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At Sunbird AI, we want to provide leadership in AI for social good throughout Africa.

Sunbird AI is a non-profit organisation registered in Uganda with a 501(c)(3) Equivalence Determination status. Sunbird AI was registered in 2019 with the goal of developing practical AI systems for social good and in turn generating evidence for decision making and policy through these systems.

In particular, we aim for leadership by example: we develop open systems that can be replicated or expanded by others. For this to happen, we are committed to open source and open research, so that others can build on what we are doing.

Sunbird AI has a practical focus, and systems development work is in response to a specific need from some partner organisation. Our projects start life in discussion with local partner organisations, where we assess if technology can be used practically, ethically and usefully to solve a problem. Not all of our projects involve building systems for end users, though.

We are also interested in creating the resources (e.g. software or datasets) which enable others to create practical AI systems. We also aim to be a neutral source of advice for African institutions on the practical possibilities, benefits and risks of AI technology.

For example, the ethics of artificial intelligence are a complex and rapidly evolving field, where it is necessary to evaluate biases, privacy concerns and factors in data technology: as well as maintaining ethical standards on our own projects, we wish to help other organisations to do so. We are also committed to building African technical capacity, in order to have a team who understand both the social context and also the technological opportunities.

501c3 Equivalence Determination

The Team

Benjamin
Akera

Software Engineer

Engineer
Bainomugisha

Director

Ernest
Mwebaze

EXECUTIVE Director

Isaac
Owomugisha

Software Engineer

Jimmy
Mpabanobi

Finance Manager

Joel Tibabwetiza
Muhanguzi

Embedded Systems Engineer

John
Quinn

Director

Lillian
Nabukeera

Administration Manager

Lydia Sanyu
Naggayi

Software Engineer

Nasser
Kawesa

Embedded Systems Engineer

Peace
Tumuheki

Operations Manager

Solomon
Nsumba

Software Engineer

DAPHINE
NKUNDA

COMMS & Engagement Lead

The Board

Davis
Adieno

Chair

Director of Programs for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD).

Rhona
Mijumbi

BOARD MEMBER

Founding director of Center for Rapid Evidence Synthesis (ACRES) at Makerere University.

Sarah T.
Lucas

BOARD MEMBER

Program Officer, Evidence Informed Policymaking at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Kenneth
Legesi

BOARD MEMBER

CEO/COO and Co-Founder Ortus Africa Capital.

 

Engineer
Bainomugisha

BOARD MEMBER

Founding director of Sunbird AI and Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Makerere University.

Partnership

Benjamin Akera
Software Engineer

Benjamin Akera is a Software Engineer at Sunbird. He focuses on machine learning and applying methods from research into production in order to build scalable adaptable solutions. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from Makerere University and is currently pursuing a masters in Computer Science at McGill University under the supervision of Prof. David Rolnick.

Before that, he worked in the intersection of AI for climate change mitigation and Humanitarian applications of machine learning at Mila – Quebec AI Institute advised by Prof. Yoshua Bengio. He also worked as a machine learning research intern with the R&D team at Sama in Montreal where he worked on computer vision methods for automated data annotation for ambitious AI applications.  Before this, he was part of the Makerere University AI lab working on machine learning solutions in agriculture and malaria diagnosis in Uganda.

Engineer Bainomugisha

Director 

Founding Director of Sunbird AI and Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Makerere University

Engineer Bainomugisha combines his vast experience in ComputerScience Education and Social Impact Research in Africa spanning over 15 years. He has pioneered and led several social impact research projects including, AirQo, a Google-supported initiative that leverages IoT and AI technologies for environmental air pollution monitoring and analysis in African cities to foster resilient and healthy urban communities.

Through his work, Engineer advocates for harnessing computational intelligence and tools to benefit humanity. He is one of the founding Directors at Sunbird AI. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Makerere University.

Ernest Mwebaze 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

Ernest Mwebaze has had a dual career in academia and in industry. He possesses over 10 years of teach- ing experience in computer science and machine learning. While at Makerere University he co-found- ed the Makerere University Artificial Intelligence research lab leading it to prominence in the field of practical implementation and deployment of artificial intelligence solutions. 

In industry he has worked at the Google AI research lab in Ghana and the UN Pulse lab in Kampala where he focused on practical applications of artificial intelligence to tackle developmental challenges in agriculture, utility estimation and different focus areas of the SDGs. He is passionate about using artificial intelligence to improve society particularly in developing parts of the world. He is currently the executive director of Sunbird AI.

Isaac Owomugisha
Software Engineer

Isaac Owomugisha is a software developer who has worked on various projects encompassing a variety of technologies ranging from mobile applications to web applications. At Sunbird AI, Isaac builds data pipelines, deploys applications, does data analysis, and is learning about AI.

Jimmy Mpabanobi
Finance Manager
Joel Tibabwetiza Muhanguzi
Embedded Systems Engineer

John Quinn

Director

John Quinn has been working in artificial intelligence for nearly twenty years, and within Africa since joining Makerere University as a lecturer in 2007. As well as being one of the Directors of Sunbird AI, he is also a Senior Software Engineer at Google Ghana, where he currently leads a team that processes satellite imagery across the continent to add buildings and roads to Google Maps. He was previously the technical lead of Pulse Lab Kampala, where he worked on language technology for analysing community radio as the basis of a UN early warning system, among other projects.

Lillian Nabukeera

Administration Manager

Lilian Teddy Nabukeera is an Administrative Assistant at Sunbird AI and she is well versed in administrative works, financial management and public relations. She also has a background of mass media communication and entrepreneurship. Lilian works with both the Makerere University AI Research team and the Sunbird AI team.

Lydia Sanyu Naggayi

Software Engineer

Lydia Sanyu Naggayi is a Software Developer with a background in web development using Python and Ruby. Driven by her interest in the growth and numerous applications of AI, she joined Sunbird AI to venture into creating useful applications in AI. At Sunbird, she does Data Engineering and Data Analysis tasks as part of the pipeline for various AI projects. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algiers, Algeria.

Nasser Kawesa

Embedded Systems Engineer

Peace Tumuheki

Operations Manager

Peace Buhwamatsiko Tumuheki is an Operations Manager at Sunbird. She possesses extensive experience and expertise in strategic planning and management, financial management, and project administration and management as well as monitoring and evaluation of learning processes and outcomes.

Solomon Nsumba

Software Engineer

DAPHINE NKUNDA

COMMUNICATIONS & Engagement Lead

Daphine’s background is in development communications. She is passionate about the aspect of communications that aims to improve the lives of structurally marginalized people/ communities.

Her experience includes integrating communications and research to develop citizen-centered policies. Daphine’s experience cuts across a multitude of development initiatives in Health, Youth Skilling, Livelihood Assistance, Refugee Support, Legal Aid, and most recently Artificial Intelligence for evidence-based, inclusive systems.

Davis Adieno

Chair

Director of Programs for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD).

Mr. Davis Adieno is the Director of Programs for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), based in Nairobi, Kenya. He fosters multi stakeholder partnerships at the regional level and across sectors through national data roadmap processes that support regional and country priorities for investments and innovations in data ecosystems in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. 

Davis previously worked as the Global Partnership’s Regional Director for Africa. Prior to this, Davis worked for CIVICUS World Alliance as Senior Advisor of Data, Accountability, and Sustainable Development, and for Development Initiatives as Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships, and Data Use.

Rhona Mijumbi

BOARD MEMBER

Founding director of Center for Rapid Evidence Synthesis (ACRES) at Makerere University.

Rhona Mijumbi-Deve is the founding director of the Centre for Rapid Evidence Synthesis (ACRES) at Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences. She is also a senior lecturer of public policy at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), where part of her portfolio is to head the Malalwi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Clinical Research Programme’s Policy Unit. Rhona trained as a medical doctor and following several years of working as a clinician and researcher, she has concentrated her efforts in understanding, supporting and improve the science-policy nexus. 

Rhona has been instrumental in building and advocating for the use of data, information and research for strengthening decisions and policies in the region and globally, and has been instrumental in scaling up the concept of rapid evidence synthesis for policymaking. She holds a Masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, another in International Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy.

Sarah T. Lucas

BOARD MEMBER
Program Officer, Evidence Informed Policymaking at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Sarah T. Lucas serves as a program officer for Evidence-Informed Policymaking at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The goal of her grantmaking is that governments in East and West Africa systematically use data and evidence to improve social and economic policies, and ultimately lives.

Previously, Sarah worked with the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as MCC’s Country Team Lead for Liberia and as senior policy adviser in the MCC’s Department of Policy and Evaluation. Sarah also held multiple positions at the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based policy research center focused on global development. Sarah has traveled and conducted policy analysis throughout Africa and Central America and worked for over three years with local NGOs in southern Mexico.


Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Wellesley College and a masters degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Political and Economic Development from Harvard School of Government.

Kenneth Legesi

BOARD MEMBER

CEO/Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Ortus Africa Capital.

Kenneth is the CEO/Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Ortus Africa Capital. He is responsible for providing leadership and strategic oversight towards achieving the firm’s vision and mission to harness investment into and finding capital for entrepreneurs and businesses to drive Africa’s growth. As the CIO he oversees venture and debt investment vehicles managed by Ortus Africa Capital.

He has prior experience co-founding and angel investing in companies including ventures in fintech/e-commerce, research and data analytics, transport & logistics, energy & infrastructure sectors. He likes to work with and support entrepreneurs to grow through a venture building model.

Prior to Ortus Africa Capital, he was a financial advisor and management consultant at Deloitte with a focus on infrastructure, real estate, energy and utilities and financial services, initially in the UK and then in East Africa, based in Uganda. Previously, Kenneth trained and began his career as a civil and environmental engineer working with engineering firms in Uganda and the UK including Atkins Plc (now SNC Lavalin), Black & Veatch, Royal Haskoning and Proman Consult. He has advised on pioneer infrastructure and real estate projects across the globe including in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Middle East, Asia, UK & Europe.

Kenneth holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from Makerere University and a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering with Business Management from Imperial College London. He has completed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program and is a CFA Charterholder.

Engineer Bainomugisha

BOARD MEMBER

Founding director of Sunbird AI and Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Makerere University.

Engineer Bainomugisha combines his vast experience in ComputerScience Education and Social Impact Research in Africa spanning over 15 years. He has pioneered and led several social impact research projects including, AirQo, a Google-supported initiative that leverages IoT and AI technologies for environmental air pollution monitoring and analysis in African cities to foster resilient and healthy urban communities.

Through his work, Engineer advocates for harnessing computational intelligence and tools to benefit humanity. He is one of the founding Directors at Sunbird AI. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Makerere University.