Data science students participate in the Datathon competition

By Gabriel Okello
On Saturday, March 16, data science students at USIU- Africa had a thrilling day of fun and hands-on learning at the Datathon competition which was held at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences LT8 from 9:00 A.M. This event promoted student engagement and gave participants the opportunity to use analytics, harness the power of data, and think creatively and innovatively on how to generate tools that are useful in solving dynamic problems faced in Kenya and Africa.

By working in teams, datathon participants extended their knowledge base by learning from each other and gained experience working in a fast-paced environment. It brought together students from diverse backgrounds with the same interest in data science which fostered mutual understanding and collaboration. Data science and analytics are indispensable tools for addressing a wide range of real-life problems across various domains evident in the choice of models created by participants to suit different sectors of the economy and to improve decision-making, and create positive societal impact. This event did not only provide a stimulating challenge for data enthusiasts but also served as a valuable learning experience and a platform to showcase the growing data science program.

Dr. Gabriel Okello, Chair of the Data Science Department kicked off the ceremony with the opening remarks and encouraged everyone to embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly and to immerse themselves in the experiences that lay ahead, to engage with one another with openness and respect, and to leave a lasting imprint on the fabric of the event.

There were three able judges and 16 teams participating each having five minutes for presentation and five minutes to answer questions to present their project findings and solutions to the judging panel and the engaging audience. Each team presented a PowerPoint presentation of their project together with a live demonstration of the platform they created. Some were interactive as they engaged the audience to scan a code to view their interface. All teams received input from the judges on what they liked and what to consider and improve on moving forward. There were time penalties for teams that took more than the allocated time. The projects were evaluated from the PowerPoint presentation, team member’s presentation skills, and their live demos.

The winning team was Kilimo Guards whose mission is to revolutionize East African agriculture through an innovative pest prediction system. Leveraging machine learning and data analytics, their system empowers farmers to proactively manage pest risks, ensuring crop safety and the health of communities. The second position was awarded to Finlingo, an AI-powered educational platform which delivers clear, accessible financial education via web and mobile interfaces. Through interactive learning experiences, Finlingo demystifies financial concepts, empowering users to make informed decisions. The third position was awarded to Habari Harbour, which aims to empower artists, influencers, and content creators by providing real-time monitoring and alerts on trending topics and enhancing their ability to engage with audiences and grow their presence. With affordability and accessibility at its core, Habari Harbour bridges the gap between data analytics and impactful creativity, guiding Kenyan creatives toward informed decisions.

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