Meet Ernest Futta: Young African Data Champion
Ernest spent a month in Washington DC with Global Integrity for a “Data Collaboratives for Local Impact” practicum. Watch his interview here.
This blog post was published as part of the Data Zetu project. Data Zetu is now an initiative of the Tanzania dLab, a local NGO that promotes innovation and data literacy through a premier center of excellence. For more information about the dLab, visit www.dlab.or.tz. For more information about the Data Zetu project, visit www.irex.org.
“Working on specific programs made the entire experience more practical, and it brought real-world experience which exposed me to valuable skills and tools on the use of data.”
What about the DCLI Practicum appealed most to you?
The DCLI Practicum is an experience that I value very much and will always hold dear in my heart. The Practicum is essentially meant to provide youths with insight on data and the use of data for decision making. My intention of becoming a DCLI Practicum Fellow was to gain more insights and build my skills on the use of data which would enhance my work at Passion for the Needy, a community organization I’m involved with back home inTanzania.
What exactly did you work on, and how did it help you?
Being selected and placed at Global Integrity allowed me to gain valuable insights. Throughout the practicum, I worked with Global Integrity on three projects: Multi-Stakeholder Governance Initiatives in East Africa; Money in Politics in East Africa; and the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Project.
Working on these specific programs made the entire experience more practical, and it brought real-world experience which exposed me to valuable skills and tools on the use of data — especially on:
- Understanding the data pipeline;
- Increasing my ability to extract and engage data;
- Thinking critically about data
- Understanding how to engage and work with data from the beginning to the end;
- How to connect various data sets; and
- How to interpret different data sets.
How would you describe the DCLI Practicum?
The DCLI Practicum is an opportunity where those who are passionate about data and want to incorporate data in their day to day works can thrive if they give their best effort. You will work hard, learn a lot, and — if you are careful enough — be a better data champion and ambassador.
The value of the practicum is that you gain real data technical skills from the school of data while experiencing how every single skill is put into use through the host organization. If you are looking for a traditional classroom experience, you will not find it at this practicum. What you will gain through the practicum are practical experiences on the use of data that you can draw from and apply to any professional setting.
What other reflections do you have?
Overall, I fortunately had a great experience in the DCLI Practicum and gained more than just insights about data. I formed new friendships with peers and colleagues who share similar goals and aspirations as I do, I got a lot of work done while I was in Washington D.C, and through my host organization I also learned a lot about money in politics in East Africa, integrity and anti-corruption around the globe, multi-stakeholder governance.
By virtue of being in Washington DC, I also learned all sorts of other topics, including the history of the U.S. and its democracy, the U.S. political climate, and exploring how data can make a difference. The social hours gave me time to meet and spend time with the DCLI team and other Fellows; this was perhaps the most enriching part of a deeply rewarding experience.