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Fostering AI collaboration among African innovators at Deep Learning Indaba, Ghana

Reflections and takeaways from Jacaranda's Machine Learning Manager, Stanslaus Mwongela.

I’ve just returned from Deep Learning Indaba, a conference that seeks to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking within the African AI and machine learning community, and make AI and machine learning education and research more accessible and inclusive in Africa.

Our participation in the Data Science for Health in Africa Workshop gave us the platform to share some of our techniques, learnings, and insights from designing and developing AI for our context.

We got the chance to explain how PROMPTS worked, our learning journey around building responsive Natural Language Processing (NLP) models in low resource settings, and how we have trained these models to accurately understand nuanced maternal healthcare questions from mothers.

It was interesting to discuss shared challenges and opportunities around scalability, data compliance, and ethical considerations with the other participants, and share our commitment and principles for responsible, person-centered AI.

The workshops and hands-on sessions gave us a chance to hone skills in deep learning and AI, and deepen our understanding of ethical AI, bias mitigation, and responsible AI development – as a great springboard for future AI / ML development and an opportunity to deepen the local capacity we’re building in AI.

Stanslaus Mwongela

Machine Learning Manager, Jacaranda Health

Stanslaus is instrumental in the development, deployment and integration of AI solutions across Jacaranda’s suite of digital tools. In October 2023, he spearheaded the creation of UlizaLlama, a world-first open source Swahili Large Language Model aimed at empowering African organizations to customize and enhance their natural language processing capabilities in Swahili. Stanslaus actively participates in the academic community and global communities of practice for digital health and technologies, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in computer science which aligns with his work at Jacaranda Health. Stanslaus views his role as a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between research and real-world impact, pushing the boundaries of AI innovation while improving healthcare outcomes for underprivileged mothers.

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