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Indiatsi’s Team Wins Season 2 of Microsoft ADC Game of Learners

Afandi Indiatsi, Team Bloom's Lead Researcher.

 

She’s quite the cultured young lady and very proud of her African descent. She starts off with “Ovuche” which in her native Luhya is a pleasantry that means “Good morning”. I respond with “Vuche”, with her guidance, of course.

After plenteously embarrassing my heavy tongue trying to pick up this beautiful dialect, Afandi Indiatsi saves my blushes with an ever affable chuckle and goes on to explain that her surname should be pronounced as “Indiazi”.

“I am much more than a tech savvy young lady who might pass for a geeky movie character,” says this Informatics and Computer Science finalist.  Her animated demeanor makes her sound like Oprah dishing out invaluable wisdom to her audience. We both burst out laughing when she becomes self-aware of her hand gestures during an impassioned narration of her love for community outreach initiatives.

An avid advocate for SDG 4, she got accepted into the Millennial Fellowship – Class of 2020; an acknowledgement for her efforts in ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education by training 25 girls on computer literacy in Vihiga County. Riding on the steam of what she calls a successful education evangelism in Western Kenya, Indiatsi came back to Nairobi after three weeks and trained 30 more girls in Imani Rehabilitation Centre at Kayole.

There are no wrong turnings…

“As is the narrative, the period after graduating from high school and at the advent of cloudy campus thoughts, my life became quite eventful. I’d always wanted to pursue health sciences… and abroad.  It always felt like a committee of deliberations between my parents and I on the academic and career path that would bring me great future tidings,” starts Indiatsi.

Besides, having graduated from high school at the tender age of 16, there were many considerations that had to be thrown into the affray, especially if she was to leave the country and settle into a foreign land throughout her academic journey. They opted to have her wait for two years before she could embark on this journey.

While on her “junior academic sabbatical,” Indiatsi enrolled into an Android Programming short course at iLAB Africa – an Information Communication Technology Research and Innovation Centre at Strathmore University.

“I love to create, to innovate. It ignites a light in me even I can’t fathom. I had a mind-blowing experience during my Android Programming short course and after graduating, I wanted to sip more from this bowl of technology. I requested my dad to allow me to take up one more course to quench my clamour for innovation. Like a wise parent who humors the desire for the success of their child, he challenged me to pursue a degree in Strathmore, which would still afford me the international experience and quality education I yearned for. His words were the spark I needed for my newly found love: Bachelor of Science in Informatics and Computer Science.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning; acclimatizing myself to coding and grasping concepts. I discovered the Strathmore University IT Student Association (SUITSA) club in my second year and this community of likeminded information technology students opened the curtains into a world of endless opportunities for me. Ayan Keynan, the president of the club, appointed me as the Head of Inclusion and Diversity due to my advocacy for inclusion of various other courses apart from programming, such as cybersecurity. Such milestones broadened me up and helped me appreciate the world differently.”

The Game of Learners

“In my pursuit of academic happiness and Information Technology stewardship, I learnt from Ayan and classmate about Season two of the Game of Learners (GOL), a Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC) gamified five-week virtual hackathon open to African tertiary students geared towards building impactful solutions for their community. All GOL activities are supported by volunteers from Microsoft and partners as coaches, mentors, judges, speakers and trainers. It is like a sports league, starting with a season, and followed by off-season clinics and exhibitions,” begins Indiatsi with a glint in her eyes.

The second season of GOL featured students from Kenya and Nigeria only, and tasked contestants to propose digital solutions to the array of challenges in the African education sphere. With her advocacy for better education, this was more than a welcome challenge for Indiatsi. She was reeling in excitement.

Blooming education in Africa

Together, the brilliant minds of Afandi Indiatsi – Lead Researcher, Bethany Jepchumba – Team Lead, Fortune Adekogbe Backend Developer, Joy Kathure – Front End Developer, and Festus Idowu Front End Developer, came up with “Bloom Learn – Blooming Education in Africa,” a platform aimed at digitising education to counter the high student-teacher ratio, lack of adequate learning material and to ensure students have access to learning resources.

The architecture of this digital platform is one that enables well-wishers to donate space and devices to students. This goes a long way in helping the less fortunate enjoy the benefits of an education, without everyday limitations.  Designed with features of an E-learning platform, the system incorporates a web app access by both students and teachers, and a donation management module with Power Apps. The primary target beneficiaries of this system are young learners in informal settlements in Africa.

Educators are meant to pay a subscription fee in order to have their content accessed from the system while students don’t part with any form of payment for basic subjects such as Mathematics and English. However, for extra classes such as Spanish, students could access the learning material at a subsidized rate.

It is the tailor-made student experience based on age and grade-appropriate content that won Team Bloom the overall award. They’re still furnishing the project further and hope this contribution elevates the African child literacy levels and love for education.

A boundless promise

Concluding a nostalgic win narration, Indiats’s parting shot is one inspired by Michelle Obama:

Every human being has the inalienable right to an education. It is critical in the transformation of lives, the establishment of peace, the abolition of poverty, and the promotion of social well-being. Empowering a child with a good education will help build a region worthy of boundless promise!

 

This article was written by Francis Kabutu.

 

If you have a story, kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu

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