Silvian Wanjiku Gitau currently pursuing her phd at the University of Cape Town, South Africa was recently awarded the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship for her M-ganga app proposal. M-ganga is an app that records, catalogs and maps out traditional medicine and knowledge for both archival purposes and everyday use, combining traditional healing, community health workers and doctors to provide health-care. It will leverage on sms and web, with web giving a sort of unified dashboard. I agree with Shikoh 🙂 that the the doctor-to-patient ratio in many African countries are unbelievably high – ‘as high as 1:50 000’, compared traditional medicine, where there is at least one traditional healer in every village.
On M-ganga and her Phd she says –
“This raises an opportunity for a more proactive means to provide healthcare through this traditional means, which can be optimised through technology.” Her proposed system includes a web-based application that will capture and disseminate traditional healing sessions through a cell phone. The system records the sessions in both audio and video, and stores them in an online database. It will also show where the medicinal plants are available, how they should be used, and whether they are endangered or not.
“My motivation is beyond a degree, and my biggest fulfillment is to see people’s lives change for the better. It will be pointless if my PhD in computer science is not relevant in addressing people’s real life problems.”
Good stuff I must say, plus the fact that she wants to get back home ASAP and explore the opportunities that have been opened up by mobile tech. Kudos Shiko!The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship was established by Google in 2004 to honor Dr. Anita Borg, a computer science pioneer who dedicated her life to changing the way we think about diversity and technology. Anita’s namesake scholarship continues to support women completing degrees in computer science and related areas, recognizing and encouraging the next generation of technical leaders and role models.
2010 marks an important milestone for the Anita Borg program: for the first time ever, students at Sub-Saharan African universities were invited to apply. This year, Google awarded a total of two scholarships and two finalist positions to female Sub-Saharan African students, representing three countries and four universities.
Dr. Anita Borg (1949–2003)
Anita Borg believed that technology affects all aspects of our economic, political, social and personal lives. A technology rebel with a cause, in her life she fought tirelessly to ensure that technology’s impact would be a positive one. It was this vision that inspired Anita in 1997 to found the Institute for Women and Technology. Today this organization continues on her legacy and bears her name, The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (www.anitaborg.org).