By Maria Muzaaki
For the first time in the history of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a team from Africa was able to win a prize at the worldwide finals.
Team Code8 from Makerere University that represented East Africa in the just concluded 11th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup competitions in Russia have won the Women’s Empowerment Award presented in partnership with UN Women.
The team consisting of Brian Gitta, Joshua Businge (both first year Computer Science students) Simon Lubambo, a fourth year Electrical Engineering student and their mentor Josiah Kavuma a third year Information Technology student, developed a Windows phone application named matibabu that diagnoses for malaria without pricking the body but by connecting a custom piece of hardware (matiscope) to the windows phone, the user is able to diagnose and know their malaria status in the shortest time possible. The results are sent to the user’s skydrive for medical record keeping and sharing with their personal doctors.
The UN Women Award that comes with a cash prize of $12,000 recognizes two student teams that created projects that best address issues impacting women globally.
According to an excited Josiah Kavuma, the funds will enable them do more research on the feasibility and scalability of their application. “We are extremely happy to be the first African team to secure a prize at the finals and we shall now focus towards competing for the Imagine Cup Grant,” he added.
“It feels good to see our dreams come true especially after the hard work, sleepless nights, the team spirit and motivation from our lecturers and staff of the MIC-Uganda,” Kavuma noted.
Team Code8 is one of the fruits of the Microsoft Innovation Center-Uganda, currently hosted at the College of Computing and Information Sciences. “At MIC-Uganda, we are proud of the progress the program has made on the ICT sector in Uganda. This is the second win after the winsenga application that got $50,000 from Microsoft last year,” said Drake Patrick Mirembe, the MIC-Uganda manager.
Drake thanked the lecturers from the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) and the College of Engineering, Design and Fine Art (CEDAT) for inspiring the students and sharing knowledge and skills that have led to these great achievements.