Our Origin Story


The Beginning

ZODAJ began in 2018 as a small group of students at Carnegie Mellon University who shared a concern for the growth and development of the African continent. What began as a mere idea blossomed into this collective when Founder Awa Ndiaye proposed to channel their mutual passion and concern into a larger project that could make a positive impact in African countries. She believed that with their diverse knowledge, devotion, and creativity, their team could create technological solutions to promote growth in Africa. With a firm objective to increase the quality of life in Africa, ZODAJ was born under their unified leadership.

Building A Collective

The first official assembly of the newfound team was held in August of 2018. Even with this initial meeting, it was clear that action needed to be taken now. The African population was projected to rise exponentially while classrooms continued to exceed occupant capacity, students were giving up education to financially support their families, and jobs and opportunities remained few and far in between. The ZODAJ team needed to expand, and so it did-- in pursuit of diversity in thought, background, and education.

Pursuing Diversity

The team recruited rigorously both within and outside of Carnegie Mellon to bring a diverse portfolio of skills to the discussion surrounding Africa’s growth and potential development. Their efforts resulted in the company we have today, composed of members with pursuits in Computer Science, Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration, International Relations & Politics, as well as those of various backgrounds– from native-born Africans from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ethiopia to first-generation Americans originally from the Caribbean and Central America.

The members of ZODAJ today are even more diverse in school, major, interest, and culture. However, we are bound by a shared commitment to make a positive impact for Africa by applying our unique perspectives, creativity, and knowledge.

A Hope For Change

Since ZODAJ Africa’s humble beginnings in Pittsburgh, PA, our team has grown to a global melange of talent. With each individual’s drive, passion, and expertise, ZODAJ employees and board members continue to push the company towards its mission. Our differences only make us stronger, more inventive, and united. We constantly question our assumptions, operate with curiosity, and strive for innovation to contribute to the development of Africa as a whole. We commit ourselves to living our mission to address Africa’s developmental problems to pave the way for self-sufficiency.