Why Not Nairobi

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Nairobi Sprint Background

This article focuses on the planning and realization of the inaugural Nairobi WiMLDS scikit-learn open source sprint in June 2019. The Nairobi WiMLDS 2019 Sprint Impact Report was released in early August 2019.

More background information is available in the following articles:

Women (and URGs) in Open Source

Scikit-learn, the machine learning library for Python, was first released in early 2010 by developers in Paris, France. To date, there is only 1 woman in the top 100 contributors to this library.

A 2013 study found that only 11% of open source contributors were women. A 2016 gender-inferred analysis examining the top 100 contributors for various programming languages found that just 2% of contributors to Python libraries on GitHub were women.

This table shows the statistics of women in tech and other sub-groups.

This is a visual representation of the data in the table.

Scikit-learn has a remarkable history of open source sprints. Prior to June 2019, of the over 30 sprints organized to contribute and advance the library, not one single sprint had been held outside of the USA and Western Europe.

This is the first time a scikit-learn sprint was held outside of Europe and North America. Scikit-learn is used around the world, and so it would be beneficial to the Python and open source community to make the sprints accessible.

WiMLDS and Scikit-learn Sprints

In early 2019, after publishing the NYC WiMLDS Sprint Impact Report (2017-2018), I turned my attention to 2019 sprint planning.

In 2018, the Bay Area WiMLDS organizer had inquired on Twitter about having a sprint in San Francisco, and so the seed was set:

Getting started:

  • Reshama asked on scikit learn mailing list
  • https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/scikit-learn
  • put in tasks list

b) NAIROBI SPRINT Happy to announce that Mariam in Nairobi has received a text notification to pick up the Python books.
As a background, I went thru this process:

  1. asked O’Reilly for weight of books (they don’t ship to Africa)
  2. researched carriers and rates
  3. KenTex Cargo had best prices. Had numerous conversations with Gregory there as I was nervous about spending the money without assurance that books would be delivered.
  4. Had O’Reilly ship books to Texas with specific instructions.
  5. Discussed pricing with Andy M. He offered to cover cost of shipping which was $275.
  6. Had books shipped to KenTex in Plano, Texas
  7. Paid for shipping via their online account. (only called Greg 8 times to make that happen)
  8. Put on my personal credit card, Andy reimbursed me
  9. Received email this morning from KenTex that package has arrived in Nairobi.
  10. Mariam will pick it up today, also good timing that Ramadan is now over and she is back in town.


Shipping Books to Nairobi

[note] put this line in “Nairobi Sprint Impact Report”

To learn more about how this came to be realized, read my blog, Why Not Nairobi?


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