Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

8 March 2014

Rwanda: Girls in ICT Elect Ms Geek

Nancy Sibo has been nominated Ms Geek 2014 for her mobile cow application project on Saturday, coinciding with International Women's Day. Ms Geek, which reards ICT projects by women, was organized for the first time in Rwanda.

Nancy Sibo, a student in the Agriculture Engineering faculty at the University of Rwanda Huye campus presented her application called Mobile Cow, an app that could be tied in the government's Gira Inka program to allow farmers monitor the oestrus cycles of cows.

She was chosen among 25 applications of women's initiatives from various higher learning institutes and universities in Rwanda. The second prize winner was Christine Bayizere, a student in Electronics and Electricity Engineering. Her project is a Wireless Black Box that to monitor vehicles and send alerts in case of an accident.

Josephine Tujyimbere came third with the Class Attendance Management System which uses fingerprint recognition to monitor students' progress. Chantal Mukundwa, a Computer Engineering & Information Technology student explained her proposed software, called the Nearby Item Locator System, which is both a web and a mobile application, that allows users to search for items they wish to buy, and receive a list of the nearest shops with those items in stock. She scooped the people's choice award from online voting.

The fifth was Eline Nyirangirimana, an ICT student who developed the Online Driving License Examination System that allows users to save time by taking their driving tests online. According to Akaliza Gara, a member of Girls in ICT, Ms Geek is an opportunity to celebrate the women in ICT and inspire other women to join the sector.

"There is nothing specifically male about ICT, it's something that both men and women can embrace and use to make the most of their career," she said.

Minister of Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that the government through the Smart Rwanda program supports girls in ICT to contribute to the country towards its vision. He pointed out that while women have been economically, socially and politically empowered, the number of women in science and technology is still low. While 64% of the members of the chamber of deputies in Parliament are women, they only represent 16.5% in TVET.

Minister Nsengimana called on women to embrace science, mathematics, engineering and technology. "You are a generation that is going to transform this country and the continent," Nsengimana said.

Giovani Ntabgoba, the director of KLab in Kigali, promised the finalists a working place and mentorship to improve their projects in a suitable business orientation.

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