@iBizAfrica

Kids holiday boot camp – Developing the future

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Kids holiday boot camp – Developing the future

For the last two weeks @iLabAfrica has held a 2 week kids holiday boot camp for over 30 children from various schools around Kenya as they prepare to resume back to school.

The kids holiday bootcamp, in partnership with digikids, is a two week per school holiday training for children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old in Information Technology and related areas such as robotics and electronics, web design, and web security. The training is hosted by iLAB and based in Strathmore University.

With a rapid rise in the use of and development of technology, there is a corresponding need to gain an understanding in IT from a young age. Started in 2014, the programme sought to address this need and build basic skills and besides this, takes into consideration other factors such as the existing curriculum of the students in which they need more practice, skills or training as well as the need in existing job markets for an understanding of IT. The programme also provides an excellent background for those who wish to study IT further in university and creates a curiosity in IT and provides young children with a creative outlet to learn and develop their interests.

The training divides the children into three age grades, 5-9, 10-12 and 13-17 and teaches them based on their existing skill and knowledge while maintaining the same overall content. The younger students learn by pre-programmed mechanisms while the older students are encouraged to develop and design their own code and have a larger overall project that demonstrates their progress in the programme.

This holiday boot camp enables the students enjoy an enabling environment and are provided with ample computer time to pursue interests outside the curriculum, under the supervision of their instructors. Shiro, a class four student in the programme mentioned that she particularly enjoys the facilities and making new friends as she has an interest in learning how to create a webpage and advertise products as well as enable her to produce better schoolwork.

 

For more information on the course kindly visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke  or contact Sharon on Email: sanyanga@strathmore.edu  Phone number: 0729876680

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OPEN MIC AFRICA SUMMIT 2018

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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.

For more information, Click here or  contact Funke Michaels on funkemichaels@gmail.com or Linda Kwamboka on lkwamboka@strathmore.edu

 

Why you should register for the IoT & 3D Printing course

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From 17th to 28th September 2018, @iLabAfrica and Kuunda 3D will hold a two-week certificate course on the fundamentals of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D Printing. The course will cover practical skills in both technologies and how their convergence can be harnessed for the development of creative and marketable solutions. It is aimed at training students and interested industry professionals and offers participants the opportunity to network with IoT and 3D printing enthusiasts and experts.

3D printing is one of the latest trends in design technology and it is poised to revolutionise how we create useful objects—such as electronic devices. Traditional manufacturing of electrical devices entails designing industrial machinery and setting up dedicated assembly lines within manufacturing plants to produce and assemble specific products. Building new manufacturing plants or redesigning old ones for new products is time-consuming, expensive and requires considerable expertise. This impedes flexibility in industry and bars creative individuals from developing their own electronic devices. In new and rapidly developing markets—such as those created by the growing popularity of the IoT—the ability to quickly design, produce and introduce new electronic devices to market is invaluable.

With 3D printing, parts for electronic devices can be created from scratch using digital designs. Combined with the increasing availability and decreasing prices of electronic components, 3D printing holds the potential to revolutionise the manufacture of electronic devices. Electronic devices are, after all, reducible to electronic components integrated and housed in specifically designed casings. This empowering combination of readily available electronic components and 3D printing is an opportunity waiting to be realised as the emerging IoT market is ripe for innovative electronic devices custom-built to provide creative solutions to every-day problems. It is equally valuable to general manufacturing, emergent fields such as drone technology and automated prosthetics, and the development of automated stations.

The IoT and 3D Printing course by @iLab and Kuunda 3D is tailored to equip participants with skills and hands-on experience in the use of both technologies. The lessons include:

  1. The parts of a 3D printer and how they work using Ultimaker and MakerBot 3D printers;
  2. 3D modelling and design with Tinker CAD and 123D design software;
  3. The slicing process by which 3D designs are converted into 3D-printable formats;
  4. An overview of IoT including machine-to-machine technology, the market value of IoT, IoT Architecture, and the place of IoT in big data and monetization;
  5. An introduction to micro-controllers and programming using C/C++, integrated development environment (IDE) applications, and electronic prototyping on the Arduino platform;
  6. Communication technologies, protocols and utilising Cloud Platform in IoT; and
  7. A hands-on guide to developing a complete Internet of Things solution.

The interdisciplinary course places focus on the nexus between the two technologies and how they can be combined to convert an idea into a working model and then into a viable business case providing customised solutions. Participants will learn how to create their own 3D models and apply foundational IoT skills to creative problem-solving and rapid prototyping. Successful completion earns each participant a certificate.

The two-week course will be held in @iLabAfrica in Strathmore University from Monday the 17th to Friday the 28th of September, 2018. Sessions will run in the evening from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. The programme cost is KES 35,000 per participant, which covers the training, laboratory and certificate fees.

Applications are currently open and can be made online at https://bit.ly/3Dcourseilab.

For more information, contact Getrude Gichuhi at getrude.gichuhi@strathmore.edu (Tel. +254 727280214) or Joseph Shitote at jshitote@strathmore.edu (Tel. +254 714954904).

Tackling Cybercrime; An ISACA Kenya And iLAB Collaboration

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iLAB Africa, through Strathmore University, and ISACA Kenya have recently partnered up to bring information and resources in areas of cybersecurity, ICT implementation, IT risk and IT audit. These areas are contemporary discussion points in IT and imperative for the management and protection of data within corporations especially in today’s technological climate.

In 2017, Kenya lost 21 billion shillings through cyber security crime, making it one of the biggest losses in Africa, second only to Nigeria. This loss was largely attributed to cybercrimes committed in financial institutions through online fraud, social engineering, ransomware, banking malware and ATM-skimming. The magnitude of this loss and others spurred the enactment of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, signed into law in May 2018, which seeks to provide stiffer punishments to cyber criminals. The Act, however, faces the challenge of implementation of anti-cybercrime strategies which require knowledge and experience in cybercrime and IT risk management in order to protect information and hold individuals accountable for violating the established laws. It is this information gap which the collaboration intends to fill through conducting evening and breakfast talks, trainings and assistance with research on the aforementioned areas. In addition, the collaboration seeks to improve and initiate the formulation of ICT strategies, policies and their transformation and adoption of best practices in ICT implementation and cyber security, areas which are the purview and expertise of ISACA Kenya.

Founded in 2000, ISACA Kenya is the Kenyan chapter of the larger international Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). A key hallmark of ISACA is the development of the Business Model for Information security which takes a business approach to managing information security as well as the internationally recognized COBIT, Val IT and Risk IT frameworks that help IT professionals and leaders fulfil their governance responsibilities while delivering value to their business. iLAB Africa is a  centre of ICT innovation and development based at Strathmore University and is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement, collaboration with government, industry and other funding agencies. It is this specific skill set that forms the basis of the collaboration between ISACA Kenya and iLAB Africa and its focus on Cybercrime, IT risk and IT Audit.

Water management through the Internet of Things

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We live in a country where floods and droughts can plague citizens at different times in the same year. Add to that substances wearing down equipment and adulterating the water we drink and cook and bathe with. 40% of Kenyans are dependent on unsafe water sources such as shallow wells and ponds, and preventable diseases related to water, sanitation and hygiene account for 40% of hospital attendance in Kenya. Water security is a constitutional right compromised by unanswered logistical questions of quality, supply and distribution. Leonard Mabele and his team at iLab Africa’s Internet of Things division is working to change that. Their Water Management project seeks to harness the potential of IoT to address the water problems that Kenyans face.

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers an interesting proposition for the future of human life.

A well-implemented IoT network can radically simplify routines and improve our quality of life. Worked a late night and forgot to take your phone off silent mode? Well, imagine your home IoT noticing you overslept and waking you up with to rhythm of your favourite song. Imagine your house filled with the rich aroma of coffee that finishes dripping into your mug just as you step into the kitchen and see your automated curtains part to let in the morning light. A beeping comes from the laundry room—your washing machine-cum-drier has your clothes clean and ready for the day. A notification on your phone reminds you to refill the soap dispenser of your dishwasher and pick up fresh milk on your way home for tomorrow’s coffee. As you step out of the shower, the water pump clicks off and your phone notifies you that the water in the reserve tanks is enough for a week of regular usage. You then review your consumption and pay your water bill on your phone, and leave for the office clean, caffeinated and on-time as usual. The future is in interconnection.

For most, though, such a Jetsons-esque morning is a neat IoT concept that fa lls short of meeting the more pressing concerns of life, such as water security. Tweeting to complain about water shortages—and that the little there is is not clean enough to drink and cook with—is about as connected as water and the Internet seem to many of us.

The Water Management project of the IoT team at iLab Africa entails a network of devices monitoring water levels, pressure, purity, turbidity, flow rates, and consumption within homes. These devices not only communicate with each other but also upload information via a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) to base stations and on to dedicated servers.

The data collected is used to create value for water consumers. The team envisions citizens using their phones to access information on their consumption, assess and pay their bills, monitor water quality, and plan their water storage. With continuous water supply available from only 9 of Kenya’s 55 public water service providers, water consumers need to be able to manage their water more efficiently. Through an IoT, water pressure and tanks, pumps, individual taps and inlet valves can even be controlled remotely to control consumption—all from a smartphone application.

Entities such as the government, county authorities, and NEMA can also use the system to review information on public consumption and improve service delivery. The information flow is key to resolving the logistical issues. Water supply to different neighbourhoods can be planned for according to their consumption trends. Additionally, issues such as contamination and leakages can be monitored, isolated, and addressed rapidly.

The IoT team behind iLab Africa’s Water Management project is excited to roll out this cutting-edge solution to Kenya’s water problem. While the need for Internet communication raises valid questions on the energy demands and cost of connection, team-leader Mabele explained the cost-saving considerations behind the technology used in the project. The implemented LoRa LPWAN technology is specifically designed for low-energy low-traffic IoT communication over long distances. It has been implemented in the Philippines, Netherlands, and in Germany. The devices require only a little power to function and upload to base stations. The network itself utilises unlicensed bands that do neither attract high data costs nor interfere with mobile, television and radio signals.

iLab Africa’s Water Management project has the potential to bring the futurism of IoT to the homes of millions of Kenyans and play a key role in solving our water management issues. Its success just may be the light that illuminates the potential role of IoT not just as a fancy way to get around house routines, but also a practical tool for improving the quality of life of millions of homes.

Speaking about the current stage of this exciting project, Mabele describes it as being “in the infant stage, moving to a level where the kid can speak.” The team has the support of the government and NEMA in its initiative. A pilot deployment has been planned to take place in Limuru this August, with future expansion plans for Nairobi and Naivasha.

For more information on iLab Africa’s Internet of Things Water Management project, contact Leonard on lmabele@strathmore.edu

@ILABAFRICA RECEIVES GOOGLE GRANT

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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

@iLabAfrica, KAM, GIZ launch jobs portal

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The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) through @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University has launched a portal where job seekers and industry players can link to create synergies. The Jobs portal was unveiled during the launch of the first ever TVET Job Summit in Nairobi, the site that will act as a direct link between industries and job seeking technical skills graduates.

The portal was developed in partnership with German Development Cooperation through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) E4D/SOGA – Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa.

The portal which was designed by @iLabAfrica, Strathmore Univeristy is set to host job opportunities from businesses and industries and targets job seeking graduates from technical institutions.

Speaking at the KAM Job Summit, @iLabAfrica Director, Dr. Joseph Sevilla mentioned “It is great to see industry and education sectors come together to create job portals for the youth. These developments create employment opportunities for the youth by linking their skills to the right jobs and eventually growing the economy of the country. ”

Chief Administrative Secretary, Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Abdul Bahari noted that the mismatch between skills possessed by graduates of training institutions and those demanded by industry is one of key reasons behind the high unemployment rates in the country, especially amongst the youth.

Manufacturing is one of the pillars in the Government’s Big Four Initiative, which seeks to increase the manufacturing share of the country’s GDP from 8.4 percent in 2017 to 15 percent by 2022.Intertwined with the growth of manufacturing, is the Government’s goal of ensuring adequate employment opportunities for its citizens.”

 

Also present at the summit, Principal Secretary Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Dr. Kevit Desai reiterated the importance of the role of industry in creating opportunities for technical skills graduates, “Industry has a role to play in creating sabbatical for our trainees. We are at a time in this nation that we must look beyond technical issues, we must consider national values, cohesion, attitudinal issues and must be inculcated as a standard for international competitiveness.”

KAM Chairlady, Ms. Flora Mutahi noted that the job site will provide grounds for industry to meet its much desired skills for growth. Adding that, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change global definitions of work, labour and production and eventually disrupt traditional work processes.

“The job portal is the much needed intervention that industry desired to have direct linkage to technical skilled graduates. It is also an opportunity for business leaders and industries to collaborate with institutions to grow the employment ratio in the country,” said Ms Mutahi.

Also at the event, GIZ Country Director Mr. Stephen Opitz emphasized the GIZ engagement towards the development of technical skills in the country.

“Through GIZ E4D/SOGA programme, we aim to train about 12000 youth, and purpose to place about 7000, of the trained youth, by 2019.The portal will be a valuable platform that will easily connect employers and potential talents. That is why we are partnering with KAM to make this happen,” added Mr. Opitz.

Industry remains a big contributor to jobs creation, which is a major driver for economic development. The President’s Big Four Action plan highlights the manufacturing sector as a priority sector in transforming the lives of Kenyans through job and wealth creation.