Frequently Asked Questions

How do I compete in Zindi competitions?
You will build a machine learning model based on the training data provided. You will submit your model results for the test dataset. Your submission will be automatically evaluated against the test dataset using the evaluation metrics created for the competition. During the competition you will be able to see your score on the Public Leaderboard - this shows your results for a portion of the test data. Your final Private Leaderboard score, which represents your model result evaluated on the remaining portion of the test dataset, will be revealed on the closing date of the competition.
How do I get started with a Zindi competition? I am having trouble entering a competition
  • Read this article to help you get started
  • Make sure you create an account and sign in to Zindi
  • Browse competitions here
  • Join the competition - you must enter to download the data
  • Familiarise yourself with the competition information and rules
  • Download the data
  • Build your model in any language, using any open-source packages, using the training data provided. Specific requirements will be in the Competition Rules.
  • Submit the results of your model against the test set provided (specific requirements will be in the Competition Rules).
  • Make sure your submission file is formatted correctly (see Sample Submission file). Remember to set your index to False.
  • See yourself on the Public Leaderboard!
  • The final winners will be announced at the close of the competition
Can I join Zindi even if I am not African?
Yes. Anyone can join Zindi and enter our competitions. Some competitions however, may reserve certain categories of prizes for data scientists living in Africa. We do this to support and grow the data science community in Africa. Any such restrictions will be stated in the specific competition rules.
Do I need to submit my code?
During a competition, you will submit only the results of your model against a test dataset, not the code or the model itself. However, if you win a competition and are eligible for prize money, you will be required to submit your code.
How do I win?
The most accurate results against the test set wins. Accuracy will be measured with a set algorithm stated in the competition rules. Examples of algorithms include: Mean Absolute Error, Weighted Mean Absolute Error, Root Mean Squared Error, Log Loss, Area Under Curve (AUC), Mean Average Precision. You will be ranked based on your best submission.
Will I give up rights to my solution if I enter a competition?
For most competitions, upon submission of your solution (i.e. code/model), rights to the solution are transferred to Zindi and/or the competition host. Please see the specific rules for each competition. Remember that in many competitions, shared data can only be used for the purposes of the competition.
How will I get my prize money? Are there any conditions?
The prize money will be paid directly to you in full. You are responsible for any fees or taxes liable in your home country upon receiving the funds. Any relevant conditions will be stated in the Competition Rules and Terms of Use.
What is the Public and Private Leaderboard?
The leaderboard that you see while a competition is still open is the Public Leaderboard. For most competitions, unless stated otherwise, this leaderboard is based on a portion of the test data. When you make a submission, your submission is evaluated against this portion of the test data and you are ranked on the Public Leaderboard. The results you submit are also simultaneously ranked on a Private Leaderboard that uses the remaining test data. At the close of the competition, the Private Leaderboard will be made public. Prizes are awarded based on final Private Leaderboard scores.
Why is my Private Leaderboard score so different to my Public Leaderboard score?
Your Private Leaderboard score evaluates your model against a holdout portion of the test dataset, only revealed on the close of the competition. If your Public and Private Leaderboard scores differ drastically your model is likely overfitting.
Are teams allowed?
Yes, teams are allowed for specific competitions. Remember, teams are subject to Team Rules.
What does Zindi mean?
Zindi is a play on two Swahili words: zidisha (increase) and mshindi (winner). For us, it means to keep growing and succeeding in everything you do.
I haven’t received an email verification email
Get your confirmation email resent.
How can I delete my account?
Sign into Zindi and navigate to "Edit Profile" > "Settings". Once you initiate the deletion process, you will immediately be logged out and your account will be completely deleted in two weeks. Deletion will be cancelled if you sign in during this two week period. Once your account is deleted, discussions, comments and participation in closed competitions will be anonymised. Your participation in active competitions will also be retracted.
I want to host a hackathon using the Zindi platform

We will be launching built-in hackathon functionality soon. In the meantime, please email as we’ve run several successful hackathons for other organisations.

To run a hackathon successfully, we need a good data set. This includes:

  1. A training data set for people to train their model on. Usually 75-80% of the full data set.
  2. A test data set with everything except the target variable. Usually about 25% of the full data set.
  3. A reference file. Usually a 2-column table with a unique ID and the correct target from the test set.

We prefer data to be under 10GB and we have the main error metrics to choose from. Additionally, a Google doc will be shared with the host to collaborate on the hackathon.

I want to host a competition on Zindi
Zindi competitions are structured challenges where our community of data scientists try to solve a machine learning problem. Hosting a competition means that you provide Zindi with a data set, and we structure it into a challenge for the community. Contact us and let us help you find the right solution.
I want to sponsor a competition
Contact us and let us help you find the right solution.
Can I use competition data for a school or university project?
It depends on the dataset and host. Please email us on to enquire about specific datasets.
I have a dataset I would like to share with Zindi and the community
You can post a link to the dataset on the Zindi discussion board, or if you think it would be a good dataset for a competition, kindly email
How do I become a Zindi Ambassador?

Our Ambassadors play a critical role in creating awareness and social involvement at the grassroots level. Being an Ambassador is a volunteer position.

At a high-level, we envisage the Ambassador role to encompass the following:

  • Promote Zindi on social media and during speaking engagements;
  • Encourage data scientists in your community to sign-up on Zindi;
  • Continue to run hackathons, meet-ups, and training events that support the data science community in your city/country;
  • Connect Zindi with potential partners, data sets, and competition hosts in your city/country
  • Provide feedback and support to ensure Zindi continues to improve and better serve data scientists in Africa.

We are currently expanding our ambassador network and we have cohort intakes in January, April and August. Look out for the announcements on our social media to apply for an ambassador position. In case of any inquires, reach out to

How are points calculated?
Zindi awards points for participation in competitions, and the number of points awarded is based on your placement (those closer to the top of the leaderboard will receive more points at the end of the competition). You can read more in section 10 on the rules page.
Can I still participate in a competition if it is closed?
Yes, you can still make submissions and receive a score. However, your score will not reflect on the leaderboard as it is sealed after the close of a competition.
Do you have other questions that were not answered? Please contact us!