We are excited to introduce you to the first cohort of Data Science Fellows, a group of talented and passionate young professionals from across Africa who are committed to using data skills for a positive social impact. 

Our eight new fellows will be undertaking data science projects at the intersection of health and climate in Africa, and focused on land degradation, as part of the Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN) program to train purpose-driven data professionals.

What is the CAN Data Science Fellowship?

The Data Science Fellowship under CAN aims to build data science knowledge, capacity, and skills among emerging African data leaders, and to support them in applying data science to address real-world challenges in their countries and regions. The program provides these fellows with mentorship from experts as they work in their respective host institutions, and opportunities to network and showcase their work.

Meet the fellows

The Data Science Fellows will be working on inspiring, data-driven solutions to address these challenges related to health and climate in Africa. You can read their bios below, and learn about the projects they will work on in the host institutions they will be embedded in.

We hope that their work will inspire you to learn more about data science and its potential to transform health and climate outcomes in Africa and beyond.

Abubakar Isa-Abubakar 

Abubakar Isa Abubakar - CAN Fellow

Abubakar is a data scientist and climate advocate with a passion for using data to improve health and climate sustainability. 

He has worked with governments and non-profits in data collection, data ethics, and privacy advocacy, and has provided technical support in reforming the health sector through automation of data management processes to improve and create sustainable healthcare systems. As a data science instructor, he has built the capacity of budding data enthusiasts and data practitioners. 

Currently, Abubakar is a CAN fellow with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, supporting country teams in achieving SDG 15.3.1; working towards land degradation neutrality and combating desertification.

Abubakar has been attached to a multi-task team in Nigeria consisting of several institutions hosted at the Federal Ministry of Environment, in the department of Desertification. Land Degradation and Drought Management. The project he will be working on is ‘Community resilience building in reducing land degradation’.

Agnes Okero

Agnes Okero - CAN Fellow

Agnes is a passionate advocate for data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, with a wealth of experience and expertise in interpreting and analyzing complex datasets, creating machine learning and AI models.

Her professional journey has traversed the realms of actuarial science and the dynamic field of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence, where she has honed her skills. Agnes is adept at fostering teamwork and providing leadership in collaborative environments.

Agnes will be working at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistic (KNBS) in the development of a model for estimation of carbon emissions in the transportation sector of Kenya.

Ama Korantema-Owusu

Ama Korantema Owusu - CAN Fellow

Ama is a data analyst, passionate about assisting policy-makers to take data-driven decisions to develop policies that improve the health and wellbeing of young people. She is currently based in Ghana. She likes to read historical fiction and try out new baking recipes.

Ama is attached to the Land Use and Planning Spatial Authority in Ghana working on the development of a marine spatial framework for the western coastal region in Ghana.

Ansoumane Traore

Ansoumane Traore - CAN Fellow

Ansoumane is an accomplished geomatician, specializing in geospatial sciences with a background in physical geography and the environment. With a degree in geography, Ansoumane Traore has successfully represented consulting firms in geospatial sciences and PAR (Plan d'Action et de Réinstallation des Communautés) in obtaining mining permits and the Ministry of the Environment.

His expertise also extends to the design of webGIS solutions, database and geomatics, and he teaches digital cartography courses at Guinean universities.

Ansoumane Traore is a partner in Géovision Guinée and Cabinet World Geodect System Dama (WGSD), where he is CEO of the company. He is a frequent speaker at geomatics conferences and mentors young geographers. In his spare time, Ansoumane enjoys hiking, programming and volunteering with organizations, NGOs and universities promoting access to geomatics for the development of geospatial solutions.

Ansoumane is attached to the Centre National de Surveillance et d'Observation Environnemental in Guinea. He will be working on a project to combat diarrheal disease by raising awareness of the spread of the epidemic in Guinea in order to inform decision-making at the highest continental level.

Beni Nzimba Makumbu

Beni Nzimba Makumbu - CAN Fellow

Beni is a data production and analysis graduate and a statistical consultant from Kinshasa, DRC. He has supervised and trained participants in various statistical studies for project monitoring and evaluation, such as the Education Quality Improvement Project and the Demographic and Health Survey.

He has skills in database creation, quantitative and qualitative surveys, data processing and analysis, data visualization, and mapping, using various statistical software and tools. He can also design, execute, monitor, and evaluate projects and programmes, using logical frameworks and indicators.

Beni is attached to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on analysis of land use and its evolution in the Central Kongo and Upper Katanga regions over the past decade.

Brahima Diarra

Brahima Diarra - CAN Fellow

Brahima is a statistician engineer working in data collection, processing and analysis. He specializes in food security and livelihoods analysis, and has held statistician positions in national and international organizations (FAO, WFP, CILSS, Mali's Early Warning System).

He spent several years with Mali's Early Warning System as a data analyst, then with the World Food Program (WFP) as a Market Analyst, and with the FAO as a Quantitative Analyst. He has already completed several large-scale studies and his area of expertise covers the application of quantitative methods (statistics and econometrics), including spatial analysis, to the analysis of food and nutritional security.

Brahima will be working at the Institut National De La Statistique (INSTAT) in Mali on the impact of climate change on malnutrition in children under 5.

Clement Danso

Clement Danso - CAN Fellow

Clement is an experienced data specialist and health informatics professional adept at implementing and managing data systems for international development and humanitarian projects. He is skilled in DHIS2, GIS, and various data analysis tools.

He has a proven track record of successful project implementations and technical support. Clement is committed to leveraging technology for positive social impact and is eager to contribute expertise to dynamic projects at the intersection of data and global development.

Clement’s work is attached to the Ghana Statistical Service in the establishing and remapping of Ghana’s ecological zones. 

Ezekiel Ogundepo

Ezekiel Ogundepo - CAN Fellow

Ezekiel is an innovative data science professional, passionate about applying mathematics and statistics to solve real-world problems. He has been recognized as a Mastercard Scholar, a Federal Government of Nigeria (FSB) Scholar, an UNLEASH Talent, and a Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) Fellow. Ezekiel is a skilled data scientist with a proven track record of success.

His research interests align with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, and he is dedicated to using his expertise to impact the world positively. His outstanding performance and contributions to open source and FAIR data science have earned him sponsorships for numerous workshops and conferences in Rwanda, Singapore, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Ezekiel is attached to eHealth Africa in Nigeria supporting their project identifying the environmental drivers of the cholera outbreak to facilitate surveillance in Yobe State, Nigeria. 

The purpose of the fellowship

Africa is an amazing continent full of diversity and potential. With over 1.3 billion people and more than 2,000 languages and cultures, there's so much to explore and learn. However, it is also a continent facing multiple, interrelated and protracted threats and crises from climate change, such as rising temperatures, droughts, floods, diseases, and food insecurity, which affect the health and wellbeing of millions of Africans, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.

To address these complex and urgent issues, data science has emerged as a powerful tool to generate insights, inform decisions, and drive actions. Data science can help to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change on health, to design and evaluate interventions, and to foster innovation and collaboration. 

To unlock the full potential of data science in Africa, a number of challenges need to be addressed. There is a scarcity of quality and accessible data, a lack of data science skills and capacity, and a gap between data producers and users. An increase in data science education, training, and mentorship can help to overcome these barriers, as well as leading to more data science applications and solutions that are relevant, inclusive, and sustainable.

The Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN) Data Science Fellowship is a collaboration between data.org, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), and generously funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Group on Earth Observations - Land Degradation Neutrality (GEO-LDN).