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Maryblessing Okolie

CHAOSScon Africa 2023 Wrap

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epic moments, inspiring insights, and a whole lot of awesome!

CHAOSScon Africa 2023 Wrap

Let me tell you how the first ever CHAOSScon Africa went down. If you couldn’t make it to the event or did but need a refresher of the beautiful memories? This piece is for you. Ready? Hold my beer.

Sometime in May, plans for the first CHAOSSCon Africa started. Okay, wait, if you’re going to read this, you need to know what the project CHAOSS is about and why we hold these conferences. If you are new to CHAOSS, you should continue reading, otherwise, you can skip this part.

What is CHAOSS??In CHAOSS, we help open source communities understand the pulse/health of their communities. We do this by creating metrics and metrics models. To learn more about CHAOSS, kindly visit our website here.

Why CHAOSSCon??CHAOSSCon is a gathering of the CHAOSS community members and people fascinated by the project, where current happenings in the project are shared, its use cases and more. Interestingly, it’s not only for the CHAOSS community members. It’s also a gathering to learn about metrics and tools used by several open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their development activities, the community’s health, diversity, risk, and value.

CHAOSSCon was first held in Europe and co-located with FOSDEM in 2018. Since then, it had held in Europe and North America up until 2023. The first ever CHAOSSCon Africa was held, co-located with OSCA Fest in Lagos, Nigeria. You should see the list of past events from the CHAOSS community here.

…..on the real deal

Backstory on the planning and execution of CHAOSSCon Africa ?

When planning for CHAOSSCon Africa started, the organising committee had a few things in mind, bringing together developers, designers, community managers, and others interested in contributing or building open-source software to learn and connect with each other. We wanted to have an inclusive, diverse and memorable environment for attendees. And we achieved just that! See the post below for a quick highlight of the event.

Meetings around the event planning officially started on May 9. About a month into the event, and within that short time, we were able to secure funding from both GitHub and Bitergia. Secure the venue hall, and book an amazing food vendor that understood diversity and made the right meal for everyone. Shortlisted our speakers, and our keynote speakers said yes to our proposal. Got a great number of interested attendees. And all of these wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of everyone; from the programs team co-led by Busayo and Ruth Ikegah who made sure the event ran smoothly, to the design team led by Kingsley who made sure designs effectively communicate the vision and expectations of the conference were ready and timely. To the communications-focused group led by Oluchi who made sure updates on CHAOSSCon Africa reached our audience and everyone was carried along in the buzz.

How did I forget Maryblessing (yours truly) who majorly was an errand girl for almost all the focused group ?. See the full list of the organising committee members on the event page here.

…..on community

As you already know, CHAOSS is big on community, in it our strength lies. We actively encouraged members to register and attend the conference, including members from other non-opensource communities. We gave out 100% discounted tickets to these communities to further encourage them, which in turn we hope got them excited about open source and not just CHAOSS as a project.

…..on learning

Remember I said we wanted attendees to experience true learning? Yes! We had the best keynote speakers grace the stage and amazing speakers who touched on different topics. Here are highlights of some of my favourite talks:

  1. Navigating the CHAOSS community: from beginner to Pro by Anita Ihuman our second keynote speaker, where she spoke on how new contributors in the CHAOSS community can get involved in the CHAOSS project using her experience as a case study. She touched on so many relatable stuff and for a moment it made me reflect on how far I have also come in the community looking back from the first day I joined.If you’re excited about what we do at CHAOSS, watch this session’s recap here. Please skip ahead to 1:15:42 of the video.
  2. Revitalize Your Community: Prioritizing Health and Well-Being for a Stronger, More Connected Community by Blessing Eloho. I was excited about this talk because it’s all we’re about in CHAOSS, and seeing someone preach more community health strategies was an absolute delight. The examples she gave were refreshing to hear and the points she made are truly essential.If you want to watch the recap, you can access it with the first link and skip ahead to 12:52 of the video.
  3. Lastly is The Open Source Launchpad: A Then & now look at tech careers by Justin Flory our first keynote speaker. It started off by defining what open source is, and I really loved his definition of open source at the conference. Justin’s talk touches on Tech careers and how open source fits into the puzzle. There’s an unending argument of if open source is free or not, and in this talk Justin let us know what the ‘free’ in open source is. Another point he talked about is what the future of building on ‘free’ stuff is.Again, if you want to watch the recap, click this link and skip ahead to 1:03:25 of the video.
  4. I also loved Brayan‘s talk but couldn’t get a lot while his session was ongoing but you should check the recap here. He spoke on Building Trust in AI: The Importance of Explainability in Open Source Projects.

…..on connecting

We had a few goals in mind, one of which is to connect opensourcerers together. When attendees leave the venue, what should they leave remembering? For us, we wanted that total experience package. Leaving nothing!

How do you feel looking at the above pictures? For me, I feel like going back to June 14, it was the best day.

…..on experience

Without a doubt, you could tell that CHAOSScon Africa 2023 was a blast.

I have made a carousel of some tweets from speakers and attendees, you should take a look below. You can see more of this by checking out the event hashtag #CHAOSSconAfrica2023.

lessons learned and future improvements

The conference went great, however, we had some setbacks. We sent out a post-event feedback form and I’ll make an attempt to analyse it.

  1. We asked that people rate their overall experience at CHAOSScon Africa. 83.3% of participants said it was excellent while 8.3% said it was average
  2. We asked if the event schedule and session information provided were clear and timely 50% said yes. 41.7% said it’s on average, while 8.3% said no.
  3. We asked if the sessions at the conference were relevant to their interests and expectations. 100% of participants said yes, it was.
  4. We asked if they had ample opportunities to network with other attendees and speakers. 41.7% said yes, definitely. 53.3% said yes, maybe.
  5. We asked that they give feedback on the conference venue and facilities. 66.7% of participants said it was great. 16.7% said it was good, while 8.3% said it was poor.
  6. We asked that they rate the quality and variety of food and refreshments provided. 75% of participants said it was excellent. 8.3% said it was good, another 8.3% said it was poor.
  7. To wrap it up, we asked if they would be interested in attending CHAOSScon Africa again in the future.100% of participants said yes, definitely!

This is an overview of all the efforts the different teams put in place to ensure the success of CHAOSScon and the results that emerged from this hard work.

Based on this feedback, there are a lot of things we’ll be looking into and making changes/improvements to for future events. The committee shows their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who filled out the feedback form, and if you haven’t yet, please use this link.

Wrapping up…

CHAOSScon Africa 2023 was a resounding success. We are thankful to all who made this a success, we appreciate our sponsors’ support and the dedication of every volunteer.

Without a doubt, the open source community in Africa is on an upward trajectory, accompanied by a surge of interest in open source technologies. The CHAOSS Africa community is committed to fostering a more sustainable future for open source technologies in Africa. In our pursuit of this goal, we are forging strategic partnerships and implementing comprehensive training programs. To stay tuned to these updates, do join the CHAOSS Project community.

Thank you for reading this far, we hope to see you soon!