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Sub-Saharan Africa AWS Community: 2021 Round-up

Time literally flies when you're having fun!

I recently celebrated my first year anniversary at Amazon. My role as a Developer Advocate for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been all about meeting people - and I have found this to be an unbelievably fulfilling aspect of this role.

In looking back on this first year, I had been considering writing about my experience as a Developer Advocate so far.
What do you think though about a round-up of what the SSA AWS Community got up to in the past year instead?

Self-organizing AWS user groups

It is nothing short of inspiring how the AWS user groups from this region continued to meet - virtually - during what continued to be a very challenging year for all of us.
Pretoria | Jozi | Ghana | Nigeria | Kenya were formed before the pandemic; these groups were able to continue to meet virtually.

How exciting about Douala Cameroon | Benin who were formed in early 2021 and went on to quickly make an impact in their respective communities!

AWS Heroes from SSA

At the beginning of 2021 SSA had the following AWS heroes: Rehan van der Merwe, Luke Mwila, and Ewere Diagboya.
We were very excited to welcome our newest hero Ndimofor Ateh Rosius who became the first Serverless hero from Africa, and the first hero from Cameroon.

AWS Community Builders from SSA

Of course we look forward to seeing the number of AWS Community Builders from SSA grow this year but it was very exciting to see many being accepted into the AWS Community Builders Program in the past year. AWS builders from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Zimbabwe - to name a few - made it into this amazing program. I am especially proud to see women from this region be accepted into this program; here's a great post from Mariam Adedeji from Nigeria announcing her acceptance into the program.

AWS Community Voices

AWS launched an AWS Community Voices series focusing specifically on stories from- and technical walkthroughs by members of the AWS Community of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). There was plenty of representation here from builders from SSA. The diversity of this representation was noteworthy considering that our region is still looking forward to more women participation within the AWS Community. Interviews of community members like Esther Awudu, Linda Oyapi Asamoah, and Cecilia Waithaka received great viewership and inspired many other members of the community (catch up on all past interviews here or here).

AWS Certifications

I have enjoyed seeing a constant stream of posts from those who got AWS certified on my social media timelines. SSA AWS Community didn't get left behind with many getting certified and sharing their inspiring stories on social media. AWS made exam vouchers available through various campaigns which included the Certify Africa Challenge and many took advantage of the opportunities provided by these campaigns. We received many testimonies from those who were able to write and pass - using these exam vouchers to pay for their exam scheduling. I attach below just some of the public stories we received.

AWS Exam Voucher recipients

AWS interactions with the user groups

AWS user groups remain independent; we as AWS are always so honored when we receive invites to speak or present in some way at these user groups.
One of the invitations we received was to co-host a workshop with the Nigeria user group. The response to this from the community was overwhelming - completely unexpected considering that this was still being held virtually.

Nigeria UG workshop response

The next public-facing workshop focused on building an Alexa skill; the feedback from the attendees was really great to hear:

Alexa workshop

Whew! To think that these are just some of the stories and activities - one post will never be enough to cover all that took place within the AWS Community of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Reading through all this I cannot help but look forward to what the AWS Community will be getting up to in 2022.

Are you in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and have been doing amazing things within the community? I would love to hear your story.

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