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[Remote] Opportunities at Lanfrica​ Labs

Lanfrica Labs, with the support of The Masakhane Research Foundation, and FAIR Forward, an initiative of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), is announcing three open positions.

The internet today is made up of a rich, diverse tapestry of ideas, cultures, perspectives, opinions, and resources. Leveraging popular search engines, people access these ideas and perspectives through their internet resources (‘resources’ here is an umbrella term to refer to the various formats of information we find on the internet – encompassing Wikipedia pages, blog posts, academic papers, AI datasets, models, applications, and many more). The ability to find (or not find) a specific resource profoundly affects the representation of that resource on the internet. Therefore, the discoverability of resources (and perspectives, cultures) greatly affects the usage, and, to a large extent, the influence of that resource (and its origin community). In today’s fast-paced digital world, if you can not find something, it practically does not exist for you (for example, before Lanfrica Records, this resource about the Ibibio language was invisible on the internet because it was just on a Google sheet).

Africa is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse regions in the world – a continent rich in languages and traditional knowledge. Despite this, African languages are barely represented on the internet, and consequently, in digital technologies which make use of information from the internet. In today’s internet, there is a large dearth of African and indigenous perspectives, and current digital technologies do not support many African languages and viewpoints. As an example, Google Translate, a popular and widely used translation service, supports only a minuscule fraction of the more than 2000 African languages. Additionally, current voice technologies (Siri, Alexa, and Google Home) do not support a single African language! The African languages are not supported, not necessarily because of the lack of data for these languages, but primarily because the available data can not be found.

The few existing indigenous African resources, encompassing articles, papers, and language data, remain elusive within our current internet landscape. This obscurity stems from the under-representation of African languages, perspectives, and viewpoints on the internet, which renders these resources dispersed, siloed, or hidden. Such a lack of visibility severely impedes the digital representation of African language resources, as well as the advancement of African language technologies.

Lanfrica Records

Lanfrica Records aims to mitigate the difficulty encountered in the discovery of African language resources by creating a centralized, language-first catalog. For instance, if you’re looking for resources (linguistic datasets or research papers) in a particular African language, Lanfrica will point you to the different sources on the web that have such datasets in the desired language.

The Lanfrica Records platform adopts a participatory approach by allowing the general community to contribute resources. At Lanfrica, we link resources: Linking means using just the key metadata (title, short description, and url to where the resource is hosted). We then pre-process the url (find the African languages through our algorithms, if already not given, map it to the best resource type for it, connect it with other related resources on Lanfrica Records) and put it on the Lanfrica Records. Most importantly, Lanfrica does not only offer access to African language data sets for various applications (machine translation, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, sentiment analysis, text-to-speech, named entity recognition, question answering, media, etc.), but it also provides access to relevant scientific papers, existing software, projects, and language technologies. As such, it takes a truly holistic approach to covering resources for African languages.

Our overarching goals with this project are to expand the content of the platform, improve the user experience, and support community contributions. f you are interested in working with our team, have a look at the opportunities below. All the positions are remote.


Database & Python Developer

We’re seeking a skilled Database & Python Developer to become part of our dynamic team at Lanfrica Labs. You will be working remotely, and your roles and responsibilities will include interesting and engaging activities, which include: 

  1. Optimizing our database processes. You will be executing code for database tasks such as indexing, optimization, and record compaction to ensure efficient search retrieval.
  2. Designing a pipeline for automated OAI-PMH harvesting of data repositories. This involves implementing the use of the OAI protocol for metadata harvesting (OAI-PMH) and other processes to automatically add/update links to African language resources from our collaborators on a regular basis (daily, weekly updates).
  3. Working with our diverse and fun research team on innovative approaches to finding and linking African resources on the web.
Professional Requirements of the Candidate
  1. Proficient in Python programming language, with expertise in developing efficient and scalable code for database management and OAI-PMH protocols.
  2. It is advantageous to have proficiency in PHP.
  3. Skill in working with MongoDB is advantageous.
  4. Understanding of data repositories and the OAI-PMH protocol is helpful. If you do not know it, that is okay, as it can be learned.
  5. Strong problem-solving abilities and out-of-the box thinking to address unique challenges related to our work at Lanfrica Records – database optimization, and web metadata crawling.
  6. Effective communication skills and being comfortable working with online collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Github, etc.
  7. Prior NLP experience and/or interest in African languages and cultures is beneficial for spearheading initiatives aimed at discovering and curating African language resources.


  • You shall receive a total sum of KES 1,706,400.00 before tax (approximately USD 13,115 using the exchange rate – 130.11) for the full duration of the project. As the funding is received in KES, payment will be made using the exchange rate made available by the Central Bank of Kenya on the day of payment).

Front-End developer

We’re seeking a skilled front end engineer to join our dynamic team at Lanfrica Labs. Your role will encompass a variety of responsibilities, including:

  1. Design and implement UI components (including Figma designs) for version 2 of our Lanfrica Records platform, which will cover the User, Admin, and Records interfaces.
  2. Use modern front-end technologies (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, React/Vue.js) for responsive and visually appealing interfaces.
  3. Ensure cross-browser compatibility and optimise UI/UX for performance (especially for mobile and low-internet use cases).
  4. Collaborate with the backend team for seamless integration.
  5. Test, debug, and resolve UI/UX issues.


Professional Requirements of the Candidate

  1. Proven experience as a front-end developer, showcasing creativity in UI/UX design.
  2. Proficiency in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, demonstrating innovative implementation of designs.
  3. Experience with React.js or Vue.js, illustrating fun approaches to building interactive, culturally contextual, and visually appealing interfaces.
  4. Strong understanding of responsive design and cross-browser compatibility, applying solutions to ensure seamless user experiences across devices.
  5. Knowledge of UI/UX best practices, with a mindset to innovate and enhance user interactions.
  6. Ability to work independently but collaboratively, bringing ideas to the team and effectively implementing them.
  7. Excellent problem-solving skills, with an approach to finding elegant solutions to technical challenges.
  8.  Communication skills to collaborate with team members.



  • You shall receive a total sum of KES 1,023,840.00 before tax (approximately USD 7,869.03 using the exchange rate – 130.11) for the full duration of the project. As the funding is received in KES, payment will be made using the exchange rate made available by the Central Bank of Kenya on the day of payment).

Back-End developer

We’re seeking a skilled back-end engineer to join our dynamic team at Lanfrica Labs. Your role will encompass a variety of responsibilities, including:

  1. Enhance API to efficiently link MongoDB records with the website.
  2. Implement form submissions and page caching, among other required processes.
  3. Write server-side code for Front-End UI elements and optimise performance.
  4. Collaborate with Front-End developers for seamless integration of the User, Admin, and Records interfaces.
  5. Conduct testing and debugging for efficient functionality.


Professional Requirements of the Candidate

  1. Proficient experience in backend development, specifically with API development and integration.
  2. Proficiency in server-side languages like PHP or similar.
  3. Strong understanding of the MongoDB database is advantageous.
  4. Experience with form submissions, page caching, and code optimization techniques.
  5. Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to troubleshoot issues efficiently.
  6. Ability to work independently but as part of a team, with good communication skills.


  • You shall receive a total sum of KES 2,559,600.00 before tax (approximately USD 19,672.58 using the current exchange rate – 130.11) for the full duration of the project. As the funding is received in KES, payment will be made using the exchange rate made available by the Central Bank of Kenya on the day of payment).

Number of Individuals: 1 for each role.

Time commitment: part-time (we anticipate spending approximately 20 hours per week).

Duration: 6 months.

Location: Remote.

To apply, please click the button below and fill out the application form before May 24, 2024, 23:00 UTC. You will need to upload your CV and a motivation letter during the application process.

*In your cover letter, please put links to concrete projects you designed, where appropriate (for example in the front-end developer application).

Applications Have Closed!