When I was in high school, my friend loved Science and Mathematics. The guy used to come up with amazing stuff that solved our problems. For example, one day he made shoe polish from a plant – I have forgotten the name of that plant. The shoe polish helped us survive in the school since buying a shoe polish from the school canteen meant a sacrifice. The price was too high. I believe Safaricom Technovation can be channeled to benefit most students in the country who are like my friend.
Students have amazing innovations that can uplift the society. The second most important item in the Kenyan school calendar after the national exam is the Science Congress. The congress registers more than 30,000 students every year. These students submit their ideas and innovations on a chosen scientific subject. The students then will pitch their ideas to a chosen group of judges who are scientists. The best part about the projects is on the fact that these young scientists are encouraged to appreciate their environment as they offer contemporary problems in society.
However, students who win in the National Science Congress competition are never recognized. I believe, Safaricom and Kenya Science and Engineering Fair Nairobi County can come up with something better. The Safaricom Technovation Challenge is a good thing, but it allows few students to participate in it. Since 2014, only 700 high school students in 22 schools have participated in the program. The program is meant to ignite young girls’ interest in ICT careers which is good. However, if the initiative is switched in the heart of helping students, schools from Turkana and Samburu should have a representative.
App development has the ability of transforming lives in the country and every student can be given a voice in the challenge, at least to benefit marginalized communities.
“Mobile has the ability to transform lives in ways no other technology can. By giving young girls an incentive to apply themselves to the issues they face using technology, we hope to nurture the next generation of home-grown innovators,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
Women in Technology is an amazing initiative which can change the world but the initiative’s Technovation Challenge should shape future researchers across the country and Science Congress should be given a face lift.
“Safaricom currently has more women in senior roles in technology (18%) than the industry average across Africa (11%). There are opportunities to extend those numbers as an industry by engaging more women to participate in the field,” said Mr. Collymore.