This week, we sit down with a calm and interesting international student who is passionate about technology and engineering. Fabrice Hirwa Mugabe talks to us about his experience in Kenya and why he loves Zetech University:
ZU: What course are you taking at Zetech?
Fabrice: Bachelor of Science in Information technology
ZU: What is your nationality?
Fabrice: I am Rwandan
ZU: When did you come to Kenya and what attracted you to the Country?
Fabrice: I came to Kenya in 2016. What attracted me to this Country is the sense of purpose in the citizens, the way people work hard to achieve their goals
ZU: Share with us what your experience has been like:
Fabrice: Kenya is a great Country to visit and live in and I have enjoyed my stay here. The challenge I have seen in insecurity; I believe that the country should look into these insecurity issues.
ZU: What made you choose Zetech University?
Fabrice: Great question. I was actually looking for a school of technology where I can meet programmers and engineers and do what I love most, IT. I saw Zetech on TV and decided to pay the institution a visit. I loved the University and applied for a Degree course. I can confidently say Zetech is a place to be!
ZU: Thank you Fabrice. Want would you say you love most about the University?
Fabrice: I love how the leaders and lecturers respond to our needs as students; you get great service at Zetech
ZU: Why are you studying IT? What do you hope to become in life?
Fabrice: I’m doing IT because I am passionate about technology and I want to become the best programmer in the world; I believe I am heading in the right direction
ZU: Who do you admire in life?
Fabrice: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the late English mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace and the late inventor and mechanical engineer Charles Babbage
ZU: Apart from coding, what else do you love doing?
Fabrice: I love playing guitar, listening to music and playing basketball. I also really enjoy making new friends in life because you learn so much from others.
ZU: You are the chairman of one of the University clubs, tell us a bit about this:
Fabrice: Yes, I’m chairman of the I-TECH Club where we learn and practice our skills in coding, web development, android development, artificial intelligence (AI) internet of things (IOT) as well as other aspects such as ethical hacking, electronics and engineering, and system security. Our Head of Department MS Josephine Magu is our patron and has been very supportive to ensure we take part in such activities that complement what we learn in class.
ZU: Any word for our new and current students?
Fabrice: My message to students is simple: study hard to achieve what brought you to University, interact with students and staff, stay focused and don’t pay attention to those who discourage you.
ZU: Any final comment?
Fabrice: Yes, don’t let any opportunity that will build your future pass you by and make wise choices in life.
Hannah Mbugua is a determined IT student, who is passionate about creating awareness on mental health in the Country. Her passion was not only birthed by her desire to help people but her challenges in high school where she was pressured into performing well and when she did not meet society’s standards, she fell into depression.
“This was a tough time for me but when I was able to get an opportunity at Zetech, life changed and I started getting A’s in my exams. Through this, I realized I have great potential to be someone great.” says Hannah, who is eager to use all she has learnt to grow her initiative dubbed Mental Sanity Haven.
Speaking about the project, Hannah said, “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to help people. After my experience, I read a lot about mental health as I wanted to know why I was experiencing challenges in high school and that’s why I started this project. I decided to take this to the next level by applying for the My Little Big Thing (MLBT) challenge, an initiative of MK-Africa in partnership with Safaricom, University of Cambridge South Africa and PKF, formed to create awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the youth.”
In the competition that saw over 100 Kenyans apply, Hannah was shortlisted after submitting a convincing three-minute video and 200 page essay detailing her idea. She thereafter underwent a mentorship event and was pitted against other contestants to get Kenyans to vote for them, coming in second with over 2060 votes.
When asked about the experience, she said, “It was exhilarating. Once shortlisted, the next stage was a design workshop where we were taught to design our ideas and implement them for the future; thereafter, we attended the Community Mansion stage where we were taught to make our ideas real. I, therefore, held so we had an event at Zetech where we watched videos including Silent Screams, created by Grandeur, where we focused on substance abuse disorder”. Hannah adds that she got invaluable feedback from the judges who helped her restructure and strengthen her project.
The Final Show
Following this success, Hannah created a website and compelling presentation which was delivered to judges and a large audience at the Michael Joseph centre in Nairobi. “I was able to work on our website and presentations for the final battle and I must say students and lecturers were very supportive. Thereafter, we had the final show at Michael Joseph Centre where I got the chance to make my presentation.” said Hannah. She believes she was confident and passionately articulated her initiative. She was among the top ten and really appreciated that we got the chance to network with CEOs she only sees on TV.
She is also appreciated the support she received from the University fraternity, “Yes, the University supported me and encouraged me to do my best. I was also able to use the resources I required to undertake my activities and students and staff voted for me during the challenge. I am forever grateful.” says a delighted Hannah.
Commenting on her accomplishment, VC Prof. Njenga Munene noted that the Institution is keen on challenging students to participate in national and global engagements that help them to grow.” We are proud of Hannah and the great work she has achieved in a period of a few months, through MLBT, she has learnt the skills of an entrepreneur and how to better serve the world.” said Prof. Munene, adding. “As Zetech, we are focused on sharpening our students through such experiences as we works towards being a leading University in the world.”
Now that she is more exposed on how to run an initiative and expand it to the next level, she is ready to grow Mental Sanity Haven. Her and her team has created an App TalkTalk Mental, an application that detects moods and offers help.
Zetech University second year Degree student Kennedy Muthaura won the top prize in the Huawei ICT Competition 2018-2019 Southern Africa, beating over 4000 students drawn from 40 universities to clinch the top award. He was recognised at a colourful ceremony that saw ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng highlight the critical role IT and research plays in advancing the big four agenda.
The competition is aimed at providing a platform for global ICT talents to: compete and grow their skills, promote high-quality ICT talent development and drive the growth of a sustainable ICT talent ecosystem.
Celebrated for recording the highest points in the tough competition, Muthaura will represent the country in South Africa with the hope of qualifying for the international fete to be hosted in China next year. He was also gifted with an opportunity to do an internship at Huawei Kenya and a Huawei Matebook Pro to facilitate his work and learning experience.
Commenting on the win, Muthaura described the experience as challenging, appreciating Huawei for sharpening his skills in networking, “I am honoured to have competed against worthy opponents to win the Best student award. Through this competition, I have acquired extensive knowledge and skills in routing, switching, network security, cloud computing and wireless networks. I believe that through these skills and the HCNA (Huawei Certified network associate) certification acquired, my career has started on the right note.” He said, adding that such initiatives serve to bridge the gap between academia and the industry is better prepare graduates to address future challenges of digital transformation.
Adding to the victory, Zetech University’s Trainer and Head of Centre for Professional Certification Samuel Kinuthia was recognised as the Best Lecturer while the institution beat competitors to win the Best Huawei ICT Academy award; the ceremony saw the University of Nairobi was recognised for being the longest service HAINA centre.
Commenting on the achievement, Zetech VC Prof. Njenga Munene lauded Huawei and the higher education sector for their commitment to promote the use of ICT for education and the advancement of the country.
"As Zetech, we are proud of our student and trainer for the exemplary output displayed throughout the competition. As a Huawei certified academy, we are grateful to Huawei for the work they are doing in Kenya as we bank on technology to realise growth in Kenya and beyond." said Prof. Munene.