As coronavirus disease continues to rear its ugly head in the Kenyan community, youthful innovators in IT sector are jogging their minds day and night to come up with solutions to the many challenges posed by the pandemic.
They are working round- the- clock to develop programs that will help people cushion themselves from unnecessary movement outside their homes.
These innovators could have prophesied the current health situation way back in 2019 prior to the outbreak of the pandemic which originated in China in December 2019 and spread worldwide bringing businesses to a standstill.
In August 2019, the fourth year students at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and University of Nairobi (UoN) respectively embarked on a noble project that formed part of their coursework.
Mercy Kiptui teamed up with her classmate in the engineering class, Yvonne Elabonga and Victor Mungai from University of Nairobi to come up with a service oriented App dubbed “Nywele Nyumbani”.
The trio had no idea that a lockdown situation in which people would remain indoors would arise and the government would advocate for social distancing, purposely to curb infections and the spread of the killer virus that is yet to get a vaccine.
The innovators were basically exploring ways of developing an App which will take services to the comfort of the users, create more employment opportunities for people in the market as they summed up their academic work ready for joining the industry.
“Nywele Nyumbani” that is almost complete were it not for the corona pandemic, will take services to the users under the comfort of their homes.
The first case of coronavirus was first detected in Kenya On March 12, 2020, therefore, compelling the government to take precautionary measures to curb the spread of the disease thus halting the pace at which the trio had mounted and envisaged to complete the project by 2020.
The invention of the trio conceived early 2019, will enable users of an on-line platform to minimize their movement while they save money on fuel and their energy by just a press of a button, and they are connected to a hairdresser of their choice.
Soon, scores of Kenyans, especially women will start enjoying services of stylists taking salon services at the comfort of their homes and at their convenience so that they are attended to without disruption from outsiders and without unnecessary crowding that is always witnessed in the salons across many trading centres countrywide.
Talking to KNA on Sunday, Mercy explained that the App is basically meant to make work easier for the user so that they do not waste time queuing in the salon.
“Sometimes people are compelled to travel long distances and even spend money while traversing in search of a particular service that is not readily available in their locality,” This will be history now as we are working round the clock to complete on the App which will connect hairdressers, stylists and users.
This App, the innovator told KNA, is meant to make things easier for the users, so that they do not spend time walking to salons or being chauffeured to far-fetched stylists who can easily come to their homes.
Kiptui further said that their App was made out of the urgent desire of ladies wanting to have quality hair services without having to reschedule their programs every now and then following the long queue at salons and wasting valuable time which they could spend attending to their other house chores or social-economic ventures that could improve on their standards of lives.
By the press of a button, Mercy said the App will help the ladies to browse hairstyles, where they get to be connected with the best stylist and make an appointment of their visit.
With this, ladies can now stop worrying of absenting themselves from work only to find out they cannot be attended to until another day. It also eases movement to far distances in search of better services, considering one is connected to the nearest stylist, they will reach them within the shortest time in their homes when they are expecting them, as the App will enable one to schedule what time they need the service..
She said it will be very advantageous because once the stylist arrives in the user’s home, they can be instructed to wash their hands, sanitize and even change their clothing so that they do not worry of the stylist earlier clothing, including the places where they had been prior to reaching the client’s home.
Kiptui further explained that the users will also be guaranteed of their security when they are with the stylists as the innovators are currently compiling their data so that they can connect them to the users easily when they log into the platform.
“This way, there will be no danger of one logging into their system maliciously to either rob or harm the user. All those who log into the system will be connected to a stylist who is reliable with a track record, is known and can be tracked down in case of a criminal incident. During their stay at the client’s home, the innovators will be able to monitor them from the minute they arrive, during the service being offered until when they depart so as to guarantee them safety after they subscribe to the service.
Incidents of service givers assaulting or stealing from clients will be a thing of the past as “we are recruiting business people who are reliable and have fixed abodes that can be tracked down for whatever purpose so that we retain people who are genuine,” she said.
Mercy reckoned that our safety health wise as a nation was important amid the lockdown following the pandemic, but that it had slowed down completion of Nywele Nyumbani.
“We had purposed to graduate in June 2020 after completing our project, but at the way things stand now, we might not, as we are lagging a little bit behind, following the abrupt closure of all institutions of learning by the President,” she regretted.
She added that following the lockdown and curfew imposed countrywide, the trio could not travel and spend enough time sampling different stylist in areas such as Umoja and Kenyatta Market in Nairobi County, where most of them were located.
“We intend to get variety of service providers who can offer latest styles that befit all clientele who wish to maintain some standard,” she noted.
Ms. Kiptui, however, assured the salons’ that they would soon embark on a recruitment exercise and that they could be reach on firstname.lastname@example.org. “From this site we can communicate and those interested can show us what they have so that we can compare and connect them onto our database,” she explained.
During the March 2020 Tech Expo at JKUAT where scores of innovators presented their projects, the trio won the People’s Choice Award and took home 20,000 shillings.
Upon completion, the innovation will come in handy to users who intend to spend their time prudently as they attend to their other house chores without wasting time moving out to hairdressers.