Strathmore University, through its ICT and Innovation Centre, @iLabAfrica, has partnered with the Communications Authority of Kenya (The Authority) to carry out research in spectrum innovation through Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) techniques and Cybersecurity. The MoU signed between the two institutions is meant to achieve a number of objectives which include the following:
- To research and develop policies on the evolving innovation on the spectrum.
- To research and formulate the implementation model for the use of TV White Spaces which is one of the most promising spectrum concepts to achieve last mile connectivity.
- To research on the implementation and adoption of 5G and the accompanying technical and regulatory frameworks.
- To jointly develop capacity on spectrum management skills
- To research and build capacity in the domain of Cybersecurity through collaborative technical development, information sharing and technical assistance.
This partnership comes at a time when Strathmore University has already joined a set of three other African Universities’ which include Copperbelt University of Zambia, University of Malawi (Malawi) and the University of Ghana in a collaboratively funded project by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom with the project being spearhead by the University of Strathclyde, located in Glasgow, Scotland. The project’s main aim is to investigate how the use of dynamic spectrum access techniques and geo-location database technology combined with software defined radio (SDR) implementations can be used to enable effective and efficient wireless networks built at scale in developing countries in order to support affordable Internet using the shared spectrum resource.
The official launch of the work plan between the Communications Authority of Kenya and Strathmore University took place on the 3rd of January 2019 at the Communications Authority offices drawing an open roadmap of collaboration among local researchers working on the spectrum innovation techniques to join in on the work led by Strathmore University in achievement of the last mile connectivity through Dynamic Spectrum Access which is meant to clearly elucidate informative results on the regulatory framework, technical implementations and business models that can be adopted in the implementations of TV White Spaces and 5G. The Authority set out a strategic agenda to: develop professional partnerships with research institutions, build adequate capacity on Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum technology and policy research, issue trial authorisations for scientific research, conduct actual measurements and perform analysis, participate in regional and international RF spectrum research meetings, review national spectrum policy to address emerging radio technologies and develop guidelines and regulations to allow policy formulation. The current ongoing workplan is the initial desktop survey of regulatory status of TV White Spaces regionally and internationally as other plans are put in place for the three-year partnership.
Hosted by Strathmore University, @ilabAfrica this year hosted the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit, is an annual summit that celebrates the goals championed by the Legatum center in MIT alongside the Mastercard Foundation.
The peak of the summit is the award of the Zambezi prize, an annual prize for two hundred thousand dollars in in cash prizes and a chance to attend an entrepreneurial boot camp hosted in MIT. The prize is awarded to an entrepreneurial venture that incorporates financial inclusion through both financial technology but also creates social change. Megan Mitchell, who appeared on behalf of the Legatum center emphasised that the end product of the venture had to be impactful on the society. Over 500 applications were received for the Zambezi prize and in narrowing down the applicants, certain criteria, as explained by Ashley Onyango, the program manager for the Mastercard Foundation had to be met. This included the combination of problem solving with economic growth in Africa, providing accessible, affordable financial inclusion to the unemployed and underemployed, and assisting in lifting people out of poverty. The boot camp, a part of the prize, is instrumental in shaping the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of the prize winner as well as enable them to create a network to better scale their venture.
This year’s event was marked with vison talks, short pitches and of course, the promotion of the ten finalists in the running for the Zambezi prize and its award, at the conclusion of the event.
The vision talks focused on entrepreneurs that discussed not only their successes, but also their losses and the lessons that stemmed from them. Rachel Balshan, the Deputy CEO of MFS Africa, detailed her experience in building the company and learning how to make decisions that better shaped the future of MFS Africa and led them more clearly to their goals.
In addition, up and coming entrepreneurs were given a chance to pitch their ideas for ninety seconds, enabling them to get a platform and potential connections to drive their entrepreneurial ventures.
The finalists of the prize included agricultural ventures that targeted smallholders and enabled them to access services such as investment capital, access to small loans and micro finance, real time agricultural education, access to household goods for women and the opportunity to infuse waste collection with a redeemable point system.
The winner of the prize was WALA, a venture set up to bring digital banking to underbanked consumers in Africa using a combination of cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence.
In all, the summit exemplified the overarching goals of the prize and spurred discussion about how to create innovative, financially inclusive technology that will spur the growth of smallholders in Africa.
HACKING INCLUSION THROUGH FINANCIAL INNOVATION AND PRINCIPLED ENTREPRENEURSHIP
@iBizAfrica and Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (MIT Legatum Center) is pleased to be hosting the 2018 Open Mic Africa Summit. The theme of the 2018 Summit is “Hacking Inclusion Through Financial Innovation And Principled Entrepreneurship.” Supported by Strathmore University’s iBiz Africa and Go Gaga.
The Open Mic Africa Summit is an annual two-day summer event that is produced by the
Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (MIT Legatum Center) and that brings together leaders from the MIT and the African entrepreneurship communities to celebrate Africa’s vibrant and rising entrepreneurial scene. The event takes place on a different African country every year: the 2017 inaugural edition took place in Lagos, Nigeria, and the 2018 edition will take place in Nairobi on August 28th-29th .
The event will serve as the award ceremony for the Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion, MIT’s flagship competition on financial inclusion in Africa. The event will also unveil and celebrate the winners of the African region of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC). The event will kick off on the evening August 28th with an exclusive VIP reception at Radisson Blu Nairobi with government officials, university scholars, investors and the MIT alumni community.he reception is followed by a full day conference at Strathmore University on August 29th that is open to all local
entrepreneurs, students, investors,
The goal of the event is to inspire, celebrate and honor the local entrepreneurial ecosystem through principled entrepreneurship, engage MIT’s African community and a create meaningful dialogue among all stakeholders. The event consists of a VIP networking cocktail evening reception for the MIT alumni community and selected leaders and entrepreneurs, followed by a full day conference that is open to all local entrepreneurs, students, investors, change agents and stakeholders who believe in improving lives through principled entrepreneurship. The conference features entrepreneurial keynote speeches, vision talks, fireside chats and MIT workshops led by MIT’s leading Entrepreneurs-In-Residence.
This year, the agenda includes vision talks by previous Zambezi finalists; fireside chats and speeches led by MIT faculty; a discussion on building an inclusive ecosystem in Kenya; and an MIT workshop that provides a hands-on approach to addressing some of the main challenges to financial inclusion. The winners of the Zambezi and IIC competitions will have an opportunity to attend an MIT faculty-led leadership boot camp on campus in late November.
Collaboration Opportunity with Strathmore University – @iBizAfrica
The Legatum Center seeks to to collaborate with@iBizAfricato host the August 29th conference of the Open Mic Africa (OMA) Summit on Strathmore’s campus and to make the conference available to Strathmore’s students and to the local entrepreneurial community.
The OMA Summit will strengthen the collaboration between @iBizAfrica and the MIT Legatum Center while providing local and international stakeholders with a forum to network and to interact with MIT leaders and with Africa’s leading entrepreneurs who are working on advancing financial inclusion through principled entrepreneurship.
The Summit agenda includes vision talks by previous Zambezi finalists; fireside chats
and speeches led by former MIT students; a discussion on building an inclusive ecosystem in Kenya with Ms. Sarah-Jane Maxed, Executive Director of the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP); and an MIT workshop led by Dr. Anjali Sastri, Faculty Advisor of the MIT Legatum Center.
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The Digital Learning unit @iLabAfrica in Strathmore University has received a grant by Google. The team led by Regina Nkonge, and Philomena was awarded this grant after responding to a call for grant applications in the area of Computer Science (CS) Educator Professional Development.
Award of the grant follows a proposal to introduce Computer Science Concepts in high schools in Kenya. The 2018 Educator Grant awards in Europe, Middle East and Africa is committed to growing the confidence of new and future Computer Science educators.
The @iLabAfrica project targets secondary school teachers and will comprise of three components:
1) Two 5-day workshops for secondary school teachers from Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos Counties. The workshops will be held in Strathmore University during school holidays of December 2018 and April 2019.
2) A national teacher conference will be held in August 2019 at Strathmore University, aimed at designing best practices in teaching and learning CS in secondary schools.
3) An online Community of Practice will be launched. This is aimed at encouraging teacher collaboration, creating and sharing open education resources (OERs) hence empowering each other, serve as a collection of teaching ideas and best practices and trigger teachers’ reflection on their own teaching methods and how to improve them.
The project is geared towards improving teaching and learning of CS in secondary schools, hence encouraging the uptake of Computer Science at tertiary level.
“We have selected different CS topics which correspond to the Kenyan curriculum, this will allow for direct integration into the subject to enhance student’s learning”, says Miss Philomena.
The benefit is directly to the students by offering exposure to CS concepts in an engaging and fun way, and, exposing them to possible career paths in the field This will equally see a rise in the number of Computer Science uptake in Universities