Speakers

Marcos Vanetta

Marcos Vanetta is a biomedical-engineer-turned-news-hacker who is currently an OpenNews Fellow at one of the USA’s leading data journalism newsrooms: the Texas Tribune. Marcos is part of the newsroom’s investigative data team, whose award-winning work has generated 141 million page views from 18 million visitors. You can sample some of the stories that Marcus has worked on here. Prior to joining Texas Tribune, Marcos was a leading member of the world’s largest Hacks/Hackers chapter, in Buenos Aires, where he was lead developer on Mapa76 (now rebranded as Analice.me) that helps track political corruption across Latin America. He has also worked on projects that help victims find emergency help, and that map clandestine detention centers in Argentina’s former military dictatorship. You can find Marcos at rock&roll concerts or at your closest hackathon. Follow him @malev or at codingnews.info.

Huw Owen

Huw has been a reporter, senior producer and a TV and radio editor at BBC News for 25 years. In one of his first reporting assignments, he covered the Lockerbie air disaster in Scotland and has followed the story throughout his BBC career. Most recently, as a change manager, he helped design and introduce new ways of multi-media working at the BBC’s new world HQ in London, as well as introducing award winning new social media, data and mobile journalism. He left the BBC last year to pursue a career in development, convinced that the power to change the world will soon be, literally, in the palm of your hand. He’s most recently been working with UNICEF UK.

Qiyang Xu

Qiyang works at the Innovation Labs in the World Bank’s Leadership, Learning and Innovation Vice Presidency and her focuses are Open Data and Open Aid for Development, and innovative use of geospatial technology for international development. Qiyang has been highly involved in project implementations at country level (Kenya, Malawi, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Philippines, etc.) in collaborations with multiple levels of stakeholders. Beyond country and regional experience in Africa, South Asia, LAC and EAP, she has been working closely with internal Bank teams and external vendors and partners to develop geospatial solutions and deliver extensive training sessions to governments. Qiyang holds an B.S. and M.A. in Geoscience and is currently pursuing an MBA degree in University of Maryland.

Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer is Founding Dean of the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications. He comes to Nairobi from United Nations headquarters in New York, where he was communications director and chief speechwriter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He is a veteran editor and correspondent for Newsweek, an award-winning author and a commentator and syndicated columnist for a variety of international media, including Kenya’s Daily Nation and the New York Times.

Elena Bertusi

Elena, an Italian national, has been working at the World Bank since 2012, focusing on citizen engagement, open aid and innovation challenges. Although her background is in international law, she has always been interested in the field of development and human rights and this is why she decided to pursue a career with the World Bank. Before joining the WBG, Elena worked in an Italian lobbying company and for a law firm. A graduate of Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi of Milan, Elena lives in Washington, DC and in her free time enjoys playing tennis, traveling to new places, cooking with friends and trying new restaurants in the District, although at the moment, most of her free time is taken by studying for the Italian Bar.

Justin Arenstein

He is an award-winning investigative journalist and digital strategist currently helping Google and the African Media Initiative strengthen Africa’s watchdog media by working with newsrooms to implement better forensic research and evidence-based reportage. This includes helping media adopt digital tools and data journalism strategies. Justin manages the $1m African News Innovation Challenge, is rolling out HacksHackers chapters across Africa, and supports newsroom-based experiments with citizen reporting, mobile news, and augmented reality platforms. Justin is a former Press Councillor in South Africa, and continues to serve on several media industry bodies and think tanks. His investigative reportage has helped put a senator, two legislature speakers and a provincial cabinet minister behind bars, and contributed to the ouster of two provincial premiers and several other cabinet ministers and state officials on charges ranging from child rape to corruption.

Peter M. Kamau

Peter M. Kamau is the System Administrator of the electronic Project Monitoring Information System (e-ProMIS) system having being the Technical head in its design, development and implementation. E-ProMIS is a monitoring and evaluation system used to manage all projects for the Government of Kenya. He is an Assistant Director in ICT, deployed to The National Treasury from ICT Authority. Qualified PRINCE Practitioner and Master of Science (MSc) in Information Technology Management (ITM.).

Linet Kwamboka

Linet Kwamboka is the Kenya Open Data Initiative project coordinator at the Kenya ICT Authority and leads the Open Government Partnership for the Government of Kenya where she is responsible for creating policies and partnerships that increase the number of government institutions making their data publicly and freely accessible while ensuring that the government is transparent and involves the citizens in decision making.

She is also founder of DataScience LTD, a company that is focused on using and generating data to discover intelligent insights about people, products and services.

Notably, she is also recognised unsung hero by the American Embassy in Kenya in her efforts to encourage more women into technology and computing.

Mark De Blois

Mark de Blois is Managing Director of Upande Ltd, a consulting firm which provides advisory and technical development services with an emphasis the geoweb, including Geographical Information Systems development, training, and projects implementation, as well as software development and project management. Mark worked as a GIS specialist for more than 17 years. Having started in the Netherlands providing consulting services and GIS training to largely government organizations, Mark joined Google Kenya where he was the Geo Lead in charge of geo-related work across Africa. Mark left Google in 2009 to inaugurate Upande (a name refers to ‘location’, ‘direction’, ‘destination’, ‘alongside’ and ‘up’, all of which are terms commonly used in GIS).

Sifa Mawiyoo

Sifa Mawiyoo is a geographer working on the Kenya Open Data Initiative. He plays a key role in the collection, curation and publication of public government datasets to the open data portal. With an Honors degree in Geographic Information Systems he has a passion for cartography and data visualization. Using his life experiences and works in academia, urban and environmental planning he identifies patterns and correlations found within data to better understand our environment and how to make a difference in it.

Mentors:

David Lemayian

David Lemayian serves as Code for Africa’s lead technologist, managing a team of software developers and pilot CitizenLab accelerator, plus all shared “backbone” infrastructure.

Code for Africa (CfAfrica) is the continent’s largest open data initiative, using technology and data to help citizens shape their governments and hold those in power to account. CfAfrica currently has country-based programmes in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Luchiri Omoto

Luchiri is a GIS Consultant with Upande Ltd, a consulting firm offering training and technical development services with an emphasis on the geoweb. This includes Geographical Information Systems (GIS) development, training, and project implementation, as well as software development and project management. Before joining Upande, he had a stint at entrepreneurship having established GISasp Kenya to capitalize on the emerging opportunities of GIS as it grew in Kenya from a very technical discipline used in mostly climatic studies, to one affecting all sectors including health, transportation, city planning, tourism, etc. Prior to that he has worked with Google.org promoting the use of Google tools and applications by organizations such as UN-Habitat, Uganda Bureau of Statistics and local NGOs. He started off this professional journey with an initial team of Geo Specialists at Google Inc., involved in creating Google Maps content for most of Africa and parts of Asia. Luchiri has carried out data journalism bootcamps in Tanzania, and Ghana.

Serah Rono

Serah Rono severs as Code for Africa’s web developer, building web applications at CitizenLab accelerators.
Code for Africa (CfAfrica) is the continent’s largest open data initiative, using technology and data to help citizens shape their governments and hold those in power to account. CfAfrica currently has country-based programmes in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Samer Ahmed

Samer is attached as a mechanotronic engineer to Upande, helping build IoT applications with a focus on WaSHGIS.com. His passion is to use well proven scientific methods to gain insight from data gathered from disparate significant sources around web to shed fresh light and insight on your business decisions. To quote his own words, “I’m just a guy with Big Ideas doing Big things with my life. Impossible is my forte. Genius by Nature, Creative by Nurture. I also have better hair than Donald Trump. Currently busy trying to get my name on the Google Logo…so don’t interrupt!”

With Support From:

Craig Hammer

He leads the World Bank Institute’s Global Media Development program, a partnership-drin initiative which focuses on information and media as drivers of good governance. A licensed attorney, his work at the World Bank has included strengthening laws, policies, and regulations to enhance the enabling environment for media, as well as collaborative approaches with media practitioners (journalists, editors, media owners/managers, students, developers, and more) to strengthen the role of media as a key driver of the global knowledge economy, and as a tech-enabled, institution of transparency and accountability.

Kaburo Kobia

Kaburo Kobia joined ICT Authority in January 2010 as Project Manager for Local Digital Content. The ICT Authority is a government agency under the Ministry of Information and Communications tasked with promoting ICT in Kenya. Her work at the ICT Authority includes building awareness on the role of web and mobile applications in Kenya’s economy, administering tech entrepreneurs with seed capital in the form of grants and managing projects under the digital services program of the ICT Authority. More recently, Kaburo has worked as part of a team in creating and growing the Kenya Open Data Initiative – the first Open Data initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kaburo is also passionate about developing young women’s leadership.

Nqobile Buthelezi

Nqobile is the programme manager for AMI’s Digital Innovation Programme, including the African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC). She manages the Hacks/Hackers Africa network and helps in expanding the Code for Africa network of CitizenLabs that provide technology support to ANIC winners to coverage of four “hub” countries in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. She previously worked as conference manager for the continent’s largest annual gathering of journalists and news technologists, at the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies’ (JMS) Highway Africa. She has also worked as a journalist for the magazine division of Media24, in KwaZulu Natal.

Our Mission

To boost analytical, evidence-based public discussion by giving citizens, journalists and civil society access to the data, digital tools, and computational skills necessary for transforming our societies into digital democracies.