OpenAQ believes creating a diverse community of change-makers across sectors and disciplines will drive equitable solutions to fight air inequality across the globe. The OpenAQ Community Ambassador Program is a 10-month program designed to amplify the impact of individuals who are committed to fighting air inequality through open data and community. The program includes interdisciplinary training, leadership development, and a supportive professional community. Learn more about the program here.
We’re very excited to announce the 5 ambassadors that will join the inaugural OpenAQ Community Ambassador cohort! They will be participating in a 10-month program focused on amplifying the impact of OpenAQ through their important initiatives dedicated to fighting air pollution in their communities. You can read about Farah, Aza, Melusi, Ray, and Josephine and their inspiring work below. Are you on OpenAQ Slack? Please join us in welcoming them to the OpenAQ Community!
Farah Kazi— Mumbai, India
Farah Kazi is a Biotechnologist and a former Data Visualiser. After graduating from Dr. D.Y. Patil University, Navi Mumbai, she pursued her post-graduate diploma in Social Communications Media at SCM Sophia College, University of Mumbai. Her interest in air pollution stems from when she began working at IndiaSpend, where she spent a significant part of her time analysing and visualising air quality data. She currently works at Waatavaran, where she undertakes air quality monitoring studies and builds communication strategies to initiate both public dialogue and to advance reforms in policies. Apart from fixating on numbers and grammar, she reads books and enjoys cooking.
Azjargal (Aza) Tsogtsaikhan — Ann Arbor, Michigan (her air quality work takes place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)
Aza is the Founder and Director of Breathe Mongolia — Clean Air Coalition, a grassroots nonprofit registered in the US and in Mongolia. A peaceful demonstration against air pollution at Times Square in New York City turned into a dedicated team of diverse backgrounds from ten countries to arm people with resources to end air pollution in Mongolia. Her team created a bilingual interactive platform to educate the public, collaborate with stakeholders, and conduct watchdog activities on the air pollution intervention policies of Mongolia. She is a trained Climate Reality Leader with a certificate from The SSPH+ Summer School in Public Health Policy, Economics and Management in Lugano, Switzerland. She earned two US Presidential Volunteer Service awards and IBM’s Gold badge for her volunteer work. Aza currently works at IBM in New York as an analyst after earning an MBA degree at Marriott School of Management of Brigham Young University in the US and a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. She seeks to use technology and her global opportunities to utilize top talent for the betterment of her homeland. When she’s not working, she loves to dance salsa, learn foreign languages and travel the world.
Melusi Molefe — Durban, South Africa
Melusi works as an air quality specialist in the city of Durban eThekwini Municipality’s Health Unit’s Pollution Control and Risk Management Department where he currently leads the implementation of the Air Quality Management Plan, including atmospheric information such emission inventories, dispersion modeling, health risk assessments and air pollution mitigation projects. Prior to joining the municipality, he worked as the environmental officer to the provincial department of environmental affairs. Melusi studied Chemical Engineering as an undergraduate and obtained Environmental Engineering Hons. and is currently pursuing a MSc Environmental Science degree in Air Quality Management. Melusi’s history with air quality goes a long way, growing up in a small industrial city where burning coal to stay warm during the winter was the norm. In his free time, he enjoys running and spending time outdoors with his family.
Ray Koçi — Tirana, Albania
Ray is the program director at the Relationship Centre (@Qendra_M) in Tirana, Albania, an organization that examines neighborhood planning through the lens of building safe and healthy spaces for children and their caregivers, with a particular focus improving quality of life through better air quality. She has extensive experience working with international organizations and local NGOs focused on environmental protection, human rights, and social issues that require communities to come together for solution-building. She has a background in Urban Planning and Management, which has helped set a path toward sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and sitting by the sea. She particularly enjoys reflecting on the people who have been part of her work, philosophy, and life.
Josephine Mbandi — Nairobi, Kenya
Josephine is an embedded system engineer and a co-founder of AfriSTEM Connection, a company working to increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and sustainability awareness for underserved communities in Africa using emerging technologies. She works on designs to develop, produce, test and maintain microprocessor-based computer hardware system with software that is designed to perform a dedicated function, either as an independent system or as a part of a large system. She enjoys bringing to life sustainable and effective IoT devices, linking them to easy access for end users and seeing the data inferenced from them help shape policy. She is passionate about building a community of technology abled learners and working on solutions to solve societal challenges. She enjoys tinkering with electronics and training young science enthusiasts in developing digital solutions. Coming from a small community in an Arid and Semi-Arid Area (ASAL), she has worked on projects that help resolve soil health, air quality monitoring, water management and solar power harvesting.