SSA Community Summit 2019

Mercy Ikpe
11 min readSep 17, 2019


on Sep 27, 2019

Developer Student Club (DSC) is a program by Google developers for Tertiary Institution students to build their Mobile, Web Development, Machine Learning, and Product Design skills and knowledge while solving local business problems.

As a DSC Lead my aim is to use technology to make a difference, not only in my school but also in my community.

Every year Google brings together, GDG organizers and WTM ambassadors across Sub-saharan Africa to learn, share best practices, connect, network and grow their community-building skills to help increase the quality of their events and impact for attendees.

This year, Developer Student Clubs Leads from 100 campuses across Sub Saharan Africa joined them for this amazing gathering at Alisa Swiss Spirit Hotel and Suites, Accra, Ghana.

The annual Regional Community Summit provides a platform for all organizers to get together and debrief on the latest community strategy and updates, get meaningful training to improve on their community leadership skills while learning from each other through group interactions.


My flight was scheduled for Wednesday 11th Sep 2019 11:00 am. By 9 am I was at the airport, check-in was by 10. While waiting, I met Sodiq, Ben, Jeff, and a couple of guys who were also going for the summit.

After check-in, I was assigned a window seat on the plane (Africa World Airline AW 0213 seat 14A) by this time I did not know the folks I went with by their names so we just manage to introduce ourselves.

After we landed, we had a shuttle from the plane to the main arrival Hall, we filled the immigration form and our passports were stamped then the Swiss Spirit Hotel bus picked us to the hotel.

At the hotel, I met other Leads from other countries, after they checked our passports, we were assigned rooms, the room was comfortable with bunk sized beds. I arrived before my roommate so I called my family people and showed them the room 🤪

After settling in, we went for dinner. I was sick and couldn’t mingle with people so I went straight from dinner to my bed, my roommate came later, A lady from Code d’Ivoire, I had issues understanding her accent but adapted after that night cos we talked about Ladies in Tech.


The DSC Summit kick-started on Thursday 12th Sept 2019 with lightening and electrifying welcome note by SSA DSC Program Manager our very own number one in the person of Auwal Samu giving his Keynote Speech and also talks from some Google developers.

Followed by the Google Global Program Manager Erica K Hanson where she presented The 7 Ps of building a successful community. she had ahead with some group discussion where we shared ideas and discussed Purpose (Why do your community exist?) and People (Who are your members?).

On my desk is a group of amazing people that word cannot describe we discussed how DSC is rising in our respective communities. People shared a case study on my desk of how we having a number of developer newbies, how we are going to engage new members to DSC, strategies followed for the selection of Core Team and Staff advisers, Challenges that we are all facing, how are we going to tackle.

Global Google Program Manager and SSA DSC gives a touch word and later by SSA Program Manager number one in the person of Aniedi Udo-Obong giving his Keynote Speech, leaving us with three key points.

  • Be Inspired
  • Think Big
  • Take Action

After his keynote, we went ahead to have a tea break and received our DSC shirt from Organizers with our Tags

It was thrilling and had the privilege of listening to other inspiring and thrilling talks from other speakers at the summit. It was quite interesting and amazing

It was a great Group discussion, where I found a very viable people from South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zimbabwe this table means and speak a lot from view. They have able to share with us the Tech community in their respective countries and I was able to share with them how I planned to carry out ma Bi-weekly sessions throughout the years.

Here we go the tea break is over, One funny thing is I have kept close tabs on how Googler’s give presentations of late. Key things I have noticed in their presentation is ‘Simplicity’ and ‘Relatability”. This particular speaker had this in high proportion alongside others. I enjoyed Mr. John Kimani’s from Kenya how he cheers and talks about the GDE program and ways to get into the program as a community organizer.

Mr. John Kimani is a Sub-Saharan Africa Program manager for the GDE program. He talked about the benefits of being a GDE as follows:

  • Acknowledgment by Google (Being an acknowledged developer or technologist by Google).
  • Access to the Google Engineering team’s projects and products (Enjoying the beta release of certain products where you help test and give insightful feedback on some of their products before it is fully launched to end-users).
  • A GDE has global access to professionals. (A GDE is exposed to Google’s global partner program with lots of business to help scale and lots of industry experts to connect with).
  • Invitations to Events. (GDE’s get support to travel to several conference and events all across the year).

He also gave a detailed breakdown of how to become a GDE.

  • A prospective GDE must have a track record of consistent tech contribution either via Tech Blogs, YouTube video tutorials, or community speaking and workshop facilitation.
  • A prospective GDE must be technically grounded in one of the listed tech areas on the GDE programs website.
  • A prospective GDE must have a visible community footprint.

Talk by Samuel Mugisha: Our Solution Challenge Story

Google DSC Solutions Challenge is a worldwide Program that calls for Developers, Coders, and learners from all over the world to put their best feet forward in solving a problem with a Social cause.

His School club won the 2019 challenge they built an app for vaccination. He explained the process they took to solve the problem.

Talk by DSC Mentors

We had 5 guys share their keynotes with us, how to run a successful DSC year. They were selected to be DSC Mentors because they made an impact in their time and were chosen to guide us this year.

We asked them questions and shared our challenge, they shared their stories and successes too.

Women Tech Makers Dinner party

At the party, we talked about women, singing, rap and dance competition. I competed for my group in dance, we had dinner there.

We were made to sit in groups for the workshop

WTM Dinner party

At the party, we talked about women, singing, rap and dance competition. I competed for my group in dance, we had dinner there.


We had a welcoming note from SSA DSC Program Manager Auwal MS

Is all about Code lab session from google expert, we learn new and cool stuff

Workshop 1: Explore machine learning by Robert John

Workshop 2: Qwiklabs by Arman Herzarkhani

This particular part was the highlights of the summit for me. Having to connect with GDE Robert from my City Kaduna to take us a very vast Journey of Machine Learning, I made it with an awesome help from a very good friend of mine Umar Yusuf DSC lead Kaduna State university, I might say SSA DSC and GDG Summit is one summit in Africa that brings together a huge number of young African minds for a conference where they can share their stories and learn from each other and see the similarities and differences of their experience and how it connects us rather than divide us but inspires us to do better.

I made this from the class

QWIKLABS workshop
Summit Day 2 lunch

Workshop 3: Design Thinking

At first I was wondering what impact the class will make, we all know designs, I assumed, but our speaker used another strategy, we were grouped to think of problems students encounter in school, my group scurried down the process and quickly arrived at creating a mobile app that helps freshers navigate their way in school.

Lade Tawak checked our works and told us we were doing it wrong, that we’re supposed to brainstorm on the problem, not the solution, expand the problem, think about the problem, why is it a problem?

how often does it occur?

what class of students have the challenge?

We started real Design thinking, we thought of all possible problems, we used stickers to mark occurrence and frequency. This process helped us understand problem thinking.

Joining GDG and WTM Leads for a combined Session

An interactive and engaging workshop session from Googler Rana Abdulhamid on Gender Equality in Tech. We talked intrinsically about the gender equality issue in the world and the solutions to how we can bridge the gap of the 70% male to 30% females in tech statistics. She shared the stories of notable women in today’s tech space and what they are doing to ensure more women’s participation in building today’s and tomorrow’s solutions that do solve problems women and the world is facing. Comments were made about having to actively get women into tech from a young age, saying what many learned from their homes while growing up in Africa families were factors that affect their participation in STEM and general tech-related positions.

We were made to answer the questions in groups, share our opinions.

From that session, we got to know some guys think women shouldn’t earn as much as men because they go on a frequent break from work. And that women are sick too often so men should earn higher even when they’re in the same role, people share their opinion and what they’re doing about promoting women in tech.

As part of the sessions, we were shown Prominent Women in Tech in Africa doing great things. This session was important to me cos it made me think if a woman can be a Doctor in Computer Science I can be A professor in Computer Science. Yea!. That raised the bar of my dreams.

DevFest Accra

We had a shuttle from the hotel to the venue, after the breakout session I went to Accra Mall, did window shopping.

Then I got back to DevFest, had a shot with a team of Developers from Uyo, then I joined the 2nd bus back to the Swiss Spirit Hotel.

We had a Cultural Dinner Party

OMG see food, see dance, DJ was so on point, we ate and danced till I sweated then I used the stairs instead of the elevator in the hotel, went through 2nd, 3rd, 4th floor. Got to my room and slept.


My flight time from Accra was 2 pm, I got into Nigeria around 4 pm.

Moving Forward

I got into Nigeria, pumped and ready to do the work! I see the impact I can make, the growth I can cause, the lives that can be helped. It’s going to be an exciting one year.

I’ll be starting a new chapter, my focus is to build a firm foundation and structure for DSC in my school so that the next DSC lead can build on it.

I’m looking forward to seeing other DSC leads around the world at Google IO 2020. I’m also looking forward to mentoring new leads on how I started a new chapter in my school.

The team that made it happened

Erica Hanson, Aniedi Udo-Obong, Auwal MS, Ada Nduka Oyom, Rana Abdelhamid

Thank you!

follow my school as we share the experience

Photo album:



Mercy Ikpe

Techie in the morning, Techie in the day. Techie at night.