Kenyan wins US software competition - Daily Nation

Kenyan wins US software competition

Friday October 8 2010

By KEVIN KELLEY in New York

A Kenyan software developer won the “Apps4Africa” competition sponsored by the US State Department on Wednesday.

Charles Kithika received Sh400,000 (USD 5,000) and an Apple iPad for devising a voice-based, mobile application that enables farmers to keep track of their cows' breeding cycles.

Mr Kithika's innovation, dubbed iCow, will “help farmers get the most of their cows and their farms,” the State Department said when announcing the awards.

Also honoured was an application that allows Kenyans to track the details of Constituency Development Fund projects in Kibera.

Jamila Amin and Mikel Maron devised the software which can “review and map submitted reports on the real status of aid and development projects on the ground, in contrast to official government reports,” the State Department said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the winners of the first annual contest in a video message from Washington.

“Your work to develop 21st century solutions to Africa’s challenges is a powerful example of what individuals can do to shape a dynamic, successful future,” Mrs Clinton said.

Apps4Africa was launched in Nairobi in July as a US-sponsored contest to encourage technology entrepreneurs to build tools for non-governmental organisations and local communities.

More than 20 entries were received from developers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Alex Gitonga, creator of Fogs Funeral Announcements, won an honourable mention for an application that transmits death and funeral announcements via SMS.

“Fog will allow users cheaply and easily to draft, edit and send these types of messages to ensure they reach friends, family, former schoolmates and colleagues – an important Kenyan custom,” the State Department said.