Developer of a zero-contact COVID-19 food distribution app
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a health and economic crisis around the globe and an even greater threat to the poor and vulnerable, most of whom live hand to mouth. Most of Moja Tu students belong to these two groups and as schools closed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, it became clear that there was need for food relief for our students, their families and community.
With time, it became apparent that traditional large crowd distribution process couldn’t work in a COVID-19 environment hence a clear need for a contactless distribution flow. It is here that one of our students, Benjamin Ndelilo, a third year Bachelor of Science student, rose to the occasion. He developed an application that is not only easy to use, but also safe for the environment and individuals during this COVID-19 season. He aptly dubbed the application ‘ASANTE’, which is Swahili for thank you.
Indeed, the students, families and communities that have benefitted from the Moja Tu food relief drive are truly grateful for coming to their aid during these unprecedented times.
Benjamin has been part of Moja Tu for four years now. “I joined Moja Tu in 2016 after I had just finished high school where I had managed to score a grade of A-,” Benjamin reminisces.
To put things into perspective; the highest score in the summative high school examination is an A plain, followed by an A-. Benjamin was thus among the crème de la crème of his cohort in the highly competitive exams and we are truly glad to be associated with him.
Be that as it may be, Benjamin was unsure of his future by virtue of his past and background. “I did not know how I was going to proceed to university since I was from a poor background. My father passed on when I was in primary school and I managed to go through high school with the help of well-wishers and financial assistance from Dreams Children’s Home,” he shares.
This changed when he got to meet Moja Tu President Kathy Kempff who saw the potential in Benjamin and did not hesitate to bring him on board the Moja Tu family. In hindsight, that was a masterstroke as Benjamin has proven to be a veritable pillar in the organization with the ASANTE project being his biggest contribution yet. He has been very instrumental in sorting IT issues within the organization.
“Working on the ASANTE Project – an online no contact aid application that assists in the supply and distribution of aid to beneficiaries while protecting everyone from the spread of COVID-19 -gave me a platform to apply the knowledge I had acquired in class to solve real-life problems in the world. This is the dream of every software developer, so it’s safe to say that I am living my dream,” the St Paul University student explains.
A computer scientist in the making, Benjamin shares that he has interests in software development (website and mobile applications) and data science. “I have always loved reading and learning new things. My mother always tells me how I used to pick books and any reading material I came across as a baby. I believe education is one of the most important tools of empowerment. It also makes the individual a better person,” he shares.
But it is not all books for the third-year student.
“During my time in Moja Tu, I have been able to make new friends who are now like family to me. I have learnt so many life lessons from them,” he offers.
For one to name a project asante, their hearts must truly be full of gratitude, a virtue that Benjamin lives by.
“I thank my sponsors Carlos and Christine for believing in me and supporting me through my academic journey. They have been my source of inspiration and I aim to make them proud every single day. Thank you, Kathy, for giving me this opportunity and changing my life and long live Moja Tu,” he ends.