Special News


What started as a vision in March 2020 to enable access to critical data needed from Africa to fight and contain the novel coronavirus that is spreading across the globe has now materialized into the deployment of seven machine actionable FAIR Data Points (FDPs) that allows algorithms to find COVID-19 data over the internet.

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On Tuesday September 22nd, 2020, the VODAN African team in Kenya led by Dr. Reginald Nalugala did a successful demonstration of their capability to make COVID-19 data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) in a webinar hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa.

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On Thursday, September 10th, Google.org announced that VODAN Africa was selected to receive funding as part of the company’s efforts to support projects using innovative Al and data analytics to help understand COVID-19 and address its impacts.

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On September 8th, 2020, prominent women in the global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Community gathered do discuss how AI can transform education, business, health, fintech, digital transformation, and more. The Executive Coordinator VODAN Africa, Prof. Francisca Oladipo was among the speakers at the summit where she spoke on The Science of FAIR Data.

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The VODAN Africa Team in Nigeria on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 demonstrated the FAIRification of COVID-19 data at the FAIR Data Point (FDP) deployed at Data Science Nigeria (DSN). This demonstration was done by Ezekiel Adebayo Ogundepo from DSN and Dr. Sakinat Folorunso, the Nigerian Team Lead at VODAN Africa. The webinar was hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa.

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On September 8th, 2020, VODAN Africa team consisting of the Executive Coordinator, Prof. Francisca Oladipo and the Nigerian team lead, Dr Sakinat Folorunsho and other global AI experts will be addressing the largest gathering of Women in Artificial Intelligence (WAI), the WAI summit themed “Bringing All Minds Together”.

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On 2nd September 2020 the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN Africa) team held a robust high-level technical session with the team at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) to access the level of preparedness for intercontinental network access and querying of datasets between FAIR Data Points (FDPs) in Africa and Europe.

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With the successful deployment of more FAIR Data Points in Africa, the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN Africa) team reiterated their readiness to FAIRify COVID-19 data across the continent. This was demonstrated in a webinar by Mariam Basajja, the Technical Coordinator, VODAN Africa, and a Ph.D. student at the University of Leiden. The session was hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic ran riot around the world, and was gradually making inroads into Africa, a new partnership developed to address the current and immediate challenges faced in the continent using a different kind of science: the science of FAIR Data.

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Within five months after Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN-Africa) Initiative was launched in March 2020, the VODAN Africa team at Tunisia led by Dr Mariem Ghardallou and Ms Morgane Wirtz has successfully created a machine-actionable metadata using VODAN-in-a-Box and CEDAR platforms. This was demonstrated in a webinar hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa on 25th August 2020, participants and observers were drawn from Africa and Europe.

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The Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN-Africa) team in Ethiopia on Tuesday, 18th August 2020, demonstrated the readiness of Ethiopia to FAIRify COVID-19 data through the presentation of a working VODAN-in-a-Box at Addis Ababa University and Mekelle University, both in Ethiopia, during the Metadata For Machine Workshop hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa.

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In the bid to sustain the gains and momentum generated by the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN-Africa) after the successful deployment of the VODAN-in-a-Box at Kampala International University (KIU) and Data Science Nigeria (DSN), the VODAN Africa Nigeria Team lead by Dr Sakinat Folorunso, hosted the Management of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Nigeria, in an informative session on the ongoing VODAN Africa project. The presentation was made by Prof Francisca Oladipo, the Executive Coordinator, VODAN Africa Initiative.

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