Strathmore University

Cohort 1 Graduation: Project Autistech

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The first Cohort of the Autism Tech Project completed their classes on 28th April 2017. The project is on a pilot basis and is the first project of its kind in Strathmore University. The project seeks to create an environment whereby certain individuals on the Autism auti2Spectrum can be trained on Software Testing and other areas of IT and get employment. @iLabAfrica partnered with IBM, who provided their software testing tool.  After a series of interviews, 5 students were selected to pioneer it at @iLabAfrica.

 

 

Background

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, being a Research Centre in Strathmore University established in 2011 to spearhead Research and Innovation in the ICT for the Development (ICT4D) ecosystem towards the attainment of the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Kenya’s Vision 2030, was selected by the Project pioneer to partner in the execution of the pilot project.

The project sought to create an environment whereby certain 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.

Training

The 5 Candidates went through a series of classes that comprised of Information Technology, soft skills and life skills. In IT they learnt about software testing, data entry, cloud computing, basic programming and Internet among others. Some of the soft skills they were taught were communicating with colleagues, respecting personal space, advocating for themselves and professionalism of work. They were also taught on how to do interviews, going through contracts and seeking advice before signing any agreement with companies or persons. They were exposed to making and doing presentations in order to show and sell any ideas and information when required.

“The experience has helped the candidates grow a lot socially since the beginning of the project. Initially, they had difficulties in holding conversations and teamwork. These communication and social challenges are due to the fact that they are on the autism spectrum. But with time, through intensive coaching and role playing, a huge improvement has been seen. Today they are able to hold group discussions and work in a team with minimal supervision”, said Naomi Nyambura who is their Job coach.

The project gave the candidates an opportunity to make friends and have meaningful work relationships with neuro-typical colleagues. Through the pilot project, those in the university were sensitized on Autism and what it is all about and were able to connect with the candidates and  assist them in any way possible.

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Outcome of the Project

From the training, the candidates were able to learn about research and documentation and make presentations based on the research. The candidates were also able to learn about software testing which included practical sessions on manual and automated software testing. They used the IBM software testing tool to do the automated testing successfully. Other areas that the candidates were trained on was cloud computing, programming in Java and website development. During the graduation ceremony, one of the candidates was offered an internship opportunity at Kenya Communication Centre for Learning (KCCL) by the Principal.

The ego, confidence and morale of the candidates also improved a great deal as a result of being in the Autism Tech project. They had always dreamt of being in a university, being accepted and treated normally without discrimination. This is what they got and it has helped them increase their self-belief, and worked hard throughout their training. Their goal is to get employed, to be independent. This project opened a door for this goal to be achieved.

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All in all the Autism Tech project has been a great success. It is evident that with continued support, people with disabilities have a chance of getting training in IT and getting meaningful employment thereby becoming independent and leading a more normal life.

Call for Application: IDEA Foundation Seed Stage Accelerator Cohort 1 2017

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Description

The Idea Foundation Seed Stage Accelerator is a three months long incubation program that empowers entrepreneurs to launch globally scalable innovation-driven startups that solve relevant local challenges.

Details:

Selection-Our selection process is a unique full-day workshop and pitch presentation (after a week) where participants are trained and equipped with the most relevant lean startup tools to conduct customer discovery and validation. Teams then pitch to demonstrate customer-problem fit. The teams are also trained and equipped with the tools and skills for business modeling. They develop a business model to be tested during the incubation period. Teams that pass the selection interview and already having proof of concept and early traction (users and customers) proceed to submit an application for seed funding to IDEA Foundation.

Training-Selected teams undergo an intense two weeks curriculum designed to quickly orient them into the nuances of business skills, entrepreneurship and lean startup techniques. The training will equip the participants with the knowledge and skills across entrepreneurship, business modeling, team development, business processes, presentation skills and pitching, product development and lean startup methodology. Classes take place in the evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

 Mentoring and Coaching-Teams will have access to top mentors and coaches from industry and Strathmore University.

 MVP and Proof of Concept-Concurrently with the training, teams embark on building an MVP for proof of concept. They also run experiment to test the business model. The duration for this is one month. Teams pitch to demonstrate proof of concept and to submit application for seed funding.

 Seed Funding-Applications for seed funding are submitted to the selection committee that approves them of review by the Idea Foundation Investment Committee. Applicants can apply upto KES. 500,000.

Who Should Apply

  • The program is open to teams lead by Strathmore Students and Alumni only. Women and alumni are highly encouraged to apply.
  • The program is open to small synergized entrepreneurial teams with balanced skill sets, relevant experience and passion to execute and succeed.

Selection Criteria

  1. Applicants must be Strathmore Students or Alumni (At least one applicant in the team).
  2. Applicants must be in a team of 2 to three people with relevant technical and business skills required in the startup.
  3. Applicants must be physically available to participate in the program  during the entire duration of the program.
  4. Only the applicants that will successfully complete the selection workshop will be admitted into the program.
  5. Applicant must demonstrate innovation and address relevant local challenges with impact on the sustainable Development Goals

Themed Categories for the Program

  1. Agritech-Innovations in agriculture
  2. Edtech-Innvations in education
  3. Healthcare
  4. Fintech
  5. Energy
  6. Governance and Ethics

Duration: 3 months

Dates: 

  1. Open Call for Applications-27th April 2017
  2. Deadline call for applications-27th May 2017
  3. Incubation-May-August 2017

To apply to this call. Please fill in this form.

Revenue Enhancement Specialized Training

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@iLabAfrica in partnership with key industry players offered this 4-day course which offered an approach to sustainable revenue mobilization and enforcement in local governments and looks at means of improving core revenue processes, systems, data quality, skills and organizational structures.

The course was graced with the presence of senior and middle managers in the revenue/finance departments of County Governments, including Directors, Chief Officers, Sub-county Administrators, Revenue Officers, and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), in charge of the budgeting process. It was well represented with county officials from all over the country.

On the first day, through Dr. Walter Ongeti and Mr. Stephen Khadondi, the participants were challenged on disruptive strategic thinking and creative destruction – to shift the paradigm towards performance management in revenue collection through change management. They were also enlightened on the revenue mobilization constitutional mandate and PFM Architecture Analysis.

On the second day, the participants were able to gain and understand a lot on domestic resource mobilization policy, legal framework and administration as well as revenue enforcement strategies through a panel discussion that consisted representatives from CRA, COB, ICPAK, KRA, IFMIS and KIPPRA among others.

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Douglas Gicho, the ICT Director of Kiambu, during his afternoon session touched on holistic e-Governance and public-private partnerships on revenue collection and mobilization.

CRA Director, Sheila Yieke shed light on CRA Recommended County Revenue Laws, their implementation and revenue target setting on the third day. Stephen Masha reviewed the mandate of the COB in County Revenue Collection and Resource Mobilization.

On the final day Professor David Sperling, one of the founders of Strathmore University addressed the County Officials on economic growth, sustainable growth and equity. They were very amazed at how knowledgeable he is about kenya and development.

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Banking institutions also had their representatives in the area. They focused on maximum utilization of banking capabilities in revenue collection enhancement and introduction of cashless systems.

In the end each County had a representative who shared how they’ve benefited from the course and how they would use the recently acquired knowledge within their own counties.

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We acknowledge the CountyPro team that made the 4-day course a great success.

Apply: Ideas for Action (I4A)2017 Competition

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Every year, students and young professionals from around the world participate to design ideas for financing and implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Winners of the competition will present their ideas during the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings, receive support from a dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School, and benefit from unique networking opportunities with other young leaders as well as some of the most senior decision-makers in international development, academia, and the private sector.

Your Proposal 

Your proposal should include the following:

  • Title and team name
  • Short abstract
  • Explanation of the problem and context: Briefly describe the problem that your proposal is addressing.
  • Your solution: Succinctly describe your idea (including design, target population, stakeholders, incentives, and implementation)
  • Expected impact: Why is it relevant?
  • Are there similar examples? If so, where and how?
  • Challenges: What are challenges you might face and how can they be addressed?

 Timeline 

  • Deadline for full proposal submissions: February 28, 2017
  • Announcement of submissions selected for the final round: March 21, 2017
  • Deadline for final submissions: April 17, 2017
  • Announcement of winners: May 31, 2017

Registration and Submission

Eligibility: Students and young professionals between the ages of 14-18 years and 18-35 years from around the world are invited participate.

Team Registration: Teams must consist of two to six members and may be formed across different schools, institutions, companies, countries, nationalities etc. Please register your teams prior to submitting your proposal. You will then receive all relevant updates regarding the competition and our upcoming events.

Submission: Proposals must be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format

Ready for this??apply here

An IoT Event Hosted by @iLabAfrica in conjunction with the University of Edinburg and Pycom.

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Come spend the afternoon of Friday, 2nd December,2016 learning how to use the latest in IoT technology from Pycom. In this workshop, we will give an overview of the Pycom boards, talk about the magic in the socket layers and give examples of how to use the LoPy, programming it with MicroPython.

In addition, we’ll look at how to connect sensors to the LoPy, program it to act as a nano-gateway and work on examples of extended WiFi range. All of this to effectively help drive data from the field to your middleware platform and ultimately front end applications where visualisation and decision making can take place.

About IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a cluster of technologies spanning hardware devices, networking, data collection and data applications. It allows any ‘thing’ to be connected to the internet. This means that we give things a name, a job to do, and a voice. A name is some kind of unique identifier; a job will typically involve some kind of sensing of — or acting upon — the environment; a voice is a means of communicating. As an example, we could add a heat sensor to a chair so that it can report whether someone is sitting on it. If all the chairs in a given room were able to communicate this information, we could get a real-time picture of how full the room was.

To be part of the event, Register here.

The Data Analytics Training Workshop

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@iLabAfrica Research Centre and DataScience Ltd conducted a Data Analytics training on 11th to 12th August, 2016 at Strathmore University. The training attracted interest from a myriad of domains within both business and public sectors and in total featured 31 participants.

Participants were taken through 8 areas in total covered in 5 sessions within the 2 days.  The areas included:

  1. Introduction to the concept of data and the legal framework around data use and sharing complete with case studies of data use in business and public policy to provide insight that inform decisions for better planning
  2. Best practices in data research, various data sources and how to manage data for better analytics
  3. Data Exploration explaining the transition from MS Excel To R
  4. Introduction to Data Visualization and Information Design
  5. Data Visualization using Microsoft’s Power BI
  6. Data Visualization using Datascience’s ChartsData Visualization using Qlik, a modern Data Analytical Tool

The last session was a talk by Mr. Guruprem and Ms. Ivy from Virtual Works Africa who gave a presentation on data analytics use cases in various sectors both in Kenya and globally using Qlik Data Analytics Tools.

The closing and certificate award ceremony was officiated by Dr. Joseph  Sevilla, the Director of @iLabAfrica Research Centre.

For more details about the Data Analytics Training and the next training dates, please click here.