Kenyan university students emerge winners in annual global technology competition
A team of four Kenyan university students beat stiff competition from 163 countries across the globe to win the 2021 Microsoft’s annual global student technology challenge, Imagine Cup.
The four, Khushi Gupta, Jeet Gohil, Dharmik Karania and Abdihamid Ali are fourth-year students from the United States International University (USIU) – Africa, undertaking bachelor’s in computer science.
They developed an IoT-based infant monitoring solution, REWEBA (Remote Well Baby), which remotely analyzes infant parameters during post-natal screening and serves as an early warning intervention system. The team won USD75,000 (approximately KES8 million), a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and a USD50,000 (approximately KES5.35 million) Microsoft Azure Grant.
The 19th edition of the competition brought together thousands of students from 163 countries across the globe reimagining tech solutions to impact their communities.
With projects submitted in four social good categories – Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle – the competition advanced through Online Semi-finals and World Finals rounds.
Team REWEBA emerged winners from the top four teams selected out of 40 World Finalists that presented their projects at the World Finals. The other three top teams were Protag from New Zealand, Hand-On Labs from the United States and Threeotech from Thailand.
“It is absolutely gratifying that a Kenyan team would come up with a solution that could compete on a world scale and even emerge as winners. The Imagine Cup is a chance to make something that matters to you and develop your skills as part of the journey. We have the tools, resources, learning materials, and mentors to help you bring your project to life,”Kendi Nderitu, the Country Manager, Microsoft Kenya said.
According to Khushi Gupta, a REWEBA member, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest under-5 mortality rate in the world.
“The project idea, which has taken two years to develop, came to life when we were doing community service at local hospitals. We saw mothers coming from far-away places walking the whole day and queuing just to get their babies screened and if mothers don’t do that, they don’t get the parameters monitored which are very vital to identify diseases early.We can solve this problem using REWEBA, a remote infant monitoring system that can be used in marginalized areas thus giving everyone equal access to healthcare,” said Gupta.
This year, six teams from the Middle East and Africa including Kenya, Pakistan and Tunisia made it to the semi-finals. Over the past 19 years, more than two million student competitors have signed up to build something that matters to them, make a difference in their communities, and innovate for impact.