full days of tutorials, exercises and talks.
The purpose of the event is to provide participants with a basic Python knowledge with a special focus on Data Science. This is both a great way to be introduced to Python and Data Science in general and an opportunity to prepare if you have been accepted for Week 2’s Data Science Bootcamp (but that’s NOT a requirement).
Week 2: Malawi Data Science Bootcamp
The following is a rough draft of the program. You can find more details about the contents in our Call for Participation.
|Day 1||Introduction to data science, data, data manipulation and visualization|
|Day 2+3||Statistical and machine learning for data science|
|Day 4||Big data analytics|
|Day 5||Responsible Data Science + group sessions|
The event takes place at Mzuzu University’s new Learning Center in Lilongwe. It has capacity both for workshops and lectures.
Who are we?
We are a group of people from Mzuzu University, Copenhagen University and FAIR (Fair Allocation of Infotech Resources) and Python Namibia, joining hands to build a community around Data Science and Python in Malawi. We hope that the event will inspire and build long-lasting bonds and projects for the ones involved.
We can use your help
If you want to help us with Malawi Data Science Bootcamp, please send us an email to email@example.com.