MSL on the Road: iHub Data Jam + Nairobi

This past week, the Mozilla Science Lab and fellows spent their final workweek before the close of their fellowships in Kenya. We dug into their fellowship program and wrap-up proceedings, met awesome people in our pan-african network, and gave some pretty cool guest lectures at co-working and research spaces throughout Nairobi. Here’s a brief run-down of what we were up to, and where we might go with the future fellows’ cohorts.

iHub coworking

Places + Spaces

One of our fellows, Richard Smith-Unna, recently relocated to Kenya from Cambridge, UK. We joined him from July 26th through August 3rd to pitch-in during the iHub Data Camp and spend a last week together before we onboard a new fellows cohort in September! You can review our itinerary and plans for the week here; we’ll tease out some highlights below for those who would rather follow along.
An appreciative shout-out to:
iHub – a community and co-working space on Ngong Road in Nairobi, boasting some amazing startups and projects in residence, and generously hosting us for the week
IBM Research Kenya – an awesome lab based at the Catholic University Campus in Nairobi specializing in urban research projects around agricultural sustainability, transportation, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, energy, security and e-government, which generously hosted us for a lab talk about the fellowship program:

Brackenhurst – a retreat center, tea plantation and expansive botanical garden outside Nairobi, where we co-worked with the fellows and Amel Ghouila, our community member and Study Group lead from Tunis


Christie speaking at the iHub Data Jam


In addition to meetups with the awesome open source/science presence in East Africa, we also made progress on some concluding exercises for our fellows. Each of our four current fellows went over their final to-dos for unfinished projects, assembled a short résumé of all recent tasks, and had the opportunity to crowdsource testing with co-fellows of materials they’ve developed so far.
Nairobi Roadway
In no particular order, here are some updates from our stellar fellows:

CHRISTIE – solicited feedback on Research Quantitative Methods (RQM), a generalized course and instructor manual on using, processing, and analyzing other people’s data in the spirit of open science as developed in her pilot Open Science and Reproducible Research (OSRR) course for Michigan State University. We reviewed her outline and instructor manual, and built a small template for the RQM course.

* Review her iHub Data Camp talk on Open Science and Reproducible Research here 
* Read her résumé here
* Reach out to her on Twitter here
* Up next: she’ll be continuing her post-doc in another lab at Michigan State University and is seeking research positions for 2017!

JASON – organized a workshop ( on principles of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) a project with support from the US President Barack Obama to establish guidelines for ethical and open data sharing, documentation, and transparency for biomedical research. We worked on translating the principles into human-readable terms and discussed how these principles might evolve to more informed consent procedures for research participants.

* Review his iHub Data Camp talk on Participatory Biomedical Research here:
* Read his résumé here 
* Reach out to him on Twitter here
* Up next: he’ll be continuing his work on the Resilience Project into the next year!

JOEY – outlined his remaining projects and prototypes and broke them down into features.  He also designed a great rubric for evaluating engagement and participation in fellowship programs, totally extensible to mentorship or educational models as well. 

* Review his iHub Data Camp talk on Open Source Geo-Tooling here
* Read his résumé here
* Reach out to him on Twitter here
* Up next: he’ll be working on open mobility tech-experiments in Germany with the developers at Moovel Lab.

RICHARD –  welcomed us to Brackenhurst and Nairobi, helping with on-the-ground logistics and side-adventures; he connected with the contacts we visited in Nairobi and particularly with Amel and H3Abionet, the pan-African bioinformatics network on behalf of which he’s conducted bioinformatics trainings in Khartoum and Nairobi throughout his fellowship. These trainings inspired his work on the Command Line Bootcamp and subsequent collaboration with Joey to develop a Bootcamp for Geo. 

* Review his iHub Data Camp talk on Open Source Tools for Reusing Scientific Outputs here 
* Read his résumé here 
* Reach out to him on Twitter here
* Up Next: he’ll be working remotely at the Coko Foundation out of Kenya
BRCK offices
We also took some time to brainstorm Mozfest session proposals and submitted six sessions on the variety of topics below.  We hope to see you in London in October: 
* Open Science and Reproducible Research (OSRR) course design session 
* Open Science, Open Mic
* Spoofing Bio-Surveillance: Practices to Protect your Bioprivacy
* Drawing for maps: creating GEOmetries on the web
* Navigating Privacy in Biomedical Research
* Open Data Training Curriculum
* Let’s Build an Urban Heat Island Mapping Kit
We’ll revisit these updates in our Community Call this coming week.  Tune in to learn more about the geospatial sciences and open source tools for web cartography! Join us on August 11, 11am: !
iHub Data Jam - Richard

People + Projects

Special thanks goes out to the amazing folks we met on our visit, detailed below with twitter contacts so you can reach out to them as well or otherwise follow their projects:
Mark Kamau, BRCK – “backup generator for the internet,” specializing in hardware/software development for supporting light-weight internet infrastructure throughout Africa and beyond; apart from their core product, they also develop mobile “kio kits,” rolling suitcases full of charging mini-ipads for classroom use and learning.
Aisha Walcott, IBM Research Kenya– impressive research lab in Nairobi investing in innovation in East Africa on projects that vary from impressive robotics prototypes to simulations of traffic models and transportation infrastructure solutions for the continent. 
Juliana Rotich + team, Ushahidi crisis mapping team based in the iHub, from which subsequent startups like BRCK and Savannah Fund
Chris Orwa, iHub Research – public research projects and UX lab based in the iHub
Amel Ghouila, H3Abionet – pan-African bioinformatics network connecting 32 labs across the continent; Amel gave a short talk on H3aBionet operations and outreach
Simeon Oriko, JamLab – creating close-knit cohorts of collaborators and makers who strive to realize far-reaching goals in a set period of months through mentorship and project-based learning
Muchiri NyaggahLocal Development Research Institute (LDRI ) – building programs for sustainable reproducible research
Akili Dada – awesome program to build and grow leadership in communities of African women
Code for Africa – Africa-wide organization supporting open data and civic tech programs in country-level chapters

IBM Research - Aisha

For any more details about where we stayed and what we did, feel free to join our Community Call next week where we’ll hear from our 2015 fellows for the last time, and review all the magic of our trip to Nairobi.
iHub Rooftop with Jason