African Union Day and Data Bootcamp in Ghana

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 10.04.00 PMThis weekend is Memorial Day (US), Mother’s Day (Sweden, Hurray for mom!) and African Union weekend (Africa). But how does one celebrate the African Union? I am not sure, but will spend the delayed holiday (in Ghana holidays that fall on weekends get “compensated” at the first possible weekday, in this case AU Day fell on Saturday 25 May, hence tomorrow, Monday 27th is the day off!) and two more days at a data bootcamp vamping up my data mining skills, maybe they can be beneficial for the continent?

Normally, I stay away from everything bootcampey as endurance is not my strongest side, I rather like to digest information slowly over time, but I have made this exception as I am very much interested in how data can become news and more people can get access to knowledge. Or is the words of the organizers:

“to boost analytical, evidence-based reportage by giving journalists the digital tools, access to data, and computational skills necessary for transforming the way that newsrooms function.”

We will learn how to “mine” and “scrape” data, how to build apps and websites to visualize the data and how to “pitch” ideas as to get funding. Teachers are a list of interesting people from techie/journalist Justin Arenstein that I have earlier met at a Google event to the Worldbank statistician Lynne Henderson and many more interesting folks.

I am excited about tomorrow and should probably hop to bed. Already, I have some ideas for apps that might not necessarily conform with the “extractive sector” that is a focus of this workshop and a hanging question: where does academia come into all of this?

Behind this data bootcamp is theĀ African Media Initiative, the World Bank Institute, Google Africa and theOpen Institute. Thank you!

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