The head of ICT at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein recently received the top award in the category Distinguished Young Women Researchers at the Women in Science Awards.
Muthoni Masinde, was honoured on 11 August for developing a drought forecasting tool.
The innovation, which combines African indigenous knowledge and computer science technologies, has already been used in parts of Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya.
It is also recognised by the International Telecommunications Union.
Masinde, who received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town in 2012, says with the tool it is possible to predict drought as accurately as 98%.
“I noticed that the more skilled farmers, mostly in the rural areas, do not make use of weather forecasting. Vastly because it is inaccessible to them, they do not read newspapers. They continue to use their own knowledge. They wake up in the morning and look at the sky for instance, that is what we call indigenous knowledge. So I wanted to document that by using Computer Science,” she said.
Mark Steenbok/Courant News