Kenyan University Student Crowned Miss Geek Africa 2017

Fredrick Ngugi May 15, 2017

Ruth Njeri Waiganjo, a fourth year Computer Science student at the University of Nairobi, was crowned Miss Geek Africa 2017 at an awards ceremony held on the sidelines of the Transforming Africa Summit 2017 on Friday in Kigali, Rwanda.

Waiganjo beat four other finalists to emerge as the winner of the maiden continental edition of the Miss Geek Africa competition, which is aimed at inspiring African girls to take up top roles in the technology sector and use their skills to solve problems dogging Africa today.

Waiganjo was rewarded for her brilliant mobile app called “Safe Driver,” which helps insurance companies and other players in the transport industry profile drivers for safe driving.

She also walked away with a Rwf3 million ($3,647) cash prize presented by Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame at the Kigali Convention Center.

“I’m still in shock. I still can’t believe I’ve won it…I think it will register soon. It feels amazing,” Waiganjo told Kigali Today.

Safe Driver App

After receiving the award in Rwanda, Waiganjo said the idea to develop the Safe Driver app came when her professor provided the class with data from the Kenyan public transport sector and asked them to use it for their projects.

She decided to come up with a mobile app that could help insurance companies and other relevant authorities profile drivers.

“So basically you collect data from vehicles as the driver is driving, and using that data, you profile the driver,” Waiganjo explained.

“It is very beneficial for insurance companies to…set your premiums and ask for…the data, and in asking for it also, the driver is more inclined to be safe on the road.”

Waiganjo revealed that the app is also beneficial to transport companies and schools because it allows them to know how safe their drivers are on the road.

Empowering Women in Technology

This year’s Miss Geek Africa competition brought together eight girls from different African countries to pitch their projects in front of a high-level panel of judges and hundreds of delegates from the information and computer technology sector as well as business leaders.

The jury then picked five of the best participants for the finals that were held on Friday. Before pitching, the finalists were taken through a week-long intensive development program to equip them with the necessary presentation, communication, and critical-thinking skills.

Other winners were Leah Akimana, a Rwandan who developed a mobile app called “Bus System Simulator,” which improves public transport in Rwanda, and Delphine Micyomyiza, another Rwandan who developed a water tracking system to help eliminate water theft in the country.

Akimana, who was the first runner-up, was awarded Rwf2 million ($2,425), while Micyomyiza got Rwf1 million ($1,212). The top three finalists were also awarded with certificates and an assortment of other prizes, including laptops and modems.

Both Waigajo and Akimana will be attending the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2017 conference in Busan, South Korea.

Also present at the event were first ladies from Mali, Sao and Principe, and Zambia.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: May 15, 2017


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