Feature: African girls display innovation at Transform Africa summit

KIGALI May 13 (Xinhua) — Ruth Njeri Waiganjo from the University of Nairobi in Kenya was Friday crowned this year’s Miss Geek Africa at the Kigali Convention Center.

Waiganjo won the first continental edition of its kind, on the sidelines of the Transform Africa meet.

Waiganjo, and four other women contenders she beat to win the crown have offered the latest reassurance of young women emerging on the science front.

Miss Geek Africa is a continental competition designed to inspire African girls to be part of problem solvers.

Since 2014, the competition attracted best young girl innovators of ICT solutions in Rwanda.

But this year, Girls in ICT, the organizer, has expanded the competition to all 17 Smart Africa member states to crown the first ever Miss Geek Africa, in partnership with Smart Africa.

These women therefore symbolize the effort by today’s African young women to take a place at the forefront of problem solvers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines.

Waiganjo walked away with 3,636 U.S. dollars cash prize presented to her by Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame.

She was also granted free travel to the ITU Telecom World 2017 in South Korea later this year.

“This edition of Transform Africa Summit has also highlighted the Ms Geek initiative, which through an annual competition gives young women the opportunity to showcase their ICT-driven solution to a challenge they witnessed in their communities, and through this process, inspires other young women to pursue a career in this field,” Rwanda’s First Lady said at the award ceremony.

Waiganjo developed a mobile phone application called Safe Drive, described as the most intelligent way to protect road users.

It is an innovative solution to respond to transport problems like frequent accidents on roads.

The technology solution gathers data through a mobile app and sensors, analyzes it and the output is the profile of the driver.

The system is able to determine the behaviors of the drivers.

“When a driver wants to get the insurance, they don’t have the data showing the behaviour of this driver on the road. All they rely on are personal details. Isn’t this a risk they are insuring? Technically they should have the behaviour of the driver,” she explained while pitching her innovation.

She said intelligent cities are created by learning through previous data, and that her data will not only be used in driver profiling, but also analyze the data on the road to be able to tell the driver that there’s traffic on certain route.

“I would like to emphasize once more that we must continue to advocate for ICT to be adopted as a tool for true gender empowerment and equality, whether through new approaches like the Africa Smart Women and Girls Initiative … or by adopting resolutions from diverse high-level international forums on the question,” she said.

Rwanda’s Leah Akimana emerged first runner up in the competition, walking away with 2,423 US dollars, as well as a trip to South Korea.

Her innovation is a digital mobile application called “Bus System Simulator” meant to improve public transportation in the country, in particular Kigali.

Delphine Micyomyiza, another Rwandan emerged second runner up and was also given 1,212 USD.

Her Water Track solution seeks to eliminate water theft in the city simply by fixing sensor-enabled water metres on water taps.

Girls in ICT Rwanda, is a group of women professionals in STEM, grouped as role models for Rwandan girls to encourage them to consider careers in STEM fields.

“I would like to emphasize once more that we must continue to advocate for ICT to be adopted as a tool for true gender empowerment and equality,” said the first lady.



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