Friday December 7 2012

Makerere students win Microsoft grant


Three students from Makerere University’s College of Computing and Information Sciences have won a $50,000 (about Sh130m) grant for designing an ultra sound application.
Mr Aaron Tushabe, Mr Joshua Okello and Mr Josiah Kavuma, who use the name Team Cipher256, designed Winsenga - an application that performs ultrasound on pregnant women and detects problems such as ectopic pregnancies or abnormal foetal heart beats.
According to Microsoft, the grant will help the students to transform their projects into social enterprises or non-profits that will address a specific social issue.
“We are grateful to Microsoft for giving these youth an opportunity to innovate and help mothers around the world,” Ms Maria Muzaaki, the College communication officer. “This grant shows that the youth have the power to change our lives and we shall continue to partner with organisations that are willing to explore their potential,” she added.
The Ugandan team defeated 12 finalists who were selected for scoring the highest marks, impact and viability, team quality and motivation, solution design and problem definition.
Apart from the cash prize, the three will receive software, computing services, solution provider support, access to local resources, among others.
Microsoft will also connect grant recipients with its network of investors, NGO partners and business partners and will work with the grant recipients to tailor individual support as needed depending on the progress each team has made so far with its project.
The programme is expected to reduce the maternal mortality rate, which currently stand at 16 mothers a day in Uganda.