@ilabAfrica was this week pleased to host Professor Tierra Bills an Assistant Professor and Michigan Society Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Bills was visiting to give a lecture on, An Electronic Travel Data Collection Tool for Nairobi Kenya with the ultimate goal of designing Smarter Transportation solutions for rapidly developing African cities.
Like many other African cities, Nairobi is now grappling with the challenges of rapid urbanization. Kenya’s population has increased by 55% over the last decade, and this combined with significant rural-to-urban migration in Kenya has resulted in critical stress on Nairobi’s limited transportation infrastructure.
To mitigate these transportation issues, Nairobi County Government had proposed a plan for (formalized) mass public transportation across the region. The challenge is the lack of adequate transportation data for investigating travel preferences of Nairobi travelers.
For Nairobi, there is currently no on-going data collection system or periodic program effort to investigate the activity-based travel behaviors of Nairobi residents. This can significantly constrain the ability Nairobi transportation planners to investigate (via scenario analysis and forecasting) transportation solutions that will address Nairobi’s multimodal transportation needs.
To gather enough data Dr. Bills is working with a team of Kenyan students (software development and computer science) to design, prototype, and test an electronic and multi-source travel data collection tool.
The preliminary data collected with this tool will be used to refine the data collection tool for future region-wide travel studies in Nairobi, Kenya. Further, this tool would be a significant contribution to researchers and planners interested in implementing data-driven transportation policies and traffic solutions in African as well as other developing cities. Given that such a transportation data collection tool has not been developed for Kenya before, there are many interesting research questions involved with this project.
This project will require students focusing on the following areas: • SMS frontend application • Android front end application among others.
The data collected from such initiatives would be used to estimate (the first) activity based travel demand model for the Nairobi region. In addition to generating a dataset for these modeling purposes, a parallel objective would be to distill a general framework for delivering reliable travel survey data using a hybrid of electronic data collection sources. This hybrid approach could then be replicated for other African and developing cities.
Professor Tierra Bills Bio is working on the project in collaboration for Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica – Strathmore University.
Dr. Tierra Bills. Dr. Bills is an Assistant Professor and Michigan Society Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. She has recently joined the department (in Fall 2016) after spending 3 years as a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa. While in Kenya, Dr. Bills also lectured at Strathmore University’s iLabAfrica and taught MTI 8203 Research Methodology for Application Development. Much of Dr. Bills’ research focuses on investigating the social impacts of transportation projects.
For more information write to john on firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
For more information contact Bernard on email@example.com
@iLabAfrica Research Centre, Strathmore University has partnered with Pangea an international startup support platform to pilot a US$ 50,000 accelerator program in Kenya.
The two organizations shortlisted 40 startups from a list of 400 applicants. The group of 40 startups are currently on a 3 month program being coached and trained by international and local investors and experts.
Through this partnership the startups are being assisted to get access to capital and networks that will enable them grow and scale up in their area of operations.
The 40 startups fall under different categories e.g. Fintech, fashion, agriculture etc. Each startup companies gets an opportunity to meet industry experts in their fields who share their experiences and expertise. The startups also connect with mentors who offer guidance on how to make it in the industry and help open doors for the young entrepreneurs.
“It is an amazing program for startups especially because they get to benefit from the training, coaching and mentoring sessions offered. It will help create an enabling environment, where entrepreneurs can develop competence, access relevant network, and capital in order to reach their full potential. We are really happy to be partners on this program and we look forward to working on more projects with Pangea to help startups in Kenya” Bernard Chira, @iBizAfrica Manager said.
Ahmed from Pangea also mentioned “We are really glad to have got a competent and resourceful partner such as @iBizAfrica. The learning environment is amazing and the incubation space which is available for startups under the program is really helpful. The coaches and mentors that have been offered by @iBizAfrica to help in the program have also played a major role in running it. We are glad that we got to work with @iBizAfrica and we look forward to future partnerships.”
Startups that have joined the Pangea accelerator program have the opportunity to benefit even more from the funding as Pangea is looking to launch its crowd investment platform in June 2018.
Two participants who graduated from the Autism tech programme in November last year have been given an internship opportunity at Safaricom.
The participants who graduated from the Autism tech training which runs for 4 months and trains students on IT and other computer/web packages will be joining the Safaricom team in April.
The participants Arnold Kanywuiro and Eric Thongori, were picked by Safaricom kenya which has a diversity and inclusion program which aims to employ people with disabilities. Their program mainly included people with physical disabilities but is now expanding to employ and offer internships even to those with learning disabilities such as Autism.
“When Safaricom heard about the @iLabAfrica Autism Tech Training program, Safaricom was interested in hiring participants for a 3-month internship program that will see them showcase their skills in the IT department dealing with Software testing among other roles.” Said Irene Gitangu the program manager of Autism Tech @iLabAfrica.
When asked about his view on the internship at Safaricom Arnold Kanywuiro had this to say. “It would be an honor for me to work with Safaricom because it was a dream for me to experience and to learn the activities the company has to offer. Safaricom is not only known in Kenya but also it is known globally and it is the best company in Africa. The technology they are using M-pesa one can be able to do money transaction. A Person can also save in his/her M-pesa account. The company was previously ran by Michael Joseph and now it is at the able hands of Bob Collymore. Safaricom is the company with many opportunities that one cannot afford to miss them but to be excited to learn them and become better. Safaricom is my dream company and it is the company that can build a great future for all Kenyans.”
Project Autism Tech was conceived in November 2015 as a possible means to addressing the problem of unemployment amongst capable individuals in the Autism Spectrum within the field of software testing. This specific area was selected because it is a model that has been successfully proven in all continents of the world except in Africa.
@iLabAfrica Research Centre in Strathmore University, was selected by the Project pioneer to partner in the execution of the pilot project. This project has seen the participants grow in the Field of IT and has helped them build their confidence in the delivery of their projects and overall as students
The project sought to create an environment whereby individuals on the Autism Spectrum could be trained and get employment on the basis of their areas of strength. Software Testing & Quality assurance is one such area where people with Autism have been known to excel and thus the project was borne.
Reports show that Autism affects an estimated 70 million people and is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the world, with a startling growth rate of around 57% since 2002. About 80% of affected people live in developing countries where knowledge and resources are scarce, with very few opportunities even for diagnosis, much less for management and treatment.
Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance than neuro-typical workers do such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail. In all the other continents, except Africa, people with Autism have been gainfully employed especially in IT.
The project has a long-term goal of creating a social enterprise that would provide sustainable employment to qualified individuals on the Autism Spectrum as well as those with other learning disabilities.
For more information on the program contact Irene on firstname.lastname@example.org
She is young, self-driven and passionate about software development! @iLabAfrica caught up with Mercy Orangi and had a chance to chat with her about her passion for software development as a young lady in the male-dominated field.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Mercy Orangi. I am a master’s student in Strathmore University studying Mobile Telecommunication and Innovation at the Safaricom academy. I am also the chapter co-coordinator for the Nairobi Google Developers Group (GDG Nairobi). I love tech especially developing software on the Android platform.
What is the Google Developers Group and how did you get involved?
The Google Developers Group (GDG) is a worldwide community of software developers who are passionate about Google technology. We have Chapters of the group in major cities across the globe. We also have university chapters.
I learnt about GDG when I was doing my undergraduate at Kenyatta University. I got interested and founded the KU Chapter. After finishing my undergraduate studies I joined GDG Nairobi the only non-campus GDG in Kenya, and started as a volunteer. That was last year April. There was only one organizer at the time, Antony Nandaa who became my mentor. My work involved looking for speakers, informing other members of the next meetup and facilitating discussions. I found this very interesting and continued working in the group. When Nandaa left for C4D Lab in University of Nairobi I took over as the Chapter coordinator.
What does GDG Nairobi do?
GDG Nairobi is one of the most active GDG Chapters in Africa. We hold monthly meetups where we come together to learn and share knowledge about Google Technologies. We also work with our mentors from Google Africa and Google HQ in Mountain View California who from time-to- time join us via video conferencing. They share their expertise and experience with members of the group. We expose developers to latest Google technologies and train them on how to utilize them e.g. the Google App Engine, Google Maps and so on.
One of the projects we working on at the moment is making Android content offline. We are distributing the content to members of the GDG group. GDG Nairobi has the kit.
Where and When Does GDG Nairobi Meet?
We meet at the iHub on a monthly basis on the third Saturday or Sunday of the month in the Afternoons. We also engage online and you can find us at www.gdgnairobi.info which is your go-to site for anything GDG related in Nairobi.
You were recently sponsored by Google on a fully-paid trip to the US. Tell us more about that trip and how you got chosen.
It was an awesome experience, first time in the US but second time in International Google Office. I had the chance to visit Google UK office last year when I was in my first year of study for my master’s degree. It was also an organizers summit for three days.
Every year Google sponsors active leaders of a GDG Chapter to attend the annual GDG Summit. This is an event where GDG chapters from across the world come together to share experiences and ideas on how to improve GDG Chapters. It was a great networking and learning experience for me.
During the trip I also got to attend the Google I/O an annual conference for Google software developers. This was a great achievement for me as I got to interact first-hand with the actual software developers who come up with Google products and services. I also got to learn more about the Google culture and had a good time networking with one of the best software engineers in the world.
What is your vision for Women in Technology and how is GDG helping you achieve this?
My vision is to empower more women in tech by ensuring they get access to relevant powerful resources for software. I want them to be aware of freely available resource such: as Code School, Android Hive and Code Academy which can help them develop software development skills.
I also want to develop a network of women mentors in tech to encourage women all over Kenya to venture into the tech world. I envision a Kenya with more women at the fore front of the tech ecosystem.
At GDG we have GDGW which is Google Developer Group for Women. We have had two successful meetups so far. Most of the members are freelancers and women in campus. The meetings can be technical or otherwise. Women who come to GDGW meetings are inspired when they see other women who are doing great things. This is having a very positive effect in the number of women attending the larger GDG Nairobi.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In five years I am certain that I will be driving change in the tech space in Kenya. A career in software development is definitely nearer in sight for me as I have the skills and the passion for it. Even though the trajectory might change I foresee a long and fulfilling career in the IT world in different capacities.
The Safaricom App Wiz 2014 edition was launched at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi on 16th of July 2014. The Competition which is running for the second year in a row is designed to identify developers with interests in Mobile ICT and businesses form start-ups and partner with industry in offering solutions.
The challenge is focused on developing ICT businesses through provision of mentorship, training and incubation to allow start-ups further develop their prototype solutions before entering the market.
- Launch Date | 16-07-2014
- Submission Closure | 10-08-2014
- Hackathon | 22-08-2014
- Incubation Period | From 08-09-2014 To 21-11-2014
- Judging Session Presentations | 27-11-2014
Click here to apply!
Mukeli Matei is the newly appointed 2014/15 Google student ambassador for Strathmore University! Mukeli is a student in the Safaricom Academy Master in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovation. She is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship and is the founder of several startups including FishMate and App Wakili.
She will be travelling to Accra Ghana on the 10th of August to attend the Google Student Ambassadors Summit. At the Summit she will meet other Google Student Ambassadors from the universities across Africa, as well as take part in setting the Agenda for this year’s activities and events.
Mukeli will be the go-to person for Google related activities and events for students in Strathmore University. You may reach her on email or Twitter as follows:
- Email- email@example.com
- Twitter- @mukelimatei
The Google Student Ambassador Program is an opportunity for students to act as liaisons between Google and their universities. These ambassadors:
- Learn about innovative Google products and programs.
- Plan and host fun events on campus.
- Act as a campus contact for Google teams.
- Help Google better understand each university’s culture.
The program is open for students to apply every year for a chance to become the Google student Ambassador for one’s university. Read more about the program here.