Between the months of September and December 2022, KCA University hosted a one-month hackathon which was facilitated by the School of Technology in collaboration with partners of Safaricom Industry Digital Talent Program.
The event kicked off on 24th October 2022 with a series of meetings with stakeholders and participants. Participants of the program were taken through several interactive sessions to enhance their abilities to participate in the program. The university hosted a technology and innovations expo from 23rd to 25th of November 2022 in a culmination of the program’s activities.
The main program’s activity was a competitive hackathon meant to introduce and foster fundamental skills in data science tools which participants can apply in business environments to add value, efficiency and profitability in the working environment.
The program was received with a lot of interest, with a total of 91 participants (73% male, 27% female) applying to participate in the hackathon. All applicants were invited and encouraged the lectures and master classes to equip them well for the competition. Several industry partners with expertise in the relevant areas of interest were invited to facilitate guest lectures and master classes that were held virtually. Among the partners included Softbric Solutions, ThiNK-Technology Innovators, Moringa School, Africa Media Institute (ADMI), KCA University lecturers and postgraduate students who are currently conducting research in the topical areas.
The highlight of the program, KCA University Technology Innovations Expo (TIE), started on 23rd November 2022 under the theme “Preparing final year and graduating students for the job market”. The Expo was opened by the KCA University Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Prof. Joshua Bagaka’s and was graced by the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the Dean of the Research, Innovation and Outreach (RIO), and the Dean of the School of Technology. It was well attended by more than 150 students and 15 faculty members. Andrew Masila, the Technology and Innovation Lead at Safaricom PLC gave the keynote speech on the first day of the Tie.
Other invited guest speakers included Samuel Njue, a lead data scientist at Stanbic Bank, Nkirote Mwiti the Human Resources Officer at Africa Digital Media Institute, John Matogo, from IBM Africa and Robert Ng’etich, the Cybersecurity leader at Dimensiondata.
Invited guest speakers from the Industry and KCA University staff posing for a group photo KCAU Technology Innovations Expo
The hackathon was held on the second day of the Expo. The event started with a keynote speech by Ms Irene Githinji, the Program Manager of Higher Education Engagements at Microsoft Africa Development Center who also had a session with faculty members regarding the most needed skills in the tech industry. The rest of the day involved competitive group presentations of innovative projects by participants within the area of big data science and analytics who were assessed by four judges from Softbric solutions and Stanbic.
Program Manager of Higher Education Engagements at Microsoft ADC-Ms Irene Githinji delivering Keynote speech during the second day of the Expo
The Tie series of events ended on Friday, 25th November 2022 with a prize-giving ceremony that was attended by the representatives from Moringa School and Stanbic Bank. The market director of Moringa School – Mr. Steve Nyikuli delivered the keynote speech. It is expected that the hackathon has paved the way for more interactive innovation programs over the upcoming semesters as the organizers apply foreseen opportunities and lessons learned. We thank Safaricom PLC for the initiative.
Participants of the hackathon received certificates of participation from KCA University that were issued by the Dean of the School of Technology at KCA University – Dr. Simon Mwendia and Flash disks from International Business Machines Corporation(IBM)
Participants of hackathon after receiving certificates of participation
KCA University awarded Kshs 10,000 to the best team while number two and three received Kshs 6000 and Kshs 4000 Respectively that were presented to them by The Dean of School of Technology-Dr. Simon Mwendia. The three best teams also received branded gifts from the Stanbic Bank that were issued by its representative Mr. Calestor Kizito.
Dean of School of Technology- Simon Mwendia presenting a Cheque of Kshs 10,000 to the Best team of the hackathon