Information Security Meetup

The Information Security meetup is a forum that brings professionals and curious minds in the industry to network as we highlight the challenges present and opportunities available for exploitation. The theme is “Demistifying Information Security and Careers in InfoSec”. The meetup will take place at iHub on July 15th from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

The meetup will be graced by leading lecturers in the field of Information security, experienced professionals from financial institutions and governing bodies such as the ICT authority. The shared experience will serve to enlighten the minds of the attendees on how Kenyans are interacting actively with technology in terms of creation and development, actual application and dissemination of products and services more than ever before and how this has brought in great gains but also exposed institutions to costly risks.

The meetup has been organized by Akirachix and iHub on the need to address Information Security training. Akirachix has high regard for the technology adoption that is driving business innovation and growth in Kenya and it is with this in mind that we have created this forum. Quality education and tangible skills in this field is paramount in winning the battle in information warfare and curbing cyber terrorism in our institutions

Sign up for the event here

Kids Tech & Arts Camp commences

Monday 7th April 7:30am at the junction shopping mall parking lot, a Kenya Bus Service is slowly filling up with young children between the ages of 7 and 13. As is expected very few conversations since the kids do not know each other. One and a half hours later, we are in a house compound in Lenana and the noise, happiness and laughter is uncontrollable – camp day one has began with some team building activities.

Kids getting to know each other - "Breaking the ice"

Day one was fun, apart from getting to know each other the kids got introduced to scratch, first project “Felix and Herbert”. Based on the ages, speed of learning is different but the trainers are patient with the kids, making sure all are on the same page. The trainers are current Akirachix training program students, in addition to their school work, they went through a rigorous training of Scratch over the weekends.

Trainer with the kids

Afternoons are dedicated for creativity and play time. Unfortunately the trainer who was to work with the kids on jewellery making got sick so we switched into story time, another fun activity. Later on in the day there were games and it was evident the kids did not want to go back home seeing as soon as the bus pulled over to pick them up, they all ran back to the house and some were heard asking whether they could spend the night there.

Kids at the playground

We still have 4 days to go, looking forward to the last day – Demo of what they have been learning.

Scratch lesson in session

“Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.” – Jennifer Fleming

Recap of the just concluded High school bootcamp

Uncertainty, curiosity, excitement.

These three words best describe what the high school girls who attended the AkiraChix Appinventor Bootcamp were feeling at the start of the training.

We drew girls from schools as far as central Kenya, in a bid to introduce them to basic android programming concepts.

Some of the trainers with the students

 The training was very enjoyable, and our teacher, John , made a great effort to make sure that no one was left behind and was very willing to help us with any problems we had, so I got the most out of this training and I’m very greatful for that.I learnt how to create an app without coding through app inventor and it was really amazing.” – said Kimberly Wanjiru

Kimberly(left) in class

Some of the projects that came out of this bootcamp include:

  • Event Guru – An events aggregator that makes it easier for users to search for events and also notifies them of upcoming events.
  • Shopping Mania – Helps create a shopping list for you, categorises them and calculates your expected expenses.
  • Photo Editor – Gives mobile phone users a direct connection to online photo editing websites.
  • Med1 – A smartphone application that predicts type of medication required based in symptoms input by a user
  • Tutorapp – A social network for students and teachers to interact from
  • Out repeater – An application that helps you track what your wardrobe to prevent you from repeating an outfit within a fortnight
  • Game Exchange – Helps users exchange games in a much easier and organized manner
  • Car platform – a market place for cars on sale
  • Best dishes – An application to help users find restaurants based on dishes they are craving or looking for specifically
  • Music sorter – Sorts out music from downloads to avoid repetition

 We are proud of the students and the applications that they developed over the three-day period. All these projects are still in prototype phase, and AkiraChix will use this a base to continue to guide and help the girls’ progress further, beyond programming.

The next high school bootcamp is to be held in April 2014. Do stay tuned to our blog for details as we move closer to the date.

Student showcase to parent

It's a wrap!

Recapping the first Girl Rising Event

On 1st and 2nd November, Akirachix, in collaboration with Intel, held a training on how to use App Inventor for a group of about 25 girls. This was the first of a series of similar trainings to high school students, pre-University students, University Students and generally any girl interested in dipping her feet in the waters of code, and especially mobile programming.

The session began with a series of short talks from: Linda – Programs Director at Akirachix, Agatha -Software and Services group lead for Intel East Africa and Dorothy, the Communications and Public Affairs Manager for East and Francophone Africa at Google. Linda and Agatha introduced Akirachix and Intel to the girls and the Girl Rising Initiative. Dorothy’s talk was an inspirational one that was themed ‘Unencumbered’. Her aim was to help the girls a mindset of being unencumbered; living without perceived barriers and striving towards greatness.

Check out this cool video that introduced the training session. It goes a little bit like “Everyone in the world should know how to program…”

The training session was facilitated by John and Kelvin Yonga who took the girls through an overview of the App Inventor, assisted them through the installations, and did the conventional – built a hello world program! The proceeding session involved girls coming up with ideas of simple applications to develop. The ideas were presented and the developing began. The trainers had very few minutes to themselves after this part because of the numerous questions that were being asked by the trainees.

Busy bees

Day 2 was characterized by more questions and people finishing up on their applications. It was also marked by the showcasing of all the applications developed, and the gifting of students with certificates and goodies! Among the apps that were showcased, were music apps, SOS apps, breast cancer awareness app, an app on saving, pizza delivery app and many more. There was plenty of food, drink and snacks to go around for the two days.

At the end of the end of the training program, it was unanimously agreed that App Inventor is a great tool for introducing people to the world of mobile programming. However, everyone expressed interest in diving deeper to learn using tools like Eclipse and the Android SDK. How great! Some more feedback showed that the girls wanted longer training sessions, more advanced coding, training on database manipulation, and more on GUI.

Akirachix hopes to plan similar training sessions on a monthly basis to teach different skills and technologies. The aim is not only to increase numbers but to develop superior quality. We plan to have some of the girls who were trained to assist us in training girls from high school on how to use App Inventor later this month during our high school boot camp.

The event was concluded by a short talk from Rachel Gichinga and give-aways. Some of the words that stuck included: “Learn who you are and the best you”, “Be willing to accept failures and that you’re not good at some things”,  “Be cross-platform – think broad and be willing to be adventurous and discover new things. You never really know until you try.”

Group photo :)

We continue nurturing an army of geek girls…