African Data Initiative is a project by a young NGO called African Maths Initiative (AMI). AMI is Kenyan NGO formed by mathematicians and mathematics educators who are working to create a stronger mathematical community and culture of mathematics across Africa through fun ways of doing Maths.
Having the African Data Initiative project, which is an open source project to create a new easy to use statistical software, it was necessary to do a campaign to create awareness and get a community of supporters for this project. This was done through crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and also through many other channels including doing presentations, spreading the word on social media, and also through friends to tell a neighbors and other people in their networks.
We had conducted the campaign for 90 days and it proved very difficult to make people understand the need for this software. We actually had gotten a good number of supporters during the time we had the campaign running though not as many as we had anticipated. Recently, after my longest and toughest journey, John Lunalo and I had a chance to present the ideas of AMI and the African Data Initiative students, tutors and lecturers at the African Institute of Mathematical sciences in Bagamoyo Tanzania. Surprisingly enough, people were really impressed by the project and so far we have received more than 50 supporters from that presentation. It was really amazing.
More to that, over this week, we have managed to start the actual development of the statistical package, with many decisions being made and the timeline being set. I am happy to be part of the development team for this software with the role of designing and development of user interfaces. It doesn’t come easy, it’s a challenge everyday with lots of learning but the motivation of carrying on is the potential that this software has in changing the understanding, teaching and learning of statistics across Africa and the rest of the world. We believe that in one years’ time, we will have the full release of this software.