A recent report shared to us by Microsoft revealed that Kenya has only 1.700 cybersecurity experts despite ranging cyber attacks that cost the country over shs 30 billion last year. To help train more hackers who can work in the cyber security sector, Microsoft hosted LEAP Hackathon which strives to increase technology skills, facilitate learning through challenges as well as strengthen the place of women in the technology sector. The LEAK Hackathon also focuses on finding solutions in Agriculture and Health Sectors.
“Research shows that the average productivity of major crops in Kenya has only increased by 17% over the last 10 years. The lack of digitally enabled agripreneurs, inputs and quality data are sited as the reasons for this slow growth. Microsoft endeavors to close the gap that exists in this sector by training ‘women hackers’ from non-traditional ICT backgrounds in the LEAP Hackathon programme who competed for the top spot in the hackathon”, Amrote Abdella, Regional Director for Microsoft 4Afrika.
The LEAP Hackathon is a 16-week program – launched to increase diversity within Microsoft. The program provides real world experience through development and project management apprenticeships and combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on projects.
32 Female hackers were identified to participate in the LEAP hackathon using a strict recruitment process which helped gauge the abilities of the applicants through 2 rounds of evaluation of the applications. Refer to appendix 1 for the full list of applicants
Participants of the hackathon received Azure credits while the overall winning group was awarded prizes..
The hackathon was a success, many novel solutions were brought forth by the participants, but the group called The BugSlayers took centre stage with their innovative AgRight presentation. AgRight is a web application that uses Microsoft AI (Azure Custom Vision) for pest and disease prediction. The app can also predict harvest time, connects farmers to buyers and monitors farm activities. The bright minds behind this invention are Clara Nashipai, Sylvia Achach, Rosianah Musyoka and Bethany Jepchumba.
Post hackathon, Microsoft will work with the winning group on an ongoing internship program where they will be mentored and helped to further build and develop their solution and skills.
“We are thrilled at the outcome of this year’s LEAP hackathon! As we continue to work to upskill and educate women across the continent – the endless opportunities and unprecedented innovations this brings is something we are excited to be a part of,” concludes Amrote.
|Group Name||Members||Solution Presented||Technology Used|
|The BugSlayers (Winners)||Clara Nashipai
|AgRight- Web Application that uses Microsoft AI for Pest and disease prediction/Predict harvest time. Connect farmers to buyers and also monitor farm activities||Azure Custom Vision|
|Sheroes Farm Insurance– Web-based solution using AI to determine premiums and cover for farmers||Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio|
|Mtazao-System that connects farmers and buyers directly through a website/ USSD and SMS. Price statistics||Microsoft Azure Custom Vision|
|Ukko – Platform that leverages data analysis to predict yield/harvest time and connects farmers to buyers before harvest.||Django Framework (Python)
Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio
|GONSFarm-Web based solution providing farmer data to banks for determining advancement of loans||Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio|
|Lima Loans– Providing farm inputs to farmers on loan and selling their produce on their behalf. A percentage of the sold produce goes to repaying for the loan.||Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio|
Microsoft Azure IoT Hub