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The Kenyan Girls Who Code

Dec 24 2016
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A GROUP of Kenyan schoolgirls are developing apps with the help of new mentor programmes promoting women in tech.

Speaking to the BBC, 16-year-old Harriet Karanja who co-founded the M-Safiri app, said the idea was inspired after she witnessed a robbery at a bus stop in the Nairobi. Karanja had been waiting in a queue to buy a bus ticket in Kenya’s capital, when someone else who was waiting was robbed.

When she retold her story at school, she found out that many of her classmates had experienced the same problem. Following the incident, M-Safiri was born, as she along with four other girls made the app with the support of their teacher and mentor Damaris Muteti.

The project was a part of a scheme backed by Kenyan mobile phone company Safaricom. “The app takes you to the bus stop you prefer using GPS technology, so you [just] need to go to a bus stop to board a vehicle, but no [longer have] to wait [in line],” Karanja said.

The team recently traveled to San Francisco to participate in a global technology competition for schoolgirls, where the winning team took home $10,000.

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