With Thanks from Carpentries Instructors in Africa

“Sithanda ukudlulisa amazwi ukubonga ku Carpentries!” from Carpentries Instructors in Africa

The African Instructors Community is made up of individuals who volunteer their time to teach foundational coding and data science skills to researchers on the continent. Ending 2019 on a positive note, not only was there a growth in the number of trained instructors, an increase in African countries joining The Carpentries community, but a Regional Consultant for Southern Africa has also been appointed to support the team of volunteer instructors across the continent.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

The community, in its current form, had their inaugural meetup on 22 February 2017, hosted by Anelda van der Walt from Talarify. Since then, a total of 66 instructors have been trained in African countries such as Benin, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda.

Photo credits: Bianca Petersen and Mamsi Khantsi

Workshops were held across the continent ranging from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, to the Somali Research and Education Network in Mogadishu, Somali as well as SADiLaR, North-West University, South Africa. During 2018, the first ever South African CarpentryConnect was hosted in Johannesburg and brought together novice and more practiced community members to boost expertise around digital and computational literacy at tertiary institutions. Photo credits: Bianca Petersen and Mamsi Khantsi.

As we face the end of this decade and embrace the beginning of the next, in true Carpentries fashion, the Carpentries instructors in Africa would like to celebrate 2019 with sharing our #greenstickies:

Some of the green stickies shared in workshops in different cities across the continent are shared below, verbatim:

“Wow since I become instructor in December 2018 I have got the chance teaching a Workshop in Mizan-Tepi University”

“Grateful for the teaching experiences and the support received from the learners who showed great enthusiasm during the course of the workshop. The support of the community and sponsors of the various workshops are gratefully appreciated. Looking forward to a better working relationship in 2020”

“Exposure to a variety of tools to use for research and the support from the community”

“Getting the opportunity to improve the way I help others.”

“The Community of African Instructors and the monthly meetings. Even if I could not participate all the time, there was the Etherpad to get the updates from the meetings. - I appreciate very much, what The Carpentries are doing for Africa. In Ethiopia we haven been very successful in bringing digital literacy to university lecturers and researchers using primarily Data Carpentry and Library Carpentries.”

“I am grateful for the community as a whole, the knowledge network that we have, the people within the community that are always willing to help out any time. I am also grateful that we can expand the Carpentries within Africa now that we have a regional coordinator.”

“The Carpentries is a global community teaching computational skills to turn data into knowledge. Hence, I am grateful to work in the Executive Council as member representing Africa in 2019.”

“I grateful to get my certificate early 2019, also for being a part of the mentoring group. I appreciate our study group members at Mafikeng North-West University and all the knowledge we were able to share.”

“Although it was a challenging year for me, personally, The Carpentries was still welcoming whenever I managed to do something Carpentry-related. I even had a few teaching opportunities where I was privileged to see helpers doing their contributions in order to become certified instructors. I joined the Carpentry Con Task Force and I honestly cannot wait to attend it! It will be great to meet fellow instructors in person whom I have known online for quite some time. All in all, it’s about the people - a community that feels like family.”

To join the conversation about The Carpentries in Africa, sign up at Topicbox and/or join the Slack channel #african-carpentries. If you’ve trained as an instructor in Africa (even if you’re not qualified yet), please join the African instructors mailing list. Help us grow the African Carpentries community in 2020 by joining our monthly online meetup, on the 4th Thursday of each month, 12:00 - 13:00 SAST (10:00 - 11:00 UTC). If you are interested to join, please sign up for discussions in our Etherpad.

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