ARE YOU KENYA’S NEXT DISRUPTOR?

Poster CampBuni.jpg

CampBuni is about the Now and the Future of Kenya. We are challenging bright young people to think about sustainable creative ways to solve the most challenging issues in their communities and come up with next gen solutions that will disrupt how things work. By empowering students with the creative freedom to design way into the future, we lay a fundamental foundation for national development.

*Buni- swahili for innovate.How: The Design thinking and entrepreneurship camp for teens aged

How: The Design thinking and entrepreneurship camp for teens aged 13-18 year olds engages students to brainstorm critically about solutions in their own communities and come up with innovative solutions to solve these problems. The camp, taking place at the iHub from 17th-21st July, is one that will convene students from both  British and Kenyan (IGSCE and KSCE) curriculum and have a 5 day crash programme on design thinking and core entrepreneurship skills. The students/participants will learn about current successful entrepreneurs and approaches they took and get mentorship advice—even past the camp—on how to transform their ideas into scalable solutions.

The programme will embrace a STEAM theme(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) approach. During the summer camp, students will engage with some tools and games like Arduino, Makey Makey, and  empathy exercises like the blind-fold Arrow and Cogwheel game to aid in learning of the creative process.

During the programme, participants will be challenged to come up with ideas and develop them along the programme’s five-day timeline.

CampBuni’s set objectives/goals for this camp are to:

1.       Have participants merge academic concepts taught at school with design thinking skills introduced at the camp to develop real life innovative solutions to problems faced in today’s world.

2.    Have participants be in a position to generate ingenious solutions from scarce resources.

3.    Outstanding confidence presentation/delivery skills of their projects solving different problems

4.    Exposure to seed-funding opportunities to grow innovative projects into fully fledged social ventures solving today’s and tomorrow’s problems as well as opportunities for higher learning to advance them.

5. Instill a solid entrepreneurship and design thinking platform for the participants that will come in handy.

6. Introduce open source prototyping toolsg. Arduino and Makey Makey kits that they will use even past the camp to prototype their solutions.

 

At CampBuni, we are not only interested in generating solutions to big problems. We believe important change can happen on small scale; even the biggest projects begin with small steps. The most important change a country can achieve—something CampBuni looks forward to inspire—is towards a creative and innovative mentality. CampBuni is about that proces!

The campBuni team leverages the fact that yes, there is a widespread need to supplement the framework captured in the Kenyan curriculum with social entrepreneurship and design thinking skills, and as such facilitating sparking of creative and sustainable solutions through a strong supportive platform.

Application of these skills learnt will enable effective replication and re-thinking of some of Kenya’s and the world’s biggest soutions. Most importantly, CampBuni promises groundbreaking ubiquitous and feasible innovations in the Kenyan innovation space that will address pressing needs in the their local communities, having a special focus on technology, energy and agriculture.

The camp, taking place from the 17th-21st July at the iHub will cost Ksh. 4,000. This cost covers for snacks and food for participants, materials that will be used by the participants, tooling fees, giveaways and certificates to the participants. Apply now!!

To book a slot fill in this application.

To sponsor a student or spaces fill in this form.

For more information/inquiries about campBuni contact us at events@ihub.co.ke with the subject line CampBuni.

 

 

 

SLAYING CODE FEAR

By Oduor Jagero

I have always wanted to code. Or at least know what code is trying to communicate when I see it.  The ability to know what a div does and what bootstrap accomplishes has gnawed at me for about eight years now.

Let me put that into perspective. Even though my background is writing, I run a company called Komedia (koamedia.co.ke)  and the founder at summit.cmsafrica.org. They are both in the area of Tech. So imagine a guy who has found one of the biggest tech events in East Africa and ran a tech company doesn’t know jack about CSS and HTML. Don’t even talk about Javascript and other languages.

So when my clients bring me that something has crumbled on their site (which my company built), I have to call a worker, and if he is unavailable on the phone, I have to go on my knees and pray that something gives.

Well, mostly something gives. But at times, I get worked up and end up feeling like a fool. So for the last several years, I have toyed with the idea of learning these things. But like a teenager in the middle of a dark street, I have been immobilised by fear – the intense fear of learning code.

I paid a subscription at lynda.com thrice, but each time I started looking at the mix of red and green anchor tags and other dark-and-mean looking things, I would just give up and look at my subscription expire before my eyes without learning anything. I thought of doing something different; looking for someone to teach me or joining a brick-and-mortar school, but fear – damn fear. Fear is crazy, fear is bad.

What did I do next?  I retreated to where fear had condemned me.

I had heard of Moringa School a few years before. But I am a busy guy. I travel a lot and have meetings all the time. I did not have the time to get into a boot camp sort of life. And I did not want to create that time. Surely that is not my life; that is the life of boys and girls who have just finished school. And even when I sat my first class and looked around – at boys who had just finished high school – I hated myself for getting into this. I almost quit when our technical mentor Moses Okemwa stood before us and gave a pep talk about the course that we were going to start in a few minutes.

My first morning at Moringa was surreal. It reminded me of my first day in high school. Moses Okemwa is a funny guy; he tried to make us feel good. He did not allay my fears. But he us told that all is possible  – if you believe.

That day, I wrote an HTML document from !DOCTYPE to the last HTML tag. I ran it, and it smiled back at me on Google Chrome. I spent the first week playing with CSS, the colour codes, rows, containers and all the crazy stuff I have seen online schools.

By the end of the week, I felt free, free from the fear of code, free from my unbelief. And the fact that I could get under the computer hood and hide in the terminal and do magic and things pop in the name of folders, files, and push them to a  remote server, has been exhilarating.

Moringa Prep will come to an end in under two weeks. I am not going out of this school a pro – no far from it. But something revolutionary has happened to me. I am a new person. I am going away believing that a foundation has been put down, a formidable foundational brick has been laid and going forward, I will continue putting them bricks one by one. I know I will reach the ceiling and shatter it on my way to the sky.

Yoga and IT

Copy of Newton KamauBy Newton Kamau, Moringa Core Student

I love bringing the experience of yoga to programmers. As a developer and yoga teacher, I find many parallels between the journeys of coding and yoga.

For starters, my first yoga class was a whole new experience, the teacher would call out yoga poses, and I had no idea what it meant or how to even do it, so the best I could complain the minute I got into the pose. My first day at Moringa I remember the teacher talking about things that were so new to me. Github, reports and such like words scared me for the better part of the first week.

As a Yoga teacher, I believe the way I show up on the mat reflects how I show up off the mat, despite the struggle of catching up with the content and working on the independent projects. Yoga is always challenging and demanding; This is in terms of efforts and concentration, same thing and remembering the phrase “where your eyes go, your energy flows” it guided me to stay focused.

The way Moringa School teach was a new experience learning new concepts weekly and applying it on our IP was just like going to an advanced yoga class, learning a new pose and practising it through till  I am able to teach it to my students. The moment I started to grasp a few things here and there, I was able to flow with the content just like mastering the yoga sequence and knowing how to do things on my own.

As yoga is about community, at Moringa the same applies through what is called “forced interactions” though officially it’s pair programming where you work with your partner. It will help you come to an understanding as you may be better or worse than your partner just like you will find in a yoga class. I have been able to work with people at different levels and abilities and the dynamic way people handle their businesses so as to say.

A yoga teacher is there to guide you get in and out of the pose while you do all the work and sweat it all out. Unlike other learning institutions, where we have a teacher walk in and give you “theories”, at Moringa the same applies in that there are technical mentors who help and guide you through what you should cover while you learn how to work almost on your own.

MORINGA SCHOOL ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH HONG KONG’S ACCELERATE

By Sandra Mukidza

Moringa School announces its global expansion into Hong Kong in partnership with Accelerate. Moringa’s growth is sparked by the demand for practical software skills within the global tech ecosystem which has accelerated through time. Over the years, coding schools have seen fortification of academic and occupational programs. This has seen a rapid sprout of coding schools in many parts of the world that aim to bridge that gap between what is taught in colleges vs what employers are actually looking for, ultimately preparing more suitable candidates for the job market within the tech industry. 

 

With Moringa School’s growth and expansion to other regions across the globe, the world-class coding accelerator is now offering its curriculum, teaching methodologies and philosophies, classroom tools and more in Hong Kong, where one of Moringa School’s Lead Instructors is now based and ensuring the curriculum and classroom experience matches that in Kenya. The strategic partnership with Accelerate is one of many collaborations Moringa School is currently focusing on scaling our rigorous software engineering courses to more students globally. In Kenya, Moringa School attracts international students from Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda and more, and is beginning to scale our Moringa Prep training to such countries to increase access to local students who do not have the financial capabilities to study outside their home country or for those who wish to remain in a more familiar environment.

 

Moringa School’s drive to become the backbone of the tech industry in Sub Saharan Africa is evident as the school has a placement rate of 95%. A partnership of this nature is significant for the growth of the coding accelerator as it shows the interest in the courses being offered by the school are well beyond Kenya’s borders.

 

For more exciting upcoming projects and opportunities with Moringa School subscribe to our bi-weekly digest here

 

More about Moringa School:

Moringa School is a world-class coding accelerator with a 95% job placement rate. Through Moringa Prep, our introduction to programming course, to Moringa Core, our track-based, intensive, 19-week course, Moringa School graduates world-class engineers who experience our unique, hands-on and project-based educational model. Moringa’s graduates are star developers at companies like Safaricom, Cellulant, Craft Silicon and more.

What Moringa School Taught Me That Campus Did Not

By Agnes Wahu

5 years ago, most practicing software engineers were either self-taught or graduates with computer science degrees. With the emergence of coding bootcamps, it’s even easier to get into a career in programming since the pathways have expanded significantly.

 

Conventionally, coding bootcamps have been considered a gateway to a career in programming for people who do not have any programming experience. However, at Moringa School, some of students had already earned an undergraduate degree or were in the process of completing one when they decided to attend Moringa. We caught up with some of our students to dive into why they chose to go to Moringa School after going to campus and how it heightened their software development skillset. Here are our findings from our current Moringa Core students:

 

What is the difference between campus and Moringa School?

“Most people in campus are stuck doing something that they are not passionate about. It is different in Moringa School where people are really passionate about what they are doing,” says Ahmed Ali, a Civil Engineering graduate from Changan University in China. Ahmed did not take long to realise that he was more passionate about tech than he was with civil engineering. He did his undergraduate studies and started his research on coding bootcamps when he was told about Moringa School being the best coding bootcamp in East Africa by a friend. He made his application and was accepted into the school. “It feels like I am finally doing what I like. I would not have done so well as a civil engineer because it is technology that I am more passionate about and the experience so far is totally worth it,” he says.

 

Latasha on the other hand dropped out of the first year of Jomo Kenyatta University, doing a computer science degree because she was not happy with what she was learning. “People are interested in programming because they want to build things. With a computer science degree, you spend four years not building things, so a computer science degree alone does not teach you what you need to be a programmer,” she says. She plans on using her developing skillset to find employment post-Moringa.

 

Practical application cements your understanding of fundamental concepts

The practical application of Moringa School brings to life the theory that campus curriculum often focuses on. Campus curriculum is heavy on theory, but not practical application. “With a computer science degree, you have a lot of the knowledge but you’ve probably never used them in a way that’s applicable,” explains Latasha. “You haven’t engaged with projects that implement that knowledge in a way that’s relevant to any software engineering job.” Layering the practical experience of coding challenges and building web and mobile apps on top of the theoretical context creates a more well-rounded programmer, equally proficient in the theory and reality of building web apps.

 

Moringa School helps you build a relevant, active code portfolio

Aside from mastering concepts, Moringa School emphasizes the importance for each student to have a strong portfolio by the time they leave Moringa. “In Moringa School, I have written more code in two months than I wrote in my one year of undergrad,” says Latasha. “We did not build portfolios in campus. We used to do term papers and then that was it.” All the students interviewed mentioned a need to study job-relevant coding languages, such as JavaScript, as the reason for attending Moringa School.

 

Peer learning boosts learning ability

Most students listed the collaborative learning environment as a major advantage for attending Moringa School. “I learn a lot better when I’m around people with the same motivation.” says Mujahid an Entomology graduate from Jamiah University in Zambia. “You don’t really understand something until you can explain it to someone else,” he says. “Moringa School has made me a better teacher and learner.”

 

Benefits of working in groups

In the job market, one’s ability to communicate well and teamwork is as important as the technical acumen. Through interactions with technical mentors and peers, pair programming and group projects, students experience a simulated workplace, where they strengthen teamwork skills and learn how to work successfully with others. “I have learnt so much by working with instructors and my fellow students through their diverse backgrounds and creativity.” says Ahmed. “Moringa School has given me more confidence in myself. You learn so much more than you thought possible in such a short amount of time,” he continues. “Working with other people has helped me open my mind to other people’s thoughts and ideas. It’s even easier to understand the content by learning this way.”

 

Meaningful lessons learnt at Moringa School

 

Ahmed: “Don’t stretch yourself too thin. As a new programmer, it’s tempting to try to learn everything. The thirst for knowledge is real, but in order to retain it all up properly, you can’t try to absorb too much at once. Learn at your own pace. You are bound to learn something new everyday.”

 

Latasha: “Know when to ask for help. When in doubt, just ask! A little collaboration can never hurt. And make Google your friend.”

 

Are you new to the world of programming or interested in solidifying your skills by adding practical experience to your portfolio? Apply now to become a world-class developer at Moringa School and achieve the unthinkable.

Geographic Information Systems in a Nutshell

By Nombuyiselo Murage, Moringa Core Student

In a world where apps like PokeMonGO, Google Maps and Uber exist, there are millions of people like you and me who don’t understand or appreciate GIS. 

You’re probably wondering  right now what in the world is GIS? 

The acronym, GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems; computer-based system that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information on a map. It is used to interpret data from a location-based point of view in order to understand the relationships, patterns, and trends which enable us to draw meaning from that data. Again GIS, is at times used to refer to Geographic Information Science which is the scientific/academic discipline that studies the data structures and computational techniques to handle spatial data for the implementation of Geographic Information Systems. This area of study while largely an independent discipline, relates very closely with Geomatics, Geography, Computer Science and Information technology. Among its core interests, as defined by British Geography professor Michael Goodchild, are spatial analysis, visualization and representation.

One more thing before I completely lose you, Spatial refers to ‘that which relates to a space dimension’ ergo, spatial thinking refers to interacting with data from a location or space point of view. So simply put, GIS is when you connect data to geography and thus understand it as What Data Belongs Where!This is what we call spatial thinking.

Where it all started

Ahem! *Clears throat*

In 1854, there came a man by the name John Snow, actually a Dr. John Snow. He was neither the warden of the north nor a bastard son and he definitely knew something (see what I did there?). Rather, he was a man of science, a British physician in fact! 

At the time there was a major cholera outbreak that had hit the city of London, England. Dr. Snow began mapping points of outbreaks alongside property boundaries and water lines. When he made this overlay, he made a stunning and quite possibly life-saving discovery; that the cholera cases occurred along the water line. John Snow’s Cholera map was one of the first and most brilliant examples of using spatial thinking to solve a problem. And not only was this the very beginning of spatial analysis, it also marked the very start of a whole new field of study known as Spatial Epidemiology. 

This  period leading up-to the 1950’s, was largely characterized by hard copy paper maps which were at times drawn on transparent paper layers placed on light-tables to allow for easy identification of overlay areas.  As time went on, technological advancements such as development of computer graphics as well as advancements in data storage on mainframe computers, meant that maps could now be draw on a computer screen. This led to the entry of GIS computer packages which was the period of GIS commercialization where the idea of GIS was perpetuated by organizations for other big enterprises and government organizations (it was not yet adopted by the large masses).

The Rebirth. This was the period from the late 1990’s leading to the 2000’s, where widespread user adoption of GIS began. This was largely attributed to the widespread availability of Personal Computers (PC). Additionally, advancements in technology such as expansion to software solutions that handle both vector and raster data coupled with the recent availability of the global positioning system, (GPS) gave users access to more tools than ever before. This period really highlighted the importance of spatial analysis for decision-making.

Now…

The open source phenomenon. This is the period from 2010 moving forward. The most distinct characterization of this period is the open source movement which was made possible by increased processor capacity, advancements in graphics and mainstreaming of cloud architectures that allowed for huge amounts of GIS data to be stored online. This saw a major shift from enterprise-level companies producing GIS software to GIS users making their own software in an open collaborative way.

There are still a lot of exciting opportunities coming up for new ideas and innovations including venturing into the virtual reality space such as the game PokeMonGO and other advancements in real-time GIS. It has made our lives simple and effective and we love it. Imagine a time with no Uber or Google Maps to help you to get to where you are going. Or logistics systems for managing shipping cargo all across the world.

What I can say Ladies and Gentlemen is that GIS is everywhere.“As long as we can find meaning in data patterns and interactions in terms of what relating to where, we will always have GIS with us.”