Muthoni Graduates with Doctorate Degree
Muthoni Masinde who was a member of the the UCT's Centre for ICT4D until December 2012, graduated with a Doctorate Degree on December 17 2012. Muthoni's was one the HPI Scholarship beneficiaries.
Muthoni's research was motivated by the fact that utilisation of scientific drought forecasts among the small scale farmers in Africa was still very poor and that the farmers still preferred to consult their indigenous knowledge (IK). Further, there was evidence that IK was under serious threat from events such as climate change and ‘modernisation’. Driven by the hypothesis that incorporating IK into the scientific drought forecasts improves the latter’s relevance (both locally and culturally) and acceptability among the small-scale farmers, Muthoni's thesis looks at how computer science tools could accelerate this integration. A novel bridge dubbed ITIKI (Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge with Intelligence) that is realised in form of a drought early warning system is devised. To tackle the diverse characteristics of this bridge, three ICTs are employed: (1) mobile phones to harness the indigenous knowledge and disseminate drought forecasts; (2) sensor-based weather stations to complement the sparse network of weather stations; and (3) artificial intelligence for monitoring and predicting droughts. The prototype was deployed and tested in two locations in Keny