, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – A new application developed to ease the process of paying fees for students and parents was the top prize winner in the first inter-universities Huawei Android Applications Challenge (HAAC).
Dubbed KaroPay, the app enables users to pay fees from their android or Java-enabled phones using a bank account or any mobile money platform.
The innovation is the brainchild of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) student Masai Abel Jevayi, who decided to develop the app after dealing with the hassle of long queues to pay fees.
“I thought if I can develop an application that can enable students to be able to pay fees without queuing. So you can make a payment from the comfort of your room then pick the receipt or reconcile your records later,” he said.
Other winning apps included the ifeul app that acts as a fuel station informer and locator, the Smart Milk Collection Clerk that manages data on collection for dairy companies and farmers, Dr Sider that provides mobile patient information and the Manyatta, the automated property realtor.
The HAAC is part of Huawei’s efforts to tap into local talent in Kenya’s universities, and spur innovation among content developers.
Huawei regional President Li Dafeng said the challenge which seeks out the most innovative apps developed by students, serves as a platform for the youth to showcase their work.
“A lot of local university students are very smart and what they want is an opportunity… a platform. So we would like to provide a platform for the local people to make contributions to this country,” he said.
Dafeng added that the challenge is to also help “create linkages with learning institutions in pursuit to increase knowledge transfer to bridge the digital divide.”
HAAC falls under Huawei’s Telecom Seed for the Future programme in collaboration with Safaricom and three local universities including the University of Nairobi, Moi University and JKUAT.
Huawei’s East Africa training center is another one of the company’s programs started last year that has trained 87 students so far with another 32 students undergoing internships.
Dafeng said five students have already received jobs with the ICT solutions company, from the internship program.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said HAAC must extend past the competition level and encourage more university students to be proactive in creating opportunities for themselves through their creations.
“If you look at the content development community here in Kenya it’s bristling, so we want to make sure we can capture this and encourage the students and ensure universities are producing the right kind of talent,” he said.
Safaricom will sign MoUs for five years to build the capacity of university students by creating environments in which they can learn about working in the business and ultimately make them employable in the ICT sector.