HacksHackers East Africa: The Importance of Embracing Social Inclusion

Hacks/Hackers Africa
3 min readMar 31


By Keziah Kinuthia and Paul Amisi

Social inclusion panel for East Africa HacksHackers

The East Africa HackHackers virtual session for March focused on Social Inclusion and was facilitated by John Cornwell, Susan Waruingi, and Francis Wamwangi from the Umoja na Usawa network. This interactive session marked the first phase of two other sessions.

John introduced the session by defining “social inclusion” and emphasised the importance of creating a fair world for everyone. He then delved deep into various social biases worldwide and their consequences.

During the session, biases were defined as attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect our understanding, actions, and decisions. Everyone has biases activated without conscious awareness based on our assumptions, stereotypes, prejudices, and values.

The speakers noted that bias could be positive or negative, but when mixed with power and privilege, it can create inequitable outcomes for vulnerable people in our society, leading to social injustices and tragedies like the death of George Floyd, who used the three words “I can’t breathe” to express what racism does to its victims.

Attendees learned that among those affected by biases are individuals discriminated against based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, social-economic class, ethnicity, and geography.

The session’s participants came from diverse backgrounds and shared their experiences of bias, demonstrating that exclusion can happen to anyone to varying degrees.

The upcoming sessions will explore social inclusion, attitudes, and socialisation that forms biases and how given privileges and power can lead to conscious or unconscious discrimination against others.

HacksHackers Nigeria: Leveraging AI for Open Data in Africa

HackHackers Nigeria organised a virtual event to commemorate Open Data Day and discuss the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in open data. Rose Kwamboka, an award-winning data journalist and data analyst at Code for Africa, was the keynote speaker.

The session emphasised that open data is crucial in contemporary journalism, research, and governance, fostering transparency and accountability and enhancing citizen engagement in decision-making.

Attendees learned about the significance of open data and how to maximise its utilisation. Moreover, AI-based applications such as ChatGPT were explored for use in open data.

Kwamboka provided insights on different AI types, including reactive AI, limited memory AI, theory of mind AI, self-aware AI, and active AI. The speaker stressed that AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we process and utilise open data, resulting in improved decision-making and development outcomes.

The speaker also discussed several AI tools accessible in Africa, including M-tiba and Farmerline. M-tiba is a mobile health wallet enabling users to save and pay for healthcare services. At the same time, Farmerline is a data analytics platform aiding small-scale farmers in accessing crop management, weather patterns, and market price data.

The event highlighted the pivotal role of open data and AI in Africa’s development. With the growing availability of open data, utilising AI tools efficiently and effectively is necessary. By doing so, Africa can create innovative solutions to its unique challenges, enhance governance, and boost economic growth.

The worlds of hackers and journalists are coming together, as reporting goes digital and Internet companies become media empires.

Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code.

Hacker-journalists try to bridge the two worlds. Hacks/Hackers Africa aims to bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of our world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualise information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload and collapse of traditional business models for legacy media, their work has become even more crucial.

Code for Africa, the continent’s largest #OpenData and civic technology initiative, recognises this and is spearheading the establishment of a network of HacksHackers chapters across Africa to help bring together pioneers for collaborative projects and new ventures.

Follow Hacks/Hackers Africa on Twitter and Facebook and join the Hacks/Hackers community group today.