Five Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students have emerged top in the just concluded Microsoft University Partner Mentorship Programme.
The quintuple, Lumbert Omwag, Diana Iminza, Joram Mwangi, Sophie Uchi and Veronica Juma trounced other competitors drawn from various universities during the mentorship programme dubbed ‘Sustainable Agricultural practices to support Kenyan farmers’
The use of outdated technology is one of the major bottlenecks facing farmers in Kenya with obsolete technology reducing the potential productivity-boost that could take place in Kenya. In a move that will address this issue, Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) introduced a semi-annual programme that targeted 2nd – 4th year University students to come up with technology-based solutions.
Speaking during the webinar where the winners of the programme were announced, Irene Githinji an officer from Insight Management Consultants said in collaboration with Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) they formed teams from 5 different Universities with the aim of creating a solution that encompasses technologies to support farmers in delivering higher yields, provide insight to climate-smart crops, tools, new markets and the know-how to transform their agricultural ventures.
“In our pilot we had 125 students from five universities which include JKUAT, University of Nairobi (UoN), Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT), United States International University (USIU) and Strathmore University,” she said, adding, “in our next cohort we will double the number of institutions and go beyond Kenya.”
Lumbert Omwag, lauded the programme saying it equipped them with practical skills in farming and rearing of livestock “I am now well quipped to tackle challenges farmers face in their day to day activities”.
On his part, the Dean, School of Computing and Information Technology, Dr. Michael Kimwele, thanked the ADC team for selecting students from JKUAT for the first cohort. He said he was elated to realize that another 20 students had been picked to participate in the 2nd cohort.
With each University producing five teams, the programme included five weeks of virtual instructor-led and self-paced learning on programming and developer tolls and practicing agile development. This is geared towards building a solution that addresses the challenges presented by ADC.