Connecting and Inspiring Women in Technology; Microsoft LEAP Hackathon

Jul 9, 2019

Microsoft hosts 32 women in technology in a hackathon event in Nairobi.


9th July 2019, Nairobi: Kenya

Furthering its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the engineering and technology space, Microsoft hosted the LEAP Hackathon. The event, which strives 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.

“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

Amrote Abdella,
Regional Director for Microsoft 4Afrika.

The LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program is a 16-week program – launched to increase diversity within Microsoft. The program provides real world experience through development and project management apprenticeships and combines 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.

Winning team BugSlayers member Rosianah Musyoka, shared her experience of the event with us. Click to read it here.

The hackathon was a success, many novel solutions were brought forth by the participants, but 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. The app can also predict harvest time, connects farmers to buyers and monitors farm activities. The bright minds behind this invention are 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.

“We are thrilled at the outcome of this year’s LEAP hackathon! As we continue to work to upskill and educate women across the continent – the endless opportunities and unprecedented innovations this brings is something we are excited to be a part of” Amrote Abdella.