USIU-Africa Students Win Microsoft Imagine Cup Championship

A team of four students from the United States International University-Africa have won the 2023 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship.

The team qualified from 48 competing global teams to be selected among the top 3 to compete in the World Championship at Microsoft Build.

They won the grand prize of USD 100,000, a mentorship session with Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, and Level 2 access to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. They faced winning teams from the Americas and Asia regions; Eupnea from the United States of America, and CS-M Tool from Thailand, respectively.

TAWI, the winning solution, seeks to help people with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) communicate more easily. It leverages speech recognition tools from Azure Cognitive Services and OpenAI Whisper to enhance speech, reduce background noise, and transcribe speech to text in real-time.

Muna Numan Said, John Onsongo Mabeya, Syntiche Musawu, and Zakariya Hussein, pursing undergraduate degrees in Applied Computer Technology and Data Science & Analytics all met during a hackathon and decided to join forces and pursue a common cause.

They identified individual strengths and shared tasks in order to prepare for finals: John, Muna and Zakariya were in charge of the front-end and back-end coding, Syntiche was in charge of User Interface and Interaction.

They coined the name of their application TAWI from Kiswahili meaning sprouting leaf signifying children are the next generation of innovators and world leaders and they wanted to improve the lives of children affected by APD.

One of the students from the winning team, Muna Numan, said that she could not contain her joy when they were announced as the winning team.

“This is a big milestone for the team, for Kenya and for Africa. We had imagined changing the lives of only a few children but now we have an opportunity to scale our project beyond borders,” she said.

They are the second team from USIU-Africa to participate in and win the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship after team REWEBA won the 2021 Microsoft Imagine Cup Championship for their IoT-based infant monitoring solution, which remotely analyzes infant parameters during post-natal screening and serves as an early warning intervention system.

The Imagine Cup is an annual technology competition for students from around the world to come together to push the boundaries of what’s possible and bring their groundbreaking solutions to a global stage.