Journey into Code for Africa – Christelle Tchouatat Pandja

What have you heard about Code for Africa (CfA)? If nothing, this is your learning session. We have Christelle walking us through her journey into Code for Africa;

Hi Christelle, it is wonderful to speak with your today. Thank you for sparing time for our session
I am happy to be here and to share my story with the world. Thank you for inviting me.

Our audience would like to know who Christelle is
My name is Christelle Tchouatat Pandja from Cameroon. I am a Data Analyst, Trainer, and Community Coordinator at Code for Africa. CfA is an international organization that gives citizens access to actionable information through digital democracy solutions. We have branches in more than 20 African countries.

Please walk us through your STEM journey into Code for Africa
Since my early childhood, I have always been passionate about fields that others found very difficult and my skills in science subjects. I joined the science class after my junior high school certificate. In my final class of mathematics and physics in secondary school, I developed a great passion for technology. This is the reason why after obtaining my baccalaureate, I enrolled in the computer science field at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Yaoundé 1.

After obtaining my license, I joined the Women Techmakers and Google Developer Group communities to learn everything that revolves around technologies and data science. This was because I had developed a great passion for data science during my academic studies. As a result, my dedication and my work for the community have allowed a 50% increase in women who have joined the two communities.

This is how I was promoted to Leader of the Women Techmakers Yaoundé community and Co-organizer of the Google Developer Group Yaoundé community. My leadership position has allowed me to organize training for women to improve our skills in technologies that fascinate us.

I was appointed Central Africa mentor of the Women Techmaker communities because of my experience, my collaboration with other leaders, and my willingness to help other leaders with the challenges encountered in their communities. I also did a mini-training with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cameroon.

Part of my job is to build and manage the WanaData and Hack/hackers communities in Cameroon. This platform allows me to mentor women in data manipulation and organize training sessions to improve women’s skills in the fields of data science.

What challenges have you encountered on your career journey?
I financed my academic studies by my own means. I gave rehearsal lessons to high school students to be able to finance my studies. For my job, my main challenge is with managing women’s communities; it’s not an obvious task because of various reasons that can’t be exhausted here.

Tell us about some of your sources of inspiration, especially when faced with challenges
Like any human being, the desire to create a path and to be a source of motivation for other women who will go through the same difficulties.

Let’s talk about your accomplishments, awards, and moments of recognition
I was invited by Google twice in a row to the Google Developer Group and Women Techmakers Community Leaders Summit.

My other happy moment was getting appointed Regional Mentor of the Women Techmakers communities of Central Africa by the Google Developer Relations SSA team and since then I have worked to activate several communities in the Central Africa sub-region.

I train women every day in data with the aim of increasing their competence in this field and organize several regional summits.

Code for Africa

Who is Christelle outside of work?
I am married and a mother of two children.

What is your favourite quote?
“Do school well and school will do you good” ~ anonymous.

Code for Africa interview

Please give a word of encouragement to a young girl in STEM
A girl is able to express herself in the same way or even more than a boy in scientific fields. Above all, keep faith in yourself and your aspirations in life. As a girl, you have the same assets as a boy.

It is such an honour to host you, Christelle. May you keep doing amazing things at Code for Africa and all other avenues of influence that you are part of.

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