Muthoni Masinde is a Professor and the Head of the IT Department at the Central University of Technology, Free State. She is an accomplished academic with over 25 years of experience in research, teaching, and academic leadership. She holds a BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa, respectively. Additionally, Prof. Masinde holds an MBA from the University of the Free State.
Prof. Masinde is an established computer science researcher under South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) category C2 rating. She has published over 100 scientific publications and supervised several postgraduate studies.
Prof. Masinde is also the Founder and CEO of ITIKI which stands for ‘Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge with Intelligence.’ She has made significant contributions in the fields of artificial intelligence, specifically in the sub-fields of Artificial Neural Networks and the Internet of Things. Her research on the application of these technologies - while incorporating Indigenous Knowledge - in developing drought prediction tools for small-scale farmers has had tangible socio-economic impacts. This work has gained Prof. Masinde local and international recognition. Among other awards, Prof. Masinde was the DST’s 2016 Distinguished Young Woman Scientist. She has also received USD500,000 funding from USAID under the Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development.
Prof. Masinde’s work has also seen her attract invitations as a guest speaker, expert advisor, and reviewer from across the globe. This includes invitation in panel of experts at the World Bank Food Security Forum in Washington DC, being a regular Research Topic Editor for Frontiers journals under artificial intelligence and droughts thematic areas as well being general chair of conferences such as SAICSIT and AFRICATEK. Additionally, she has been retained as an expert reviewer by the European Commission on more than 20 projects in two thematic areas: the Internet of Things and Climate Change and also has also served as an expert reviewer for the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) and Partners for Skills in Applied Sciences & Technology that are run by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). Prof. Masinde has also given talks and keynote speeches at conferences at and seminars at various universities and research institutions.
Moreover, Prof. Masinde is a public intellectual; she has shared her work on various media channels such as the eNCA, CNN, Voice of America, and the BBC World Service as well as giving a TED Talk. She also feels very much at home engaging and sharing knowledge with small-scale farmers in the rural areas of Eastern and Southern Africa.
Adeyinka Akanbi is a researcher and an IT expert working on the integration of modern approaches with local indigenous knowledge on drought for accurate drought prediction and forecasting in the environmental monitoring domain. Adeyinka completed his Ph.D. at the Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa), received his Masters from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (India), and completed his undergraduate studies at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso (Nigeria). His research interests lie in the area of Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, Semantic technologies, ranging from design to implementation. Much of his work has been on semantic representation and integration of heterogeneous knowledge bases to improve interoperability, mainly through the application of knowledge representation and event processing techniques.
Mr Ngoci is a social worker and an indigenous weather forecaster.
He undertook a diploma in social work and community development, currently the ITIKI Kenya project manager. He works closely with farmers and the ITIKI ambassadors utilising the ITIKI mobile application to capture indicators that enable ITIKI to give a forecast to farmers. This enables them to increase their production and livelihoods.
Mr Filipe Sitole is a farmer in Espugabera, Manica Province, Mozambique. He is the current ITIKI country project manager for Mozambique. He works closely with other farmers and the ITIKI ambassadors.