Furthering its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the engineering and technology space, Microsoft recently hosted the LEAP Hackathon to continue its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the egineering and technology space. The event, was designed to increase technology skills, facilitate learning through challenges as well as strengthen the place of women in the technology sector, focused on solutions in the agricultural and health sectors.
According to Amrote Abdella, Regional Director for Microsoft 4Afrika: “Research shows that the average productivity of major crops in Kenya has only increased by 17% over the last 10 years.
“The lack of digitally enabled agripreneurs, inputs and quality data are sited as the reasons for this slow growth.
“Microsoft endeavors to close the gap that exists in this sector by training ‘women hackers’ from non-traditional ICT backgrounds in the LEAP Hackathon programme who competed for the top spot in the hackathon”
The 16-week LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program was launched to increase diversity within Microsoft, providing real world experience through development and project management apprenticeships, combining traditional classroom learning with hands-on projects.
32 Female hackers were identified to participate in the hackathon using a strict recruitment process which helped gauge the abilities of the applicants through 2 rounds of evaluation of the applications.
Participants of the hackathon received Azure credits while the overall winning group was awarded prizes.
Microsoft have described the hackathon as a success, with many novel solutions brought forth by the participants.
However, overall the group called The BugSlayers took centre stage with their innovative AgRight presentation.
AgRight is a web application that uses Microsoft AI (Azure Custom Vision) for pest and disease prediction which also predict harvest time, connect farmers to buyers and monitor farm activities. It was created by Clara Nashipai, Sylvia Achach, Rosianah Musyoka and Bethany Jepchumba.
Post hackathon, Microsoft will work with the winning group on an ongoing internship program where they will be mentored and helped to further build and develop their solution and skills.