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Nabisunsa, Lira University win technovation challenge

Nabisunsa Girls’ School and Gulu University are this year’s winners of the national technovation challenge, organized by Resilient Africa Network (Ran) in partnership with Makerere University’s college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (Cedat).

Nabisunsa’s win in the secondary schools’ category followed a presentation of their Momager app, designed to help parents access trained and reliable nannies for their little children. The app was developed by Faith Agasha, Martha Twesigye, Sonia Salim Swalehe and Keturah Naluyange.

Nabisunsa was up against Bweranyangi Girls’ School, Nyaka Vocational School, Gayaza High School, Gulu High School and Lira Town College.

Nabisunsa Girls students during the debate

The annual event was held at Cedat’s main hall on Friday, July 21, 2017. The challenge is a technology entrepreneurship programme, which offers young girls in schools and universities, an opportunity to develop solutions to community challenges.

In the universities’ category, Lira University’s Mobile-Edu app beat off competition from Mbarara University of Science and Technology to take the category award.

The winning app is designed to improve information sharing between parents and school administrators, relating to students. The app’s developers in this category were Scovia Ajok and Jastine Gutu.

Olga Kiconco, a consultant at Innovation Village in Ntinda, was one of the judges of the challenge. She said they based their judgment on the feasibility of the apps’ prototypes.

For his part, Cedat principal, Dr Henry Alinaitwe, commended the winners and explained that innovation was important in registering a positive impact in the communities.

“The knowledge and skills shared and gathered during this challenge cannot be underestimated. It is such knowledge which has continued to contribute to the growth of not only individuals but also institutions,” Dr Alinaitwe said.

Each category winner was awarded a recognition plaque, certificate of participation and a number of assorted items that included headphones, books about technology and innovations and school bags, while their teachers received Huawei smartphones, among other things.

Awarding the winners, the guest of honor, Dr Miria Matembe, hailed Ran for engaging and encouraging young women to actively participate in fields that were previously an exclusive domain for men.

“Many of us have seen how global issues can affect our economies even here in Uganda, turning our country into something else,” she said. “To change the situation, we need to have the hands of both men and women to reign in all spheres and sectors of society.”

Miria Matembe (C) poses for pictures with the participants

ABOUT THE APPS

The developers of Momager app called for more support to expand the impact of their app to parents.

“We need around $10,000 (about Shs 36m) for this prototype to become a real and useful app,” said Twesigye, on behalf of her group.

Twesigye, a senior six student studying Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics as well as Information and Communications Technology (BCM/ICT), said they were intrigued by stories of how untrained caretakers have been battering the children they are meant to protect.

She said once the app is fully developed, they would have their first office in Banda, a Kampala suburb, as it is the most affected area. Twesigye explained that once the app is put on Google play, it will require a parent to login with his/her details, go to their home page and get connected to a nannie trained by the app’s developers.

“Each hour with our nannie will cost Shs 3,500. Our nannies will be disciplined. It will also have a feature where a parent, if they have a camera at home, will be in position to monitor what will be taking place,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Mobile-Edu app developers said they were disturbed by the incidence of school dropouts in Lira and its negative consequences, thereafter.

“I had a relative who got pregnant while at school. She feared to tell us and unfortunately died in 2012 while giving birth … she was in S.2 then,” Ajok said.

Ajok said her relative would not have died if the school and her family were in close contact with the school, shortly before she disappeared from the institution without the administration’s knowledge.

“First, we shall require each school interested in working with us to pay Shs 500, 000 as a connection fee. After that, the school will be able to update parents about the performance of their children through the app,” Ajok explained.

Ajok added that parents would only get the updates once they pay for the app. The Ran communications officer, Harriet Adong, said they are working to assist the two winners in the incubation process, while also working to extend the challenge to other schools.

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