A mobile application developed by Precious Blood, Riruta students was named first runners-up in a global contest that recognizes schoolgirls’ technological innovations.
The M-Safiri app- designed to ease the process of booking and paying for public transport- emerged second in the Technovation Challenge 2016 held in San Francisco, California in the US. The Precious Blood students, who go by the name ‘Team Sniper’, developed it through App Challenge, an initiative of Safaricom Women In Technology (WIT) dedicated to inspiring women in technology and entrepreneurship and targets girls in high schools for a 12 week coaching period.
M-Safiri tied in the second place with ‘Go Green’, an iOS app by New Dork team from USA to minimise food wastage by restaurants. The winning app that clinched the USD100,000 prize, was ‘OOL’ developed by Team from Mexico to encourage citizens to volunteer in social work.
“We are happy for the rare opportunity to participate in this year’s Technovation Challenge. We are also delighted that we are able to compete on a global platform and emerge second. We acknowledge the support of our coach, mentors, teachers and Safaricom Women in Technology, who gave us the necessary guidance, skills which have helped us compete with teams from across the world and emerged second,” said Harriet Karanja, one of the students, who is also Team Sniper Marketing Director.
Besides Harriet, other members of Team Sniper are Priscilla Wambui, Laura Ayushi, Victoria Kanan, and Gladys Wairimu.
“This was a big challenge for us but we are now more encouraged to continue improving the app to ensure that it provides a reliable and convenient way for Kenyans to book and make payments for public transport. Eventually, we hope it will bring an end to the long queues witnessed at booking offices,” she added.
The students were coached by Daisy Ndung’u, a student at Multimedia University and mentored by Anne Cheboi, Josephine Kamanthe and Emily Jematia Bett from Safaricom.
“We are proud of the girls and what they have achieved, this will go a long way in encouraging other girls in Kenya and Africa to take part in the Technovation Challenge next year. We also hope this will encourage other girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders and entrepreneurs” said Ann Cheboi, a Safaricom WIT member.
The M-Safiri developers hope that the solution will be adopted by booking offices of providers of rental vehicles and limos and as a result raise the standards of public transport in Kenya. Every year, Technovation challenges girls all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem.