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Kimathi University hosts first Civic Hack event in Africa

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Ever thought of how ICT can be used to develop the community or county? Well, this dream will to come to pass when the County Government of Nyeri implements apps and tools that were recently developed at the first Civic Hack event in Africa.

This past weekend, 150 participants – mainly software developers, entrepreneurs and students from various universities – came together at the Dedan Kimathi University, and took part in a 48- hours development marathon where the best civic hackers worked together to develop outstanding apps and tools in a bid to provide real life solutions to daily public service challenges.

The participants worked on 19 innovative solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, security and other public utilities. The winning app, Quick health, is an app that will act as a reminder to a patient taking a prescribed dosage.  Other apps that won include D-market will help farmers to market their produce online while S Kilimo will allow farmers to get latest updates and alerts, real time advice and market analysis. Winners scooped cash prizes worth Ksh. 100,000.

Besides the county government of Nyeri and Kimathi University, other sponsors who made the event come to reality included Seven Seas technologies, Jamii Telecom, Orange, Airtel, Nyeri Youth Bunge, Zawadi Society and the ICT authority.

In his opening remarks, Mwalimu E.K Nguyo, Nyeri Executive Secretary of ICT reminded participants of the importance of technology in creating world class solutions. He also challenged the participants to continue striving to innovate.

“The world this time is not going to be driven by the manufacturing industries. The economy of this world is going to be controlled by ICT. Kenya and Africa in general has been left behind in several revolutions that have taken place. It is up to you who are seated here to decide whether Africa is going to be left behind in this revolution,” he said.

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Speaking on behalf of the governor, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Samuel Wamathai thanked Kimathi University, sponsors and all the participants for taking part in the hackathon.  He further promised that after further refining, the ideas will be implemented in the county.

“We are in the process of negotiating for a collaborative agreement and soon we are going to enter into a memorandum of understanding so that we can be able to pick up some of these innovations that we have here so that they can be developed fully and can be used by the county government,” said Wamathai.

Quoting the example of Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb, Mr.Francis Mwaura, a representative from the ICT authority urged the students who did not win the cash prizes not to give up.

“Each and every entry was wonderful. This should not be the end. You should take up your ideas they’re very wonderful, remember the comments, take them up and proceed in refining them. Never ever give up.”

Mwaura commended Kimathi University for spearheading innovation and nurturing technology students.

“Kimathi University is not a poor university; it is a rich university which is in the same league as all other universities in the globe. No wonder they are hosting the first civic hackathon event in Africa.”

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