CUT senior lecturer, researcher and inventor inaugurated into her full professorship

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CUT senior lecturer, researcher and inventor inaugurated into her full professorship

Photo: Prof. Muthoni Masinde delivering her inaugural address.


CUT hosted a professorial inaugural lecture by one of its distinguished academics, Professor Muthoni Masinde, whom the university honoured for her distinguished career as an erudite researcher. Prof. Masinde invented a drought-predicting tool for farmers envisioned to address the effects that drought can bring to farming communities.

In her lecture, titled:  Going Back to Our Roots to combat climate-linked Disasters – the journey across the ITIKI Bridge, she spoke about the critical role of linking the university’s endeavours with the communities to predict unpleasant drought conditions that always affected small-scale farmers in the continent. 

Prof. Masinde mentioned that droughts remain the number one disaster in Africa, which has serious consequences for both humans and animals, and that drought early warning systems are not fully developed. In bringing a solution to the challenge, she conceived the ITIKI as an innovative tool that can accurately predict drought in stricken environments, mostly found in the African continent, to assist small-scale farmers to anticipate undesirable conditions of droughts and develop response strategies to address the effects of droughts could bring to their farms.   

“There is currently no appropriate drought-forecasting tool for smallholder farmers. I developed a novel tool that accurately predicts droughts. The tool taps into the rich African indigenous knowledge of natural disasters and augments it with ICTs; Wireless Sensor Networks; and mobile phones in this case. I was motivated by the realisation that rain-fed agriculture accounts for over 70% of food production in most African countries. Further, this production is in the hands of small-scale farmers who continue to rely on their local/indigenous knowledge to reach critical cropping decisions,” she explained.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Pamela Dube commended Prof. Muthoni Masinde for keeping the university relevant in the sector.  “Congratulations on reaching this epic moment in your academic journey and being at the forefront of innovations, we look forward to many more such remarkable occasions, showcasing the best of CUT’s intellectual genius and expertise,” said Prof. Dube.

Prof. Masinde's contribution to drought forecasting solutions for the continent was featured nationally in SABC. In addition, CNN and BBC World Service took a keen interest in her work for live interviews and demonstrations.  She led the establishment of a Unit at the Central University of Technology for research on informatics for drought in Africa.     

ITIKI is an early warning system with three components, capturing drought knowledge, prediction, and monitoring, and communicating and disseminating forecasts. It employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, weather sensors, and a mobile application. 

 

Professorial Inauguration attendees

 

Photo 1: CUT leadership from left: Prof. Wendy Setlalentoa, Dean: Faculty of Humanities, Dr Sally Dzingwa: Institutional Registrar, Prof. Herman Vermaak, Dean: Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (FEBIT), Prof. Muthoni Masinde, HoD: Information Technology, founder and CEO of ITIKI , Prof. David Ngidi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof. Pamela Dube: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Alfred Ngowi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research Innovation and Engagement and Prof. Albert Strydom: Dean of Management Sciences.

Photo 2: From left: Dr Sally Dzingwa: Institutional Registrar, Prof. Wendy Setlalentoa, Dean: Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Muthoni Masinde, founder and CEO of ITIKI and HoD: Information Technology and Prof. Pamela Dube: Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Photo 3: Prof. Alfred Ngowi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research Innovation and Engagement (3rd from left), and Prof. Pamela Dube, Vice-Chancellor and Principal (3rd from right) with Prof. Muthoni Masinde (middle) and her two sons and daughters.

Photo 4: Prof. Muthoni Masinde (middle) with her daughters and sons from left: Baraka Masinde, Neema Masinde, Imani Masinde, and Pendo Masinde.

Uploaded: 30 June 2023
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