The second cohort of 84 pre-university students have successfully completed the JKUAT-Zalego ICT Youth Innovation Programme, May 31, 2019. The five months’ programme, organized by JKUAT’s ICT- Research, Consultancy and Training Department in partnership with Zalego Institute of Technology and Innovation, also saw the introduction of Student award categories.
The categories, recognising students’ exemplary ideas and projects during the programme were; Most Innovative Project, Most Outstanding Developer, Best Project Idea, First to Market and Most promising Student.
Since inception in July 2018, the initiative’s main focus is to train young people on web development, android and python programming in a bid to integrate ICT in education as envisioned by the Ministry of Education.
Wesley Ochieng Onyango took home the Most Innovative Project with his Healthomatic app, a health application that acts as a doctor for the basic symptoms. Andrew Abila Onyango bagged the Most Outstanding Developer with his KUCCPS App that aims to improve the portability, functionality and services at the Kenya University and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS).
The Best Project Idea was claimed by Joan Mwangi Wairimu with her Blackspot Locator application that aims to enable motorists and drivers to know the location of various blackspots on the road. Another participant, Dan Gondo Mwangi scooped the First to Market category with HomeTrack an online platform where house sellers and house buyers can interact.
Zalego Director, Mr. Eric Mutuku exuded confidence that the programme will be vital in producing job creators because of the practical nature of its delivery. He urged the students to make use of the skills gained and as they join the university, strive to participate in the various innovation fairs such as the Tech Expo.
“Your innovation will only make a difference through persistence, consistence and belief. Technology cuts across board and you can use your ICT skills in any field you are bound to pursue,” said Mr. Mutuku.
JKUAT Director, Production and Innovation, Prof. Martin Obanda while congratulating the students for completing the programme drew a contrast between the period he was a youth and now to show the power and ability the students had with regards to ICT.
He informed the student that they were born at a time that the ecosystem was conducive for innovators and urged them to take advantage and make the skills to solve the myriad of challenges facing humanity.
Prof. Obanda who was representing the Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa challenged the private sector and government to focus on the commercialisation of innovations especially those being produced by the youth. He is confident that commercialisation of innovation will spur economic development of the country.
Chair of Department, ICT Research Consultancy and Training, Mr. Albert Kibe said such partnerships were important in order to deliver competency based training for students. While acknowledging that the JKUAT- Zalego partnership guarantees enormous possibilities, he encouraged the participants to keep updating their ICT skills to remain relevant.
Blessed Nyakundi, who was declared the most promising participant of the programme said the training was mind blowing. “It is fascinating to know what it entails in building a mobile and website application and how they are geared towards problem solving.”
Passionate about law, Blessed developed Linda Nchi, an online platform that will enable automation of crimes reported in various jurisdiction.