HACKATHON

iLabAfrica team emerges 2nd Place in UN Habitat Makerthon Competition

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UN-Habitat this year organized a Makerthon event on the sidelines of the UN-Habitat Assembly held on 27th -31st May 2019 at the UN- Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya giving budding innovators a platform to make, create and showcase their innovations.

The theme of the challenge, organized by Urban Basic Services, was “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities”.

Three Strathmore students, Stephen Gitahi- Group leader, Ayan Adan Keynan and Josemaria Nabangi formed the group SAJ fellows to participate in the Makerthon and emerged 2nd place with their project on Water Qualiter.

The water Qualiter project is under the Internet of Things(IoT) department, @iLabAfrica and is developed using different sensors for measuring Acidity (pH), Temperature and Turbidity (measure of suspended particles and Contaminants – especially heavy metals & discarded pharmaceuticals. Insights from the data generated from this monitoring exercise will therefore be critical in aiding on decision making of which rehabilitation or pollution control measures need to be undertaken.

The one-week challenge allowed participants such as IoT engineers, makers and designers passionate about harnessing digital connectivity to solve urban challenges in their cities and settlements. Participants were to compete and develop a prototype to solve a specific challenge out of the three urban “verticals” including:

Water Quality Monitoring A Smart drinking water quality monitoring system for households could use sensors placed in household water pipes or water storage containers for households using public standpoints. The data collected using standard water quality parameters could then be uploaded over the internet for analysis. When there is a deviation of water quality parameters from the pre-defined set of standard values, an sms-based alert could be generated by the system to warn consumers to further treat their water before drinking. The monitoring system could also be scaled up by the water utility through a centralized dashboard to regularly assess the quality of drinking water supplied to consumers.

Indoor Air Quality IoT can be used to monitor the air quality through the use of Air Quality Sensors that could be placed in either indoor setups such as kitchens or outdoor (e.g city streets, parks).The monitoring process may utilize a cloud solution to show the air quality through an AQI (Air Quality Index) measurements. Results are sent to users, decision makers and dedicated experts for appropriate actions.

Public Mobility Members of the public most often want to know when and where their Matatu is on the roads, a “Real-Time Passenger Information System” can help them plan their commute and time better with more real time information. Such a system could use sensors to know the Location of a public bus and produce a “Digital Map” to graphically show the location. A “Smart Ticketing” system may also work in tandem with such a system.

The participants underwent an intensive competition to build the minimum viable product and come up with a sustainable business and operating model to scale the solutions and present their elevator pitches at a live streamed session within the United Nations Complex in Nairobi on the final day.

The SAJ fellow team were awarded Ksh 20,000 and will continue to work on the system @iLabAfrica to enable users get a full report of the water in use hence prevent disastrous happenings in future like cholera outbreak.

@iLabAfrica Participates in 1st UN-Habitat Assembly 2019

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@IlabAfrica Research and Innovation center participated in the first session of the UN-Habitat assembly held on 27th -31st May 2019 at the UN- Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The Session was officially opened by The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, welcoming international guests to Kenya, ministers and high-level Member States representatives, governors, mayors, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, academics and business leaders.

Represented by Leonard Mabele, IOT Manager @iLabAfrica participated at the High Level Side Event on Accelerating Frontier Technologies for cities: Closing the infrastructure Gap.

The session was a platform to discuss key policy innovations and cross- sector collaborations around the domain of frontier technology and infrastructure, that have the potential to close infrastructure gaps by improving affordability, accessibility, efficiency, network coverage and overall improvement of operations between utilities and service providers with the goal of saving costs and increasing revenue for municipalities. Leonard Mabele was able to share his experience on the partnership projects by @iLabAfrica, Liquid Telcom Kenya and UN-Habitat on an integrated Sanitation management system that was recently implemented in Mathare slums. The system will monitor the levels of sewerage and send alerts to enable cleaning when full.

The discussions also addressed the challenges being faced and elaborated on the steps that can be taken to close any infrastructure gaps that can help accelerate the development of cities that are not only “smart” but sustainable, resilient and inclusive.

As the United Nations focal point for Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat is mandated to provide policy-level direction and local-level programming that contributes to the achievement of New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. This event examined the role of UN-Habitat in implementing this transformative vision through its new Strategic Plan 2020-2025. The Strategic Plan highlights frontier technologies and innovations as a key domain of change, towards the goal of enhanced shared prosperity in cities and regions. The theme of this year’s UN Habitat Assembly is “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities” with the sub theme: “Accelerated implementation of the New Urban Agenda towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”

A total of 113 countries sent representatives to the opening of the UN-Habitat Assembly, over half of them at Minister or Deputy Minister level among the 2,250 delegates who attended

UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said, “The UN-Habitat assembly provides a fantastic opportunity for us all to inspire each other with new ideas and examples of how we have used innovation to maximize the opportunities offered by urbanization and overcome the challenges.”

The UN-Habitat Assembly was established by the United General Assembly through a resolution endorsed on December 20, last year, to help strengthen UN-Habitat’s mandate. The Assembly will meet every four years.

SAFARICOM HOSTS HACKATHON COMPETITION IN STRATHMORE

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Strathmore University this week hosted Safaricom PLC hackathon competition that had up to 240 participants. The event aimed at fostering solutions around Android Developer, Solution Architects, Big Data Engineer among others.

The Safaricom funded program, co-implemented by @iLabAfrica was an open book competition used to identify technical practical competencies. For this event, the standard pass mark was 75% which was earned after a practical test was done, the examined interrogated and given the chance to modify their work. Those who were Successful received an oral interview invitation where they would be recruited to work for Safaricom in the IT department, their employment level being determined by their total score in both the hackathon and the oral interview.

According to Peter Opiyo, the IT Workforce, Performance and Reporting Manager in the Digital IT Department – Technology Division at Safaricom, theoretical interviews do not always yield desired output and so there is need to explore various technical skills through exhibited practical sessions – hackathons.

“Because of the high demand of techies at Safaricom and the IT market at large, there’s need to recruit the best in practice. Most of the best developer employees we have here in the IT department are those hired from hackathons.” said Peter.

Call for participants was issued out through the Safaricom career portal, website and social media platforms.

Strathmore hosts 4th Edition of Nairobi Tech Week (NTW 2019).

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@iBizAfrica, Strathmore University once again hosted this year’s 4th edition of Nairobi Tech Week (NTW) a Moringa School based initiative to bringing all actors and influencers in the tech ecosystem under one roof to foster conversations and learning around technology related topics.

This year’s event was themed, “​Technology in Africa: The Past, The Present and The Future”. It delved into the evolution of technology in Africa, the various solutions being applied in the African context and the exciting opportunities yet to be capitalized on as we navigate the digital revolution.

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Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica and @iBizAfrica giving the opening remarks for the NTW 2019

The 2019 NTW event included a number of activities ranging from; workshops, panels, roundtables, research presentation sessions as well as the hackathon which brought together players in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Platforms, Internet of Things (IoT), Micro services, Technopreneurship, Data Science, and Product Development Tools.

 

Google workshop on Google essentials and Machine Learning led by Marvin Ngesa.

The panels consisted of experts from the tech industry, the government as well as NGO’s shared ideas and solutions towards improving the existing structures in the growing field of technology by filling the gaps left by the current players.

Lease me was one of the teams from Strathmore University that participated in the hackathon competitions and emerged the best.

Lease Me, offered a solution to help aspiring farmers with no land to conduct agriculture by leasing out arable pieces of land and capital, thereby enhancing food security.

Talking at the event, the Principal Secretary of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority(TVET) Dr. Kevit Desai indicated the government’s commitment to supporting technology in Kenya as a backbone to the achievement of the big four agenda.

Sponsors Sponsors for 2019 NTW included GIZ – Make IT Africa, Microsoft, JUMO, Github, Google, Andela, Humanitec, Tala.

The main partners for Nairobi Tech Week 2019 are Strathmore, @iLab Africa, @iBizAfrica, AngelHack, Twiga Foods, Africa’s Talking, Nairobi Innovation Week, iHub, ALX, Metta, Nailab, Lawyers Hub, and the official transport partner – Little Cab.

@iLabAfrica Hosts the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit

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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.

Nairobi Tech Week

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Nairobi Tech Week is Back!

iBizAfrica together with Moringa School is excited to host the 3rd Edition of Nairobi Tech Week, Sub Saharan Africa’s largest tech event, whose aim is to bring all actors and influencers in the tech ecosystem in one space, fostering conversations and learning around various relevant technology-related topics.

The event will be taking place from Thursday 19th April to Saturday 21st April 2018 at iBizAfrica, Strathmore University. This year’s theme will be “The Role of Technology in Problem Solving for Africa’s Future.”

Nairobi Tech Week presents a 3-day event packed with panel discussions, workshops and a hackathon with incredible prizes to be won.

“Our aim is to launch a community-driven tech event focused on developers, thought leaders within the tech space as well as the best innovations in Sub Saharan Africa” says Sandra Mukidza, NTW’s main event organiser.

 

For the first time, Nairobi Tech Week will host Nairobi Tech week Awards, in a bid to recognise companies playing influential roles and driving impact within Silicon Savannah.

​The title sponsor this year is Microsoft , other sponsors include Visa, Facebook, Safaricom JUMO, Github, Liquid Telecom, Google and iBiz Africa-Strathmore University.

 

Several key organisations have come forward to partner with Nairobi Tech Week; iHub, Africa’s Talking, Swahili Box, AngelHack, M-Power, CBO and Metta. In previous years Nairobi Tech Week has had global title sponsors like Facebook and Twitter

 

Applications for Nairobi Tech Week opened on March 19th 2018 as well as nominations for the Tech Week Awards.

Apply for your ticket to this years Nairobi Tech Week 2018 here and also place your Tech Week Awards nomination here.

For more information contact Bernard on bchiira@strathmore.edu

Hack Event: Brought to you by BBC

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BBC Connected Studio, BBC News Labs & BBC World Service are holding a collaborative Hack event in Nairobi on 3rd & 4th February 2015.  The aim of this event is to generate ideas for tools and products that better distribute BBC News to an African audience, in ways that are relevant to this market. A pilot service of the best will be built and tested with each selected team being appropriately funded for this.

 Who can participate?

Companies in the tech community both locally (to Nairobi) and on a global scale are invited to participate. Teams should be made up with a mix of developers, designers and UX skills.

 What you should do….

In order to be selected for the event, send 2 recent examples of your work that are relevant to the brief/challenge to connectedstudio@bbc.co.uk

Ahead of the hack, we’ll be holding a briefing event on the evening of 29th Jan 2015, where we’ll expand on what we’re looking for at the hack and we’ll give some short tech talks regarding the platforms and APIs available to use. It will also be a chance for teams to meet each other and the experts ahead of the hack.

  More details:-

Using technologies that complement one another, and the resources available at the Hack (BBC content, APIs, and Social Media platforms), we want to develop innovative and relevant products and tools which improve the audience’s experience.

These are the questions we’d like to answer:

  • How do we continue to provide the highest quality news coverage to audiences in Kenya on the digital platforms they use regularly? How can we plug ourselves into their daily digital routine?
  • What can be done to make the interaction between African audiences and the BBC faster and more effective?
  • How do users access the content that is relevant to them? And then use it when it suits them, at a low/no cost?

What more you need to know:-

Registration your team here: http://goo.gl/Qafuu2

Briefing event: 29th Jan 2015,

Registration closing Date: 29th Jan 2015.

Hack Event Date: 3rd & 4th February 2015

  Have any Questions?

           Email: connectedstudio@bbc.co.uk                                   Twitter: @BBC_Connected