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Young African tech talent in the spotlight @ the TungaThon - Tunga

Young African tech talent in the spotlight @ the TungaThon

BY Kees Kranendonk

Tunga’s first hackathon last month gave young African developers an opportunity to test and show their skills. In this blog, we put the spotlight on the three winning teams and their products. Read more about these ambitious junior devs and compete in one of the next editions!

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The Hive by Team 6th Hokage (Clinton Omondi and Mark Odhiambo)

Clinton Omondi and Mark Odhiambo form Team 6th Hokage. The young Kenyans both study Electronics and Computer Engineering in Nairobi. In fact, during the hackathon they were very busy with their exams, so they had to work in sprints. Their product is called The Hive. This web platform – inspired by Tunga’s mission to bring parties together to drive change – connects inventors and innovators to investors

Clinton was shocked to hear that they had ended in second place. After all, they only participated to gain experience! But the TungaThon brought them a lot more. They got prestige and a monetary award, while creating a product for their portfolio. In the process, the junior developers realized that their platform would need rigid safety features to protect the intellectual property. This, in turn, made them aware of individual learning needs. So their participation in the competition also helped them plan next steps for their career.

Successful African developers follow best practices

The top 3 teams are based in different countries and have members with varying backgrounds, specializations and so on. But these winning teams also share some common traits. They all collaborated exclusively online, with a clear role and task division, and set schedules and deadlines. Such best practices – part of the professional approach for distributed teams – are clearly a key ingredient of the winning recipe.

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E-School login (Team Anchors: Hamna Nanteza Nuriatt, Komuhangi Tumuhairwe, Vivian Maria Awori and Nakayiza Shamim)

Komuhangi Tumuhairwe and Vivian Maria Awori are based in Kampala, Uganda. Together with Hamna Nanteza Nuriatt and Nakayiza Shamim they make up Team Anchors. The all-female student quartet developed E-School: an online learning platform.

The app was awarded the third prize. It enables nursery, primary and secondary students to access notes and online classes and interact with their peers and teachers. Young students can stay connected through the app, ensuring consistency and continuity of education.

Developing an app to develop education

Team Anchors wants to keep developing the app, to eventually present it to the government. And they may just have a way in! Komuhangi explains that, ever since Covid-19, educational institutes have closed down. While older students can use apps to stay in touch with their uni, there is nothing for younger students. In fact, she feels that the kids are being overlooked by the government. In response, Team Anchors decided to develop an accessible and affordable app for younger students to continue their education.

 

“Most of us go through school, our parents do a lot to put us through school,
but in the end, we don’t have employment”

 

For this TungaThon, developers had to present an MVP that was somehow connected to the theme of Youth Employment and Education. This is an urgent topic in Uganda and many other African nations. Says Komuhangi: “Most of us go through school, our parents do a lot to put us through school, but in the end, we don’t have employment. This is a challenge for most Ugandans.”

Hackathon drives inspiration

It is impressive to see these talented young Africans rise to the occasion and address major current problems in this hackathon. Komuhangi enjoyed watching the team presentations. She was delighted to see how, inspired by the hackathon’s theme, the various teams had developed so many different ideas and products. Personally, she loved the teamwork and was glad to discover more about Tunga. Teammate Vivian enjoyed the process of ideation within a short period. She praises the feedback from the judges, which has helped a lot with improving her skills.

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The features of VLearn – developed by Team Staunch (Mustapha Habeeb and Adebayo Aonullahi)

Team Staunch came away as the winner of the first TungaThon, Their VLearn app also won the award for technical excellence. Mustapha Habeeb and Adebayo Aonullahi created an AI-driven mobile app with a range of functions to support learning.

Speaking from the team’s hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, Adebayo is a real fountain of ideas. The AI software developer – the only winner who is already on the Tunga platform – explains that they played with various concepts. Some had to be discarded, simply because they would take too long to develop. Their app eventually had five features that students can use to study independently. There is a function that, after inputting text, generates multiple choice questions. There is a tool to translate spoken African languages (suck on that, Google!), a memorization feature and more.

Development opportunities

Adebayo saw the TungaThon as an opportunity to show his skills – and they surely got noticed! He is very grateful for this chance and positive about Tunga. He praises the free courses on the platform, and how it enables Africans to find quality work for good pay: “They are actually bringing the world together, connecting everybody together. A platform like Tunga is a big opportunity.”

 

“A platform like Tunga is a big opportunity”

 

All developers were thankful for the chance to develop and show their skills in the TungaThon. Their enthusiasm and ambition shone through every conversation. All teams said they’d continue to work on their app and would compete again in the upcoming TungaThons. These talented young tech heads want to represent, want to make their mark. They want to help their country, their continent move forward. And whether their PC sits on a desk in Kenya, Uganda or Nigeria, it is clear that these talented young men and women are going places.

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