Soaring high with ‘Msema Kweli’
Posted Monday, October 10 2011 at 18:00
At only 21 years, Mr Omani Isaac Osiemo runs his own company and will be representing Kenya at a global IT event next year.
The second-year Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) student is part of a new breed of Kenyan youth who have taken to software development.
At JKUAT he is pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Science, Information and Technology. It was not always his career choice.
“I wanted to take up a career in aviation, specifically flying planes,” he says.
He changed his mind when he discovered he could fly high by pursuing a different career. As he has discovered now, IT will let him fly around the world.
When not in class, Mr Osiemo runs Semasoft Limited, a software development and Web solutions company.
The Kisii High School graduate is the brains behind Msema Kweli software, developed to help Kenyans monitor Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects.
With an Android handset, you can easily download the application software and access full details of CDF projects in your area — from financial allocation to implementation.
“You can also post comments, complaints and recommendations on the projects. It is a platform for Kenyans to air their views on how their money is being used,” Mr Osiemo says.
“For instance, if a big number of people speak negatively about a project, that may be reason for further assessment,” he says.
The application won the first position in the Appcircus competition (featuring students with the best mobile applications) held at Nairobi’s iHub last month.
That opened the doors for nomination to attend the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in February.
Mr Osiemo believes Kenyans can rise as high as people in the West in technology innovation.
“If 16-year-olds in America and Europe can make softwares that are used across continents, Kenyans too can,” he says.
He adds that you can only be as backward as you let yourself to be. With modern technology, he notes, you can access classified information even from your mobile phone.
Mr Osiemo wakes up at five o’clock every morning to study. Sometimes he sleeps for less than three hours a day as he has to cater for his customers’ needs and his school work.
“I have to balance my work, projects and school,” he says.
For technologists, reading widely is important as it helps them analyse problems facing society and employ their knowledge to provide solutions.